It’s Time to Turn Your Partnerships Into a Profit Center

May 03, 2022

Senior Vice President, Marketing

Among other accountabilities, Marketing teams are tasked with attracting and nurturing new customers. But this task traditionally comes with a steep price tag. Take for example long-standing, non-digital marketing tactics like direct sales, television ads, radio, mail and print advertising. Their inability to demonstrate a direct correlation to revenue, has rendered these means costly and rife with challenges that only serve to further fuel the department’s reputation as a cost center, or an operating expense. And this makes scaling a business, especially a small business, all the more cost-prohibitive. Another downside to these traditional marketing tactics is that they tend to employ a one-way engagement model, eliminating any dialogue or chance at establishing a relationship with the consumer (a counterintuitive nightmare for most any marketer). In short, an easy way to start a conversation from one direct mail flyer just doesn’t exist. However, with the advent of more sophisticated digital advertising mediums and distribution channels, the outlook has decidedly shifted. And along with the proliferation of these digital marketing channels, new advertising spend models emerged, flexing their muscles within the plan.

 

From traditional to transformational.

In its evolved version, marketing doesn’t just drive brand awareness – it plays a role at every stage of the buyer journey from awareness and interest all the way through desire and into action. Marketing can drive awareness and interest at a branding level but can also incite decision and action, driving new and repeat business in the form of traffic, sales, conversions and downloads. It can also influence purchasing decisions including that to spend more money. It’s downright heroic. Yet, not all marketing departments effectively draw the connection between the dollars they spend to the direct response impact or influence those dollars have on the generation of results. So, sadly, this hero goes unsung. But imagine if its full strength was unlocked. Imagine if you could actually transform your marketing from a cost center into a profit center. Why imagine? It’s not only possible, it’s probable. So, where is that key?

 

Performance-based channels continue to be the best way to reach, engage and convert audiences.

While not necessarily a “secret” to the many smart marketers who have been tapping its power successfully for years now, even today, the partnership channel is often overlooked by even the most seasoned Marketing and eCommerce VPs and CMOs. The partnership channel’s proprietary strength, even within digital itself, is that it spans all forms of marketing like editorial content to search ads, to influencers, to everything in between. And regardless of the economic climate, the costs to do business in the paid search and paid social channels are expensive and only continue to skyrocket and become unsustainable. Partnerships presents itself as the ideal way to subsidize these costs, as it is a pay-for-outcome, not the no-guarantee, pay-for-access model employed by other pay-to-play channels.

 

Consumers aren’t ignorant. In fact, they’re far from simple or uneducated. They know exactly what they want and what’s more: they know exactly how to get it. Today’s marketing landscape reflects this. It commands marketers to be present at every touchpoint in the buyer’s journey. But being omnipresent in paid channels gets very expensive, very fast. In stark contrast, the pay-for-performance model partnerships encompasses makes it especially desirable. And this desirability prompted an expected rise in the channel’s marketing budget last year. In fact, a Gartner’s CMO spend survey showed executive-level marketers were taking notice of the channel, citing a 65% budget increase in 2021. Traditionally, advertising expenses can be viewed as a cost center since they only indirectly contribute to producing revenue while nearly always requiring investment. But when the correlation of spend-to-revenue generation (as found with the pay-for-performance model) is so direct, it should then be regarded as a profit center. Its unique pay-for-performance model makes partnership/affiliate marketing the ideal vehicle for brands to effectively reach, engage, and convert both new and existing consumers. With partnerships/affiliate, you’re not just spending, you’re only attributing cost upon revenue generation and in turn, you’re transforming what would otherwise be known as a cost center, into a true profit center. In a digital marketing landscape overcrowded with expensive channels and complex, difficult-to-decipher metrics, there’s a clear need for channels that do something straightforward and simple: drive additional or incremental profits.

 

Want to know more about how to turn your advertising into a profit center? Download our eBook and learn how to be the hero your company needs by leveraging the partnership channel to create operating leverage and improve ROI.

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