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#ASW17: How to Develop Standardized Partnerships at Scale

Jan 20, 2017

Affiliate Summit West 2013 Logo

We had a great time at Affiliate Summit West—one of the industry’s largest conferences—in Las Vegas this week. Throughout the conference, we recognized a familiar theme across many of our discussions with brands: the increasing appeal of scaling performance-based partnerships globally.

In our experience, brands encounter a number of challenges when attempting to capitalize on this massive opportunity. These can range anywhere from difficulties managing multiple systems for global coverage to a lack of data and actionable insights.

The challenges of global expansion were also the focus of a panel discussion we particularly enjoyed at ASW– “How Affiliate Industry Giants are Building for the Future.” Moderated by Robert Glazer of Acceleration Partners, the panel featured a number of key industry players including:

  • Keith Posehn, Head of Affiliate Marketing & New Channel Development at Uber
  • John Toskey, Director, Global eBay Partner Network at eBay
  • Jelle Oskam, Global & US Affiliate Manager at adidas

Each panelist discussed how they deal with the challenges of rapid global growth while anticipating the major changes sweeping the industry.

Fragmentation is the enemy of a global program – Keith Posehn, Uber 

Keith kicked off the discussion with some of the challenges accompanying Uber’s rapid growth and outlined how marketing teams can address them with the help of technology. This includes consolidating multiple partners and systems into a single program that is consistent across all markets.

For example, he recommended defining the term partnerships and establishing a clear line of what does and does not qualify. Next, he suggested reaching out to disparate teams across the organization who currently manage partnerships manually – such as business development teams – to help them recognize that their pains could be resolved by running a unified partner program through a technology platform.

He also advocated a single global strategy over building regional programs up from scratch, since this saves significant resources, offers better budget control, and facilitates consistent use of proven best practices.   

Our take: Consistency in brand, messaging, and measurement methodologies are all key to ensure that global partner marketing programs succeed. As the industry evolves, brands are only increasing the variety of partner categories they work with, which is why effectively and efficiently managing those relationships is absolutely critical.

Global scale, local support – John Toskey, eBay

John described the increasing expectations for performance-based marketing and predicted that the lure of global sales will be a strong incentive for companies to expand their partner programs—especially given that most major partners and affiliates operate across multiple markets. He advised equipping those partners with the tools they need to succeed by offering country-level support and resources.

Our take: Brands should prioritize building strong relationships with marketing partners whose operations extend across multiple countries, which they can further leverage when expanding into those markets.

Protect the brand & effectively maximize your data – Jelle Oskam, adidas

Jelle emphasized the importance of protecting one’s brand when scaling—an issue particularly important for brand-driven retailer adidas. He also discussed how brands can ease global expansion by using data to establish proven best practices, which can help resolve disputes of how programs should be run locally. Additionally, gaining a deep understanding of what each partner brings to the table will be critical for future success.

Our take: As major enterprises roll out global programs, safeguarding their brand through an exclusive, private partner network is going to become increasingly important. Additionally, brands who take advantage of granular data to generate deeper insights on the different value that different partners bring in different markets will be poised for successful growth. This will help ensure that brands are focused on building the right relationships with brand secured across their partner marketing program. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to build scalable partnerships, why not reach out to a member of our team?

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