What is Affiliate Marketing?

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Business Digital marketing

Viktoria Esther Labusga – Digital Marketing Specialist EMEA bei Nike

From this video you’ll learn that…

  • Affiliate marketing is just referring to a product or service by sharing it online
  • In affiliate marketing you have to be authentic to the audience
  • If you don’t have figures, this means you have nothing
  • A brand needs to be careful what they do in different countries

Sophia:
Hi, guys; thank you so much for watching us today. We have a great speaker, Viktoria, the Digital Marketing Specialist in the EMEA region, be Nike. Hi.

Viktoria:
Hi.

What are your hobbies?

Sophia:
Before we run into the professional questions, let’s talk about you as a person. What are your hobbies? How do you balance your personal and professional life, especially during quarantine?

Viktoria:
Yes, as you already said, especially during those times, I think it’s essential to balance the professional and the personal life because I’m working from home for more than a year now.
So, what helps me a lot is to stay active. I do many sports, I play hockey on a team, and I go horse riding. I also do workouts now, and at Epson, we are allowed to do exercises in the park. Super important for me to stay in contact with my friends and family.
Of course, it’s not easy nowadays, but like if there’s the possibility I meet up with them for dinner or a walk and otherwise here, we have zoom calls. It’s a new normal now.

Sophia:
Exactly, new routine. I think you’re the first person I’m talking to who plays on the hockey team.

What is your professional background?

Sophia:
Your LinkedIn profile is wealthy and has lots of information. We know that now you work be Nike. But where did you start your professional experience?

Viktoria:
I studied International Management Foreign Trade, which gives a broad spectrum of different business areas.
So, like from macroeconomics, microeconomics, finance. I quickly saw, marketing is something that I’m passionate about. Sand social media. I like to explore, be creative, also digital marketing.
So, my first job started in a marketing agency, a kind of marketing consultancy, where I got into e-mail marketing, print marketing. Then I worked in an agency in London, kind of more for specific display marketing.
Then, when I moved to Amsterdam, I worked for ABN AMRO, a prominent Dutch bank. That was super interesting, and now I met Nike.

Sophia:
Wow. Lots of experiences. That’s cool. The whole world knows Nike, and maybe you could share just what is working for you at this company means?

Viktoria:
Yes, as I already said at the beginning, in my house, I like sports. So, for me to work for a sports brand, it’s fantastic. And I grew up with campaigns and communication from Nike. So, I always looked up to the Nike athletes, and the movements from Nike are super motivational, like we tried to motivate everyone to do it. So, everyone can achieve something if they believe in themselves, and everything is kind of possible.

How could you formulate the concept of affiliate marketing?

Sophia:
If you had to formulate what affiliate marketing is, how could you describe that?

Viktoria:
Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate can be a person or a publisher, earns a commission for advertising products, campaigns, retail moments, or even services on blogs, web pages, Instagram, social media. And like, really put, affiliate marketing involves referring products or services. Of course, by sharing it online, like most digital, there’s also kind of a link between offline and online marketing that comes into place, but this is already a bit more detailed.
But, basically, the affiliate earns a commission every time someone makes a purchase. And this is all tracked with unique tracking links to measure the performance and see how effective the campaign’s work is.

Where should I start if I decide to become an affiliate marketer?

Sophia:
Let’s say if I decide to become an affiliate marketer, what do you have to do? Where do I start?

Viktoria:
So basically, if you want to become an affiliate marketer, there are two things you need to be passionate about or consider.
First of all, data. So, we work with many data on a day-to-day basis. Because we need to analyze how the campaigns are going? Where is the traffic going? What are the partners in the end promoting?
And on the other hand, creativity. And because, in the end, give guidelines to the partners on how they should promote the brand because of course you can’t like you still need to be represented in a good way, and it all needs to be in line with the brand values.

What are the most efficient strategies in affiliate marketing?

Sophia:
How to increase sales, for example, for a company but using specific strategies of affiliate marketing.

Viktoria:
One of the main things is, of course, to be aligned and authentic to the kind of business, to the values of the business, of the brand, because you need to be accurate to the audience.
Then it would help if you also had a good mix between commercial and content partners. So, I can explain a little more about what types of affiliates there are to come back to this strategy.
So basically, they’re like kind of two leavers of affiliate types. So, we have first content, which are partners that create their content, meaning they produce, for example, informative articles or they make assets, like meaning high-quality images.
So, examples of that kind of affiliates can be influencers, like editorial magazines, bloggers, YouTubers. And then, on the other side, we also have commercial partners. And those focus more on scaling promotions, kind of membership signups, and increasing the basket value. And examples of that affiliate are more like shopping portals, incentive partners, reward partners. And those commercial partners, most of the time, use official creatives that, like a brand, provide them or product images are taken from the website. So, in contrast, really content affiliates produce their content.
So, of course, those different types of affiliates also influence other parts of the consumer journey. So, content affiliates are more used for the consideration and awareness phase. So more upper-funnel, whereas the commercial interest is held to influence a decision, it’s more the lower funnel in the consumer journey.
So, coming back now to the strategy, a brand needs to mix those two. So, the whole consumer journey is kind of covered, there’s this awareness, but then it’s also pushed to make the sale through those commercial partners.

How does the payment model work for affiliate marketing?

