March 19, 2015

Measuring Customer Enthusiasm: You Just Need To Ask The Right Question

Author : Stephanie Harris

NPS Score

Our Net Promoter Score is 67, Amazon’s is 64, and Apple’s is 72. The Net Promoter Score (or NPS) is a customer service metric derived from asking customers a very simple question: How likely are you to recommend us to someone? A score of -100 would mean everyone hates what you’re doing, and a score of +100 means everyone loves what you’re doing (and wouldn’t that be nice?). In reality, a score of 50 or higher is considered excellent, which is why I tout my company’s as a badge of pride. We’re all into big data these days, but here’s a deceptively small piece of information that will give you big bang for your buck. Read on for the insights I glean from it…

The Math

Ask your customers, on a scale of 1 – 10, how likely they are to recommend you to others. If a customer gives you a 9 or a 10, that makes them a promoter, a loyal enthusiast. Scores of 0 – 6 are detractors – these are your unhappy customers, whether they outwardly tell you they are unhappy or not. As for the people in the middle, your 7s and 8s, they are considered passives. They don’t count here in the formula, though they certainly count for what you can learn from them. From surveying your customers on this one seemingly simple question, you can derive the NPS score – subtract your percent of detractors from your percent of promoters and there you have it.

Your Promoters

Ok, so these are the guys that make it all look easy. In your customer base, these are the people who give you referrals repeatedly, tell colleagues and friends about you, and make you feel like you’re doing everything right. And maybe you didn’t even know this about them. You still have a lot to learn from the guys who score you 9s and 10s. Perhaps the high score is a surprise – they don’t seem as engaged as you’d figure an enthusiast would be, or you weren’t pulling out all the stops for these customers. That’s definitely something to look at. When you follow up with them (and it’s best practice in my experience to do so), you’ll be able to find out what exactly you’re doing that makes them so likely to tell others about your business, because if they were a surprise promoter, you’re likely placing value in the wrong things. And what of the promoters you were already counting on? Regularly seeing these loyal cheerleaders in the promoter rank gives you an idea of your true core base – are there trends into the types of customer they are (volume, vertical, demographic, etc.), what they value in your offering, who they interact with day-to-day? These are important insights upon which you can continue to build your success and customer retention.

Your Passives

This is an interesting set of the customer base. You might think a score of a 7 or an 8 is pretty good, and it’s not “bad”, that’s true. But it doesn’t boost your NPS score, and for good reason. They’re not enthusiastic, and they’re not unhappy, but this set is the one you have to work to nudge in your favor. What more could you be doing to increase their commitment to you and their feelings about you? Because clearly whatever you are currently doing is not resonating loudly enough with them.Again, who do they interact with most regularly, are there other similarities, do they receive the same attention and level of service as your promoters? Do they share any similar backgrounds? When you speak to your passives, work to uncover what is keeping them from giving you that 9 or 10 – this is where the real gold lies.

Your Detractors

This is a scary bunch. If a customer has rated you anywhere from 0 – 6, they are not thrilled with you. Maybe a 5 or 6 sounds fair to you – but from doing this many, many, times I can tell you the exercise does not lie. These guys will all give you the greatest churn rate, and they will often be a surprise. You might think “wow – I thought things were going well with this customer. They seemed happy, or at least never expressed dissatisfaction.” Or, “huh – I’m surprised by how many detractors I have when I’ve just launched this great new line of inventory.” What does this tell you? If you’re surprised by who your detractors are or how many detractors you have (which does pull the NPS score down), you are turning people off in a big way. Learning what is repelling that customer base will not only tell you where your true weaknesses lie (known or otherwise), but it will also force you to look at the hard questions. Perhaps you’re uncomfortably outside your area of expertise with this base, or there’s a department or function within your organization not operating as it should. And what if you get the same detractors over and over? You’re not doing enough to address the dissatisfaction and they will eventually leave. Work to uncover these answers and you could reduce churn, increase stability, and save yourself a lot of headache. Uncovering the source of this segment’s dissatisfaction could give you the wake up call that saves your business.

