I actually started writing this piece before the current global crisis began. COVID-19 has made me realize even more that silos within an organization are real barriers to better performance. This pandemic has forced us to adapt and put new plans in place to overcome these challenges and work more synergistically. Ultimately, it’s made many teams work more effectively together.
I have been speaking with a lot of our customers about partnerships, to understand how they have found new ways to connect internally to be more successful. Collaborating is important within a team, but it also is important to work well across teams to get the best results.
I’m going to break down some of the ways you can engage with different teams internally to help guide your partnership success strategy, while also building further credibility for the channel.
Collaborating With Your Company’s Social Team
There are roughly 3.3 billion people worldwide (43% penetration) who are active social media users. A pretty big opportunity isn’t it?! Over the years we’ve seen affiliate marketing recognize the role of social media as a growth driver for our programs. Great programs are no longer just about traditional partners; influencers now represent a significant slice of the partner marketing pie, whether that’s through Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok (which I’m sure a few of you reading this have downloaded during quarantine…maybe even done one of the dances).
Historically, influencers were utilized primarily for brand exposure and awareness, Today’s accountability mindset has prompted many brands to incorporate ROI measurement into influencer programs so they can prove the value. After all, 55% of customers who discover new products and services through social media will then go onto purchase.
So how can you collaborate with your social team for mutual benefit?
- Social Media Managers are just as eager to quantify the business impact of their programs as every other marketing professional. You can help them by providing affiliate tracking links to measure direct sales for influencers. In this way, you can demonstrate a stronger revenue impact for partnership and they can add a “hard” metric to their own reporting.
- You can also co-promote the social team’s offers with your affiliate partners that have a strong social following. These partners sometimes work with social media influencers to expand their footprints, so extending offers helps improve their reach and effectiveness.
Collaborating With Your Company’s Search Team
SEO is an important part of any digital program, and a broadly distributed partnership program can help improve your natural search results and rankings. You can partner with your search team to formulate a strategy to drive synergies via your content partners. Content partners tend to have both large audiences and outstanding credibility. Links on these sites can significantly boost SEO rankings and contribute valuable revenue to your brand.
For SEM, there are two key ways to work with your Paid Search team – one to drive a positive result and one to avoid a negative one.
- On the growth side, you can work with paid search teams to integrate your Search and Partnership programs. If a potential customer is seeing your message across multiple platforms, it’s more likely to break through and resonate.
- You can also work with your SEM team to protect your brand from traffic hijacking. For example, you can work with our BrandVerity team to ensure your partners are not bidding on your search terms without your authorization.
Collaborating With Your Company’s Brand Marketing Teams
Customer buying behaviors have changed over the last few months, but now many are thinking about major future purchases – that next rural holiday, that brand new outfit, or that case of fancy Pinot Noir. Working with your brand team on “what’s next” can get you ahead of the game.
Have you done an analysis on your partners to see where they are driving the most value for your brand and/or the brands that you sell? Can you offer more support to your brand team to showcase which products and services are performing well in the channel to help their conversations with their brand contacts to gain further investment?
You can retrieve so much data from this channel that can display promising uplifts for brands you have worked with for a while, newly launched brands, and brands that are looking to invest further spend for specific releases in certain channels.
- Look to create new partnerships that you may not have worked with before. This is a fantastic opportunity to get new customers through the virtual door and “wake” your lapsed customers too.
- Launch new areas on your site for certain products that have increased in purchase power. Even think about how you create new content on these products and services and get your partners to promote to their customers to spread the engagement further.
- Your brand team might be dealing with trying to get rid of distressed inventory as the customer mindset shifts to the newer releases or to make way for newly launched products and brands. Use data-focused commissioning strategies centered around SKU, brand, category and work with your key partners to push these out
You can also involve your social team to ensure the right message is delivered everywhere.
Collaborating With Your Company’s Events Team
While we usually think of partnership strategies as digital-centric, working with your offline events team can deliver some great sales results. By collaborating, you can encourage consumers at offline events to take immediate actions. You can also distribute offers that can be redeemed online.
For example, if your events team is running an activation campaign/event, you could offer a unique discount code in printed materials or even give QR codes that customers can scan. Customers can redeem those offers online, bringing more sales and accountability for event marketing.
Even though right now we’re not seeing many offline events, the same idea could work for virtual events and it’s always good to be planning for what’s next.
Collaborating With Your Company’s Email Team
One of the best ways to collaborate with your email team is if you are engaged in brand-to-brand alliances. In a brand-to-brand partnership, one brand promotes another in exchange for some benefit, like additional revenue or as a way of rewarding loyal customers.
If your brand is promoting another brand, you can use your house email programs and lists to communicate offers and deliver tracking links. You can insert your affiliate links into the email and easily track click-throughs, sign-ups, and conversions to understand the interactions.
Not only are these types of partnerships great for new customer acquisition, but they also allow you to drive a different layer of lifetime value if you see repeat purchasing behavior from longer-term partnerships.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that we’re not alone. By collaborating more with your teams and having frequent ideation and data sharing sessions, you could develop some fantastic cross-channel strategies. Aligning your activity can result in a much more positive ROI, which in turn can drive more dollar investments into your respective channels for future activity.
“We’re in it together” will continue to be important for us all going forwards!