April 21, 2017
Just a decade ago, influencer marketing wasn’t a concrete strategy that brands were employing because it didn’t really exist. Sure, there were bloggers and various YouTube channels dedicated to fashion, reviews and trends but the brands were still setting the rules and telling consumers what they should be purchasing. Oh, how times have changed!
In a modern world full of competing viewpoints and general information overload, consumers want to know that they are making well-informed decisions when it comes to the brands that they support. The much-discussed millennial generation is comprised of over 75 million Americans. There is endless chatter about how to engage these millennial consumers. While it is known that they want to spend money on experiences and brands that aim to do good, how come so many large brands find it so difficult to connect with these coveted consumers?
Influencer marketing has become a great tool for brands to access because it allows them to reach a targeted audience in a more authentic way. A millennial might not trust a large clothing brand, but if their favorite blogger is touting the clothing and the company’s ethics, that millennial could very well turn into a loyal follower and consumer. Here are just four reasons why you should make influencer marketing a part of your overall marketing strategy:
- Consumers Want Trusted Brands Only – In 2015, the percentage of brands people trusted in North America was only 22%. That’s quite low when you consider the fact that every brand wants to be considered reputable and attract loyal consumers. The term “influencer” is bestowed upon individuals who have built trust in order to grow a targeted and loyal following. If a brand works with an influencer and that influencer gives an honest review of a product, it builds trust for the brand. A consumer will feel comfortable making a purchase because a blogger they admire and respect has touted the benefits of the brand.
- Authenticity is Valued – According to Forbes, “43% of millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news.” Consumers are savvier than ever and want to make sure they support genuine brands who champion causes and are honest and clear with their values. The easiest way to convey this authenticity is to work with influencers who respect the brand and vertical. They often have a targeted group of followers who engage with them for their honesty. The key here is to work with influencers who understand your brand and who are authentic with their reviews and opinions. Fortune 500 brands can often appear “faceless.” Because they are so large, they can’t connect with consumers the way an influencer can. Influencers aren’t on the corporate payroll and have more freedom to express themselves in a “real” way. There are no canned statements and PR departments when you’re a blogger telling people about the brands and products you genuinely like.
- Know Your Audience to Make Meaningful Connections – Plain and simple, make sure you understand the audience you’re trying to connect with before you consider influencer marketing. A fashion blogger won’t build meaningful relationships with your target audience if your brand sells car accessories. Know how your intended audience thinks and understand their unique demographics.
- Take A Targeted Approach – Now that you know how influencer marketing can help your brand connect with targeted consumers in a genuine way, how do you get started? REACH is Schaaf-PartnerCentric’s service offering that focuses on engaging influencers. We act as an extension of your team and partner with the best and most relevant influencers for your brand. With our years of knowledge and expertise in the industry, we have established many meaningful relationships with influencers and understand their unique audiences. Based on campaign objectives, we then report on chosen metrics.
The ideal REACH clients are brands that are looking to begin or expand their influencer marketing efforts, regardless of whether or not they have an existing affiliate program. If you’re ready to see what influencer marketing can do for your brand or just want to learn more about REACH, contact us.
April 12, 2017
Choosing an Affiliate Management Agency vs. Managing the Affiliate Channel Internally
We get it. With so many opposing viewpoints and endless how-to articles, it’s hard to know how and where to manage your affiliate program most effectively. At Schaaf-PartnerCentric, our goal is to implement your program right the first time and ensure that it is performing optimally. With a team of dedicated industry experts, we employ strategies that are tailored to your brand’s unique needs so you can see faster ROI.
After 6 months of Schaaf-PartnerCentric taking over management for a large retail-based client, traffic grew by 33% year over year and sales revenue grew by 59%. If this stat isn’t reason enough to work with us, below are some other points to consider:
A Dedicated Team of Experts
An in-house affiliate manager often works alone and can’t rely on a centralized team of experts to assist with creative, recruitment, analysis and tech. Instead, these team members are often in different departments and are far removed from the affiliate marketing channel. Due to this, the affiliate channel falls by the wayside in a sea of competing initiatives.
Schaaf-PartnerCentric provides a unified and experienced account team who work together to deliver strategic solutions and get results. Every member on the account knows what is happening with a program and can provide support and insights in order to present unique solutions based on their individual expertise. While your in-house affiliate manager has to wait their turn to receive internal resources from other departments, our strategic affiliate manager has a dedicated services team to support them, ensuring their time is spent on high ROI activities. Finally, there are no competing marketing channels, priorities to juggle, or company politics to navigate. We are 100% focused on your affiliate program’s success and will keep you informed at every step of the process.
A Wide Span of Meaningful Relationships
An organization that hires an in-house affiliate manager will only be able to leverage that person’s previous experience and reach.
Schaaf-PartnerCentric touts over 60,000 partnerships and knows how to leverage those existing partnerships to help your individual program. There is no one-size-fits all solution to fully optimize a program and we provide a team of industry veterans who know how to drive success. We have experience working across 16 different networks globally, and are not limited to any one platform or network. Additionally, we maintain benchmark data on every affiliate partner, client vertical, and paid placement opportunity. An in-house team is unable to reference such benchmarks in order to optimize partner conversion rates, improve ROAS or negotiate lower cost paid placements with specific ROI goals. Lastly, in-house teams are typically not kept up to date on changing legal matters like Nexus, international laws or tax forms for partners. We have a team solely dedicated to these matters.
In order for an affiliate program to be successful, it needs to be properly managed. There is no set-it-and-forget-it solution if you want growth and ROI. It is often tempting to hire someone with limited experience to effectively manage an affiliate program because there is a misconception that affiliate marketing is simple to implement.
At Schaaf-PartnerCentric, you get a robust team that invests a lot of time and energy into making sure your program is doing as well as it can be and the right tactics are being employed. Our account managers have an average of 10 years of experience in the affiliate marketing industry. They have seen the space evolve and have evolved right along with it. They know what it takes to bring a program to its full potential and they understand that it’s often a team effort driven by research, data, insights and tech.
Long-run Cost Savings
Organizations are often lead to believe it is cheaper to hire an in-house affiliate manager. At Schaaf-PartnerCentric, many of our clients move to us after testing an in-house resource and quickly realize that the cost of their underperforming program far outweighs the savings from an in-house hire. For the price of one new hire, you get 5-6 affiliate experts added to your team. You also get complimentary technologies and tools, like compliance and fraud monitoring, as well as proprietary technologies for protecting margin. No onboarding, employee training, planning meetings or hand-holding required; just an immediate expert team providing faster and higher ROI.
Facing the Facts
When we take over programs that were previously managed by in-house teams, we usually find and fix just some of the following issues: Overpaid and underperforming partners, lower ROI relative to benchmarks, missed growth opportunities, compliance and traffic quality issues, concentration risk with 10 or fewer partners, coupon cannibalization, and tracking issues. With the ROAS lost from mismanagement and lack of optimization from an in-house manager, can you truly afford not to work with an affiliate marketing agency?
Have more questions? Ready to see how Schaaf-PartnerCentric can cost-effectively grow or jumpstart your affiliate program? Contact us today!