I was recently reading Chris Trayhorn’s Blog and his latest post touched on a subject which I’d like to share and delve into a bit. A couple weeks ago, the latest Blue Book Top 20 Performance Marketing Networks and Exchanges were released. Taking into account important factors such as reputation, measures of industry influence, and reach (among many others), as well as a survey of over 1,000 publishers, advertisers, agencies and networks, the current top 20 performance marketing networks in the industry have been crowned. This is a terrific resource and it really helps to single out the good guys and separate the men from the boys; but the results from the actual survey are what I found to be most intriguing.
The survey was brief enough, asking only which network the subject considered to be the best, as well as important factors when it comes to choosing a network partner. At no surprise, tracking accuracy, reputation in the industry, and fraud prevention were among the most popular answers, but a re-occurring topic in the “other factors” section of the survey raised some eyebrows: Affiliate Managers. It’s obvious enough that the affiliate manager is key when it comes to the communication and success between networks and affiliates, but now more than ever it’s showing to be a crucial aspect. Affiliates want to deal with a manager who’s gonna look after their interests and keep them updated. Good ethics and availability were also common responses in the survey.
I love that Chris brought this up and that the survey shed some light on the importance of affiliate manager presence and demeanor. One of my responsibilities at CouponShack is advertiser/affiliate relations. I handle the majority of communications between our company and our partners, and this involves constant communication with affiliate managers. I have seen the best and the worst types of affiliate managers, and I completely agree with the idea (fact) that affiliate managers and their attitude are key when it comes to a successful partnership. Many AM’s that I deal with are readily available and more than willing to take the time to address an inquiry; while others completely ignore attempts at communication or optimization (guess which partnerships are less than optimal).
As I had mentioned in a previous post, I embrace every opportunity I get to speak to or exchange emails with affiliate managers: optimal communication=optimal relationship. And although it’s an unrealistic expectation, I like to see the same from our AM’s. Reliable AM’s just make optimization and (work) life in general so much easier. When you have an AM that responds to emails in a reasonable time frame, calls you back, corrects mistakes, keeps you informed, reaches out to you on a regular basis, this is who you want working for you on the other side of the network. AM’s who are unreachable, take their time in responding to an issue or inquiry, or just plain don’t seem to exist, these are the managers who ruin good partnerships, and if I can be honest, they really efin piss me off, and I know I’m not alone. According to the survey, two common answers in the open-ended section for desired AM qualities were ‘affiliate managers who aren’t lazy’ and an AM that ‘represents the interests of affiliates rather than just merchants.’ Amen.
I could go on and on about desired qualities when it comes to affiliate managers, so I think I will. I’m gonna end here for today though, but stay tuned. I’ll continue to post more detailed descriptions and specific examples of negative and positive affiliate manager qualities. I’ll apologize in advance because some issues and negative qualities really tick me off, so I might get a little colorful.