Meet Todd Crawford, an affiliate marketing veteran, Co-Founder of Impact Radius, and former VP of sales and business development at oneNetworkDirect. Todd also contributed to the founding team at Commission Junction in 1998, and worked at the affiliate network for more than seven years. At Affiliate Management Days 2013, Todd will be participating in a keynote panel on the role of the affiliate network. * * * * * Question: If you were to emphasize one important issue that every affiliate manager should be paying more attention to, what would it be and why? Todd Crawford: Diversifying your publisher base.\u00a0 Almost every advertiser I talk to has 10-15 publishers that are driving 90%+ of their results.\u00a0 Many of these top publishers have similar business models.\u00a0 A healthy program needs to be as diversified as possible, leveraging multiple types of publishers. Dig into the mid-tier publishers and segment them to determine alternative opportunities.\u00a0 Have a goal of balancing your publisher base so the top 10-15 are only 50%-70% of your results.\u00a0 It\u2019s hard work but it makes for a healthier, stronger channel. Question: What do you see as the main areas of opportunity for affiliate marketers in 2013 - 2014? Todd Crawford: I think the single biggest opportunity is utilizing better tracking, data and analytics. \u00a0From what I am seeing and hearing, legacy solutions aren't providing the level of data advertisers need to manage their marketing channels.\u00a0 There are so many more data points that need to be analyzed in order to understand the value of the affiliate channel and the individual publishers. I know the term \u201cbig data\u201d gets thrown around a lot, but more and more companies are analyzing more data points and affiliate managers need to have access to similar data.\u00a0 Otherwise they run the risk of not being able to defend or champion their channel or even worse, not being able to answer questions raised by management. Question: It isn't unusual to hear that since affiliates operate in the mix with other marketing channels that merchants use (paid search, retargeting, social, etc.), with this multi-touchpoint eCommerce, the last-click attribution model is no longer an optimal one. What do\u00a0you\u00a0recommend? Todd Crawford: We need to remember there is a difference between modeling data and firing pixels. \u00a0I think last click is still vital for actual tracking and de-duplication across channels, but that attribution analysis is becoming critical for understanding the role and value of media as well and the\u00a0true\u00a0costs. Don\u2019t confuse tracking and pixel firing logic with attribution modeling \u2013 they are two very different things. Once you understand the overall contribution of affiliates, you can then start changing your payout rates to be better aligned with the value of those partners. For example, many content sites play a role higher up in the funnel and consequently don\u2019t get credit for as many last clicks sales.\u00a0 You may want to increase their payout rate or give them a spot bonus to compensate them for their efforts earlier in the buying cycle. Question: As co-founder of an international marketing technologies company, what do you view as the main area affiliates can truly help online merchants, adding value to the pre-sale process? \u00a0 Todd Crawford: Personally, I am influenced by\u00a0in-depth\u00a0reviews. Especially videos when considering purchases. \u00a0If it works on me, I imagine it works on quite a few other people. Introduce your visitors to unique information and opportunities that they can\u2019t get from other sites.\u00a0 This isn\u2019t easy, but it builds sustainable traffic and long-term value for your website(s) and advertisers. Question: If you were to leave online advertisers, merchants and affiliate managers with one piece of advice, what would it be?\u00a0 Todd Crawford: Having personal KPIs (key performance indicators) so they can measure their progress towards weekly, monthly and quarterly goals.\u00a0 If your company doesn\u2019t help create these KPIs, you can still create your own.\u00a0 Look at the high-level objectives for your department and company overall and develop KPIs that help you track your contribution towards achieving those goals. Without KPIs in place, you often end up showing up for work everyday doing the same things without understanding which efforts will move the needle and help you hit your goals.\u00a0 A simple example is talking to 10 new affiliates each day to recruit them into your program(s).\u00a0 This means you may need to actually call 50 to get 10 on the phone. Leaving voice messages doesn\u2019t count. * * * * * Visit the website for the\u00a0Affiliate Management Days Conference. \u00a0See the rest of the interview series here.