Affiliate Managers: Balance Needs of Publishers, End Customers

Editor’s Note: Once again we bring you coverage from the Affiliate Management Days conference. This series of articles is on topics of interest to businesses that offer affiliate programs. 

* * * * *

Brian_MarcusBrian Marcus (pictured), Director of Global eBay Partner Network  is passionate about end customers as well as eBay’s affiliate channel.  In his Affiliate Management Days session, entitled “Customer-Centricity in a Publisher-Centric Channel,” he shared eBay’s changing program that is committed to a stronger relationship with affiliate publishers.

Here are the key initiatives and goals with regard to the affiliates.

Customer segmentation.  Recognize different customers and their unique needs and help publishers to meet these needs.  Define the customer goals to the publisher so they understand what customers you are looking for.

Make it Easy. Create seamless integration between off site and on site experiences.

Motivate. Have a motivating incentive system for publishers.  Need to motivate  them enough so that publishers are willing to change their practices to bring in the desired customers.

Focus on End Customer Needs

The eBay Partner Network is addressing needs in four areas that can serve as a model approach for other affiliate managers:

  • “Anything I ever wanted” – make sure you have a good data feed
  • “Shopping the way I want to” – make sure we have a breadth of publishers, he said.  eBay had to open up their policies to allow publishers in. eBay works with publishers to retain existing buyers as well as new buyers with vertical promotion.  His premise is that no one owns the customer except the customer himself or herself.
  • Anytime, anywhere any device – make sure the affiliate tracking is included. Make sure policies are defined in all arenas
  • Seamless, borderless – make sure the tracking takes place outside of the borders

Focus on Publisher Needs

eBay’s Partner Network focuses on:

  • Value: time=reward, more information
  • Open: Plug and play integration and development
  • Transparent:  Stronger signals about how to optimize, clarity on constraints and guideposts
  • Easy:  Intuitive platform, simple tools to drive monetization, self guided help/accessible support  Recognize that some affiliates are not technical especially some of the content providers
  • Scalable:  Support publishers’ growth domestically and global.  Talk to them in their language.

In a brief summary, as an affiliate manager you should review your business goals, look at your analytics and provide tools and information to help publishers reach your goals plus their own.

eBay is moving towards a tighter and more transparent relationship with their affiliates.

This idea of trust and two-way communication has been consistent throughout the Affiliate Management Days conference.  The tide seems to be changing.  Are you in the process of becoming more transparent with your affiliates?  Who should take the first step: affiliates or merchants?

Read related interview of Brian Marcus of Global eBay Partner Network.  And check out  all coverage of #AMDays.

More in:

Stephanie Robbins Stephanie Robbins is the owner at Robbins Interactive, an eRevenue consulting agency specializing in launching small businesses online. She manages the integrated online presence for all her clients including affiliate marketing, social media, search engine marketing, store management and brand monitoring.