Your Overall Score

When you put this all together, what does it mean? Looking at the NPS score over time, you can trend your score against major milestones (and issues) in your organization’s history. We at Schaaf-PartnerCentric regularly measure our NPS and whether it’s improved, declined, or remained stagnant. Why do we do this? We want a snapshot of ourselves in time, to compare to the other snapshots we’ve taken, allowing us to look back at this album to see how we’ve grown, how we’ve changed, and how we’ve gotten better or worse in our customers’ eyes. It tells us whether our customers as a whole are becoming more or less committed to us, and more or less satisfied with our service. You gain clarity on a list of questions to ask yourself about your business: what might have affected my score, what were the positive indicators, the negatives? Perhaps most importantly, is their confidence in our direction increasing, enough to risk their own reputation by telling others to do business with us? Are you on the right path or do you need a course correction? The customer is always right, and they will tell you. You just have to ask the right question.

This article first appeared in LinkedIn on March 10, 2015.




March 10, 2015

Join the iCracked Affiliate Program today!

Author : Hansi Holzhammer

icracked

We are happy to announce that the Schaaf-PartnerCentric is now managing the iCracked Affiliate Program.

iCracked is the largest on-demand mobile repair company in the world. They offer a simple, convenient way to repair or trade-in iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Samsung devices. Hundreds of thousands of customers have used iCracked’s products & services to fix their mobile devices or trade them in for cash. Customers love iCracked for repairs and trade-in’s because all the Apple product repair services are covered by a lifetime guarantee and customers receive high quality service without going anywhere–iCracked comes to them!

To learn more and join the iCracked affiliate program click here.

The iCracked affiliate program is being managed by Affiliate Program Manager, Julie Stepkowski.

If you’re interested in determining how Schaaf-PartnerCentric might help your affiliate program, please request a consultation.





March 06, 2015

Annual SXSW Affiliate Marketing Happy Hour Announced!

Author : Jessica Griffin

Schaaf-PartnerCentric is pleased to announce two exciting events in March:

SXSW Affiliate Marketing Happy Hour

Join MarketingClique, Schaaf-PartnerCentric, coreOPM, & WeMoveWP for an open bar happy hour at the start of SXSW. No badge required. All affiliate marketers welcome!

Where: The Dogwood at 715 W 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

When: Friday, March 13 from 5p – 8p

RSVP here. The password is AffMarkparty2015

Meet The Team Happy Hour

The entire Schaaf-PartnerCentric team is converging in Austin for a four-day long company retreat. On Tuesday, March 24, we’ll be pulling away from our company chats for a night on the town in Austin, Texas. And we’d like for you to come! Join us for poolside drinks and appetizers at a private party at The W pool patio.

Where: The W Residences, Poolside at 200 Lavaca Street, Austin, Texas, 78701

When: Tuesday, March 24 from 6:30p – 9p

Email to RSVP.




March 02, 2015

The Affiliate Overlap (or Lack of) in Retail and Lead Programs

Author : Adrienne Erreca

lead affiliate program recruitment

The affiliate space is always changing, morphing. Affiliates rise and fall based on personal goals, affiliate program tracking, Google algorithm changes, among a slew of other reasons. Our goal at Schaaf-PartnerCentric is to grow and develop as the marketplace does. As a company, we’re able to leverage a vast amount of personal experience, couple it with a significant amount of data, and draw some interesting conclusions that help us gain clarity into the space. This clarity drives our affiliate program management strategies.

At any given time, we manage about 1/3 lead-based affiliate programs, and about 2/3 retail-based affiliate programs. Lead programs require a different strategy, carry with it different concerns, and overall perform in a manner different than a retail affiliate program.

In analyzing affiliate program performance metrics for a portfolio of 75+ affiliate programs, we found only a 6% overlap in the affiliates who drive sales for a retail-based affiliate program versus a lead-based affiliate program.

lead affiliate recruitment

This 6% of affiliates makee up 84% of retail affiliate program sales volume — yet this same segment of publishers only accounts for 32% of non-retail affiliate volume.

lead affiliate program recruitment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This insight indicates that an affiliate recruitment strategy for a non-retail affiliate program has to be approached differently. If you, or your affiliate program management agency, are focused on the same “meat and potatoes” of  traditional retail recruitment, your lead program could be under-performing, at about a third of its potential.

