At Partnerize, we love to develop events and content in collaboration with our closest partners. A great example was our recent Vancouver, British Columbia dinner event held in conjunction with leading partnerships agency All Inclusive Marketing (AIM).
This dinner and networking event brought together the biggest thinkers from across the Vancouver affiliate marketing and partnership development communities. Held at the gorgeous Miku Waterfront Restaurant, the busy yet intimate gathering provided an outstanding opportunity for connection and sharing.
“AIM and Partnerize continue to build strong relationships together within the performance marketing arena, always thinking about innovation, best-in-class solutions and how to take our clients to the next level. It’s great to work with a team that values these same things and works together collectively to deliver strong value within our space,” said Sarah Bundy, founder and CEO of AIM.
For both Partnerize and AIM, sponsoring focused, in-person events is a core part of how we serve the industry. We all work in digital and are aware of the many ways people can connect and interact electronically. But there is no substitute for in-person meetings, particularly with individuals who understand both the long-term and day-to-day challenges of delivering effective partner and affiliate marketing programs.
It’s always valuable to distill conversations at events like this into key themes and compare those to what we’re hearing in other parts of the world. Certainly, some of the big themes at this event are on the minds of marketers everywhere. These include:
- Moving to a Data-Driven Mindset: Our category has undergone a dramatic transition from affiliate campaigns managed with a “set-it-and-forget” mindset to strategically based, expert-driven programs focused on maximizing value at every step of the customer journey. Program analytics are playing an increasingly central role here as we strive to earn more money in our dynamic industry. Leading Canadian and global brands live this reality every day.
- Getting Classic Affiliate Right: Many brands enter the partnerships arena through marketing program agreements with classic affiliate partners like cashback and coupons; these types of partners continue to play a key role in helping drive critical mass volume. The key is to “go deep” to understand the relative profitability of sales driven through different partner classes in order to develop profitable and productive relationships with every publisher. Over and over again, the leaders who joined us at the Miku Waterfront Restaurant emphasized the importance of data-driven marketing strategy.
- Capitalizing on Content Publishers: Most brand experts at this event — and at the many other events we have sponsored around the world over the last few months — have a special passion for understanding how best to work with content partners and how to properly apply technological advances like split commissioning to ensure everyone is compensated correctly for their contributions to the sales cycle. Influencer programs as well as agreements with major leading content publishers, can each play a role here.
- Connecting Across Multiple Channels: Across the event, it was very clear that marketers want to leverage the maximum range of marketing touchpoints. Affiliate publishers, social media, influencer marketing, niche content publishers, other content marketing values, search engine-based programs, and more, can all be powerful virtual real estate for a partnership program.
In keeping with the array of high-quality brands in attendance at the event, we also heard a great deal about the importance of both brand safety and brand enhancement. We mention both ideas because for many of the brand leaders in attendance, it isn’t enough for a partnership merely to be “not harmful” for a brand. Today’s marketing leaders want every aspect of their marketing — including their individual online partnerships — to enhance the quality and prestige of their brands and product lines.
Price vs. Value: There were several lively affiliate manager discussions about the appropriate role for discounting-oriented affiliates in the overall partnerships strategies of high-end brands. There were several marketers who felt that discounts were something to be avoided as much as possible. But others argued that marketing campaigns that tap into communities like loyalty clubs and cashback members likely attract a different buyer to their virtual doors Further, there was a widespread belief that some classic affiliate partners can deliver users most focused on value versus rock-bottom prices. For many brands, that’s a “needle worth threading.”
Brand-to-Brand Partnerships: AIM CEO Sarah Bundy deftly challenged attendees to think of great brands that their respective companies could work with. This is always an invaluable exercise because it reminds people that “brand” should be at the center of every great partnership strategy. There are no cookie-cutter solutions that truly maximize success in this fast-growing and dynamic industry.
Partnerize would like to thank our friends at AIM and all of the brands and partners that were able to invest time to attend this event. We always appreciate the opportunity with the smart folks at AIM, whether on client assignments, on great content, or in these dinner “partnerships.” And it was great to connect with and hear from this outstanding group within the Canadian business community — leaders so focused on the growth potential available from partnerships, both domestically and internationally.