If you’re interested in learning more about top performing affiliates, download our list of Top 15 Affiliates to Watch in 2015.  
Top 15 Affiliates List






February 27, 2015

3 Signs Your Affiliate Program Has a Coupon Issue

Author : Jessica Griffin

Affiliate program coupon issues

 

Feel like coupon sites are cutting into your margins? Frustrated that they make up most of the volume of your affiliate program? Maybe you think they don’t drive any value to your sales funnel and only “steal” the commissions from honest, content-based affiliates?

Here are three signs that your affiliate program has an issue with coupon affiliates that you need to address:

1. Affiliate Commissions are Not Segmented Based on Attribution Data

If your affiliate commissions are not segmented according to attribution data, you’ll most likely be feeling frustration that coupon affiliates earn 100% commission on a sale. Since most affiliate tracking models rely on the last-click-wins method, coupon affiliates receive 100% of commissions for sales that are considered less valuable to the merchant. One solution is to integrate an attribution data vendor into your site, study all touch-points of a customer that leads to a sale, and segment commissions based on your findings.

2. Coupon Affiliates are Not Allowed in Your Affiliate Program

Some merchants we speak with are at such a loss with coupon sites that they boot all of them from the program. When you remove coupon publishers from your program, you relinquish all control from how your brand is perceived on those sites, as well as any other potential value you could get out of the partnership. Most of the larger sites have loyal subscribers to their email and social accounts, which can help with the dissemination of deals and promotions. In addition, as long as coupon sites are joined to your program, you have financial leverage in the relationship.

3. You Do Not Use Promo Code Blocking Technology

Coupon publishers manage thousands of codes daily and it is often not in their best interest to honor requests to remove codes from the website. This will often leave merchants frustrated as a coupon code for one channel gets blasted over the internet, possibly flipping the ROI of the sale and costing the merchant money. A few of the affiliate networks have understood this frustration from merchants. They have built into their technology the capability of canceling commissions if a specific code is used. You can cancel all commissions for that code, or assign a code to only one affiliate so only they will get commission if that code is used. If another affiliate publishes a code that was intended for another publisher  and attempts to get credit for the sale, the tracking technology will $0 out the commissions.

In summary, coupon sites have a ton of traffic and direct a portion of this traffic to your site. What the value of that traffic is has to be determined, based on research and data. Those insights must be used to influence the overall strategy of your affiliate program.
If you’re interested in learning more about the role of coupons in affiliate, download our free introductory slide deck.

 

 

 




February 26, 2015

Join the Bonanza Affiliate Program Today!

Author : Hansi Holzhammer

bonanza_sized  We are happy to announce that the Schaaf-PartnerCentric is now managing the Bonanza Affiliate Program.

Bonanza is a customer-to-customer marketplace for buying and selling of SKU’d and non-SKU’d physical and digital goods.  The site launched in 2008 and has become a favored marketplace of online sellers.

This affiliate program uses a 72 hour cookie (as compared to their top competitors who utilize a 24 hour cookie) and all affiliate commissions are tracked independently by Affiliate Window which means you get all the commissions you earn.

Bonanza Affiliate Program Highlights:

  • Up to 15% commission on qualified products (minimum of 7% and up to 15% depending on individual Bonanza store owners and their products*)
  • Data Feed (coming soon)
  • 3 day cookie
  • Reliable online tracking
  • Promotional tools including text links, banner ads, and more
  • Monthly newsletters with program updates, promotions, and contests
  • Dedicated management and support

To learn more and join the Bonanza affiliate program click here.

The Bonanza affiliate program is being managed by Affiliate Program Manager, Elia Badran.

If you’re interested in determining how Schaaf-PartnerCentric might help your affiliate program, please request a consultation.





February 19, 2015

Lenovo Pre-Loading Superfish Adware on Machines

Author : Tom Rathbone

In the last couple of days, some interesting news on Lenovo, Superfish, and Komodia has surfaced.

In the Lenovo Community Forums[1], a user pointed out that upon their first use of their new Lenovo machine, adware ads were already being populated into Google results. While bloatware (pre-installed, generally unwanted software) is commonly added to machines at the factory, this is particularly damning – why is Lenovo pre-installing adware on its machines, and how did Superfish get that deal?

As an affiliate management agency managing compliance for 70+ affiliate programs, we are always on the lookout for suspicious activity in the space. We’ve had issues with Superfish as an affiliate in the past when they popped onto the scene. We discovered multiple cases of Superfish bundling into malware (we found them in Chrome extensions [2][3]) and have since removed them from most of our clients’ affiliate programs.

This case goes a little deeper though, thanks to some investigation by TheNextWeb. A Lenovo administrator claims this software is opt-out, and temporarily paused. But why should consumers have to opt-out of a adware that is capable of man-in-the-middle attacks? This software comes with its own certificate that “allows the software to decrypt secure requests.[4]” Worse yet, just uninstalling the app does not remove this certificate – that has to be a manual deletion. While Firefox fortunately is not vulnerable here (due to their tighter grip on certificates), other browsers are vulnerable (unless they’ve pushed updates already). That means that until these updates are released, HTTPS is completely compromised for users that have not removed all the software and certificates. I’m not going to outline it all here, but ArsTechnica did a great job collecting specific examples of the certificate tampering with the HTTPS connection to a banking website.

Deeper yet, it would appear that the malware technology used is from a company called Komodia[5], that specifically markets their products as ad injection[6]. Furthermore, they advertise that their product “has anti virus capabilities and each compiled version generates a totally new version,” meaning that they are well aware it will be targeted by anti-virus software. [EDIT: looks like these guys got hit with a DDOS.]

From our management perspective, we will continue to ensure that Superfish traffic stays away from our clients’ affiliate programs. We recommend all affiliate managers take a hard look at the traffic they are receiving from Superfish. If you do not have the transparency required to fully vet their traffic, either reach out to them for additional information, or play it on the safe side and remove Superfish from your programs. If you are running your program in CPA networks, you should reach out to the CPA network to see if Superfish is driving traffic through their platform as well.

For everyone reading that is on a Lenovo machine (and everyone else, really), here’s a fantastic little sanity checker to see if this is on your machine, complete with next steps.

[1] https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/Lenovo-P-Y-and-Z-series/Lenovo-Pre-instaling-adware-spam-Superfish-powerd-by/td-p/1726839
[2] http://images.schaafpc.com/superfish1.png
[3] http://images.schaafpc.com/superfish2.png
[4] http://thenextweb.com/insider/2015/02/19/lenovo-caught-installing-adware-new-computers/
[5] http://blog.erratasec.com/2015/02/extracting-superfish-certificate.html
[6] http://www.komodia.com/ad-injection-sdk/




February 16, 2015

Schaaf-PartnerCentric Names Stephanie Harris as Interim CEO

Author : Jessica Griffin

Stephanie Harris

Brook Schaaf, co-Founder and current CEO, moves into Chairman position.

Schaaf-PartnerCentric, a leading provider of affiliate management services, today announced that current CEO and Co-Founder Brook Schaaf will become company Chairman. In his place, current COO Stephanie Harris will serve as Interim CEO. These changes will be effective as of March 9, 2015.

“I am pleased to announce this milestone in the company’s journey. Since she came on board during our first year, Stephanie has made critical contributions to our success in multiple roles and she will do the same in this one. I look forward to seeing SPC continue to flourish under her leadership,” said Schaaf.

Added Harris, “This is an exciting new chapter for Schaaf-PartnerCentric, one of many I’ve been proud to be part of throughout our history. I’m eager to step into the role of Interim CEO, and lead our talented team to new heights. We will drive this business to the next level by building on the strong foundation Brook has built, and pushing forward with the momentum this organization has achieved over the last nine years. We will continue to deliver on our core promise – enabling businesses to generate more revenue per dollar invested in affiliate marketing than any other management alternative. In 2015, we are poised to accomplish this through fresh opportunities and key initiatives. I’m looking forward to a stellar year.”

In addition to these changes, Julie Ávila, Director of Affiliate Management, was promoted to Vice President, Client Services. “I have been fortunate enough to leverage my passion for affiliate marketing throughout my career here at Schaaf-PartnerCentric and I look forward to my new role as Vice President, Client Services. I have high expectations for the future of our company and the clarity we can bring to our clients in this ever changing marketing landscape,” commented Ávila.

“Schaaf-PartnerCentric is a pioneer in the affiliate marketing industry and continues to outperform peers in providing superior services to help businesses of all sizes leverage performance-based marketing strategies to drive sales. I am highly confident in Stephanie’s abilities to lead Schaaf-PartnerCentric as Interim CEO and expect Brook will be an incredibly active and effective Chairman. I look forward to working with Stephanie, Brook, and the SPC team to further position Schaaf-PartnerCentric as the leader in affiliate management products and services,” said advisory board member Kristopher B. Jones, Founder and former CEO of eBay Enterprises Affiliate Network (formerly Pepperjam Network) and current CEO of KBJ Capital.

About Schaaf-PartnerCentric, coreOPM
Schaaf-PartnerCentric provides premium affiliate management services to retail and lead advertisers looking for top line growth, bottom line profit, or optimal technical implementation. coreOPM, a Schaaf-PartnerCentric company, provides low-cost, high-value affiliate program management for small businesses.




February 13, 2015

[List] Top 15 Affiliates to Watch in 2015

Author : Jessica Griffin


Top 15 Affiliates List

As a full-service agency that manages over 75 clients, we have access and insights into affiliate activity across a high volume of programs and verticals. From this data, we’ve pulled together a list of affiliates that we expect to perform well in 2015.

The list includes:

  • affiliates who drive high volume traffic
  • affiliates who specialize in driving incremental sales
  • new-comers to the affiliate space
  • affiliates who have driven impressive YoY growth within our portfolio
  • Use our Top 15 list to recruit these top partners to your affiliate program to ensure high performance.




February 03, 2015

Bitly Now a VigLink Publisher

Author : Tom Rathbone

bitly viglink publisher

bitly viglink publisher

 

 

 

EDIT: VigLink has been working to resolve instances where merchant’s self-made links are being affiliated and is working with SPC to resolve outstanding inquiries for SPC clients.  Other advertisers can message VigLink directly through support@viglink.com for any questions regarding their account.

Are you using custom bitly links to push traffic to your website via social media or other channels? Be aware that bitly may customize that link and reroute it through VigLink, an affiliate, to trigger an affiliate commission for themselves and VigLink.

Previously, when you created a custom bitly link (let’s say you create website.ly), the path would appear as such:

  • User sees website.ly1234 on their social media, accompanied by YOUR blog post from your official page.
  • User clicks link, which is rerouted through bitly to your landing page – http://www.website.com/product

Now, if you were to use this custom bitly link, the flow looks like this:

  • User sees website.ly1234 on their social media, accompanied by YOUR blog post from your official page.
  • User clicks link and bit.ly redirects traffic through their own VigLink domain
  • VigLink redirects again through an affiliate network, where affiliate tracking picks up
  • User rerouted to your landing page – http://www.website.com/product

This ends up with two effects:

1. All your analytics are now a mess – you will see affiliate query string parameters together with social tags.

Example: &utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=01-31&utm_campaign=sale-post&utm_term=1234&utm_content=56345&utm_medium=TEXT_LINK&utm_source=affnetwork&utm_campaign=affiliate

2. You are now paying VigLink through your affiliate program, who is splitting the commission with bitly, to provide a shortened URL to your site.

If you are using these custom bit.ly URL’s, you may want to reach out to your VigLink contact and request removal from this today. You will need to be sure they remove you from this in each of your affiliate tracking networks, if you use more than one.

Additionally, you can use a different URL shortening service.

Any other thoughts or questions? Let us know – we’re here to help.

Tom Rathbone is our Senior Technical Solutions Specialist. Tom delivers our clients and partners customized technical solutions for today’s dynamic performance marketing space. 

If you’re interested in determining how Schaaf-PartnerCentric might help grow your affiliate program, please request a consultation.