Sophia:
Because sometimes, I remember swimming. When you swim, like there’s nothing else you see, except for swimming. And it’s good when there’s this coach who runs next to you and tells you.
Another thing that, while I was also interested in learning how this payment model works for affiliate marketing, even when I would receive those messages, were becoming like the face of the brand, you think. And how do they track? So, how does this payment model work out of the way in your professional case or any other case?

Viktoria:
In affiliate marketing, we use commission when the partners achieve preset goals.
And in the affiliate world, it’s pervasive to be paid by either CPA, which is a cost per acquisition, kind of cost per sale, or CPC cost per click. And, of course, the commission rate depends highly on the partner. So, there are also differences between our commercial partners and content partners. And it also depends on the contract with the partner. So, what did you agree on in the first place?
And of course, there are also times when you need to pay a fixed fee to the partner to get more than usual. So, for example, they need to, if we look at content partners, if they need to rent a shooting location or work with models, then sometimes the CPA will not do it, and there needs to be an additional fixed fee.
Also, especially in big retail moments, like Cyber Week or Black Friday, everyone wants to be on top and like the biggest, the best. This is also a time where a lot of times fixed fee gets involved.

Does affiliate marketing differ from region to region?

Sophia:
I’m wondering if affiliate marketing can differ from the different regions because you work for the EMEA region, and do you see changes in differences as indifferent contrasts?

Viktoria:
I mean, of course, because it is always important to look at local trends. After all, working in one country might not be working in another country, especially in EMEA. This is because there are so many cultural differences between the countries.
So, a brand needs to be careful what they do in specific countries because there are also many legal regulations. So, in the end, it differs from country to country. So, this all needs to be taken into consideration. And like a simple example is, also now during COVID. So, if we look, some countries were fully open in terms of like; they didn’t have a lockdown, whereas others had a complete strict lockdown.
So, if a brand would post a lot of outdoor content and content on festivals in groups in a country that is in lockdown, of course, it wouldn’t resonate with the people in the country.

Sophia:
I remember those studies at the university when we would. But, still, I think it was a little bit stereotypical, stereotypically, like saying that this country does this, this country does that. But then when it comes to the real world, I don’t know, you have to be careful about choosing the right words, giving the right topic, just understanding the culture and people’s mentality. It’s such an art.

Viktoria:
I mean, of course, the core states from university, like what we learn there, it is true, like, every country has different values and has a different mentality. A different culture and a brand or a company need to be irrespective of that. So, they need to find a way to communicate around those, or in this kind of language, in this cultural language.

How should beginners in affiliate marketing build their strategies?

Sophia:
Maybe one of the last questions about affiliate marketing is because you work for a big company. What if, let’s say, I’m a representative of a small company that is just starting to emerge on the market. What could you recommend? What do I do with my affiliate marketing strategies? How do I build it?

Viktoria:
I think one of the main things is authenticity. So, you should work with partners that are authentic to your brand, service, or business. And that reflects the values that you as a company have. Because again, you can’t work with or you can’t have a, let’s say, vegan product, and then work with someone that eats meat every day, it would not work, and it would not resonate with the audience you want to target in the end.
Then at the same time, be bold, be creative with the campaigns, and also with kind of the platforms you use, because again, there are so many businesses out there that are using affiliate marketing, there’s so many in available products out there, you kind of need to stand out from them. So, find a way to have this, let’s say stand-alone, you know, a position that people will remember you as a similar brand or the brand’s product.
And another thing is, as we mentioned before, have good relationships with your partners you work with because this is key. In the end, it helps you also a lot with negotiations with them if you have a good relationship, and also be selective for those partners. So, don’t go for like the quantity but more for the quality. Because in the end, those partners can be spokespersons for the brand. And they must do this in the right way.
And again, like it always goes back to data. But everything you do, you need to use the data to draw the conclusions and determine if what you were doing is correct and if the KPIs you set before are met.

What advice would you give to a person who wants to become an affiliate marketer?

Sophia:
That’s excellent advice, especially I bet the startups who would be listening to us, that something they will write down. Maybe you could list a couple of advantages, like the key points that could work, that could advise a person to choose this position of becoming an affiliate marketer.

Viktoria:
So what I like about affiliate marketing is that you have the mix of working a lot with data. So, someone needs to be data-driven. But at the same time, you can be creative and influence the content your kind of partner affiliates are creating.
Um, and again, it has a lot to do with relationship management. So, you work with a lot of different kinds of stakeholders. So, it’s versatile; you are tapping into different parts of marketing in the end. Even though you work in performance marketing, with a lot of the time being only data-driven, you can be creative, which in affiliate marketing is not valid. Like there are so many opportunities for you, and significantly since it’s growing so much.
So, if someone really wants to have this performance marketing data-driven approach, but with also a link to more traditional marketing of being creative, creating like content, content marketing, then affiliate marketing is the right, right choice or a good starting point to look at.

Working with numbers

Sophia:
It sounds inspiring. If I decided to change my position one day, I believe affiliate marketing could be a perfect option as creativeness is cool.
And with numbers, what, what I have seen, honestly, people, when they think about numbers, they think it’s something dull and hard. But honestly, numbers are fun, mainly when you use that properly because it gives you a base for the right decisions in the future, which is fantastic.

Viktoria:
Exactly. And especially what is fascinating is that you can conclude from your numbers, apply it, and immediately see the result.

What can you recommend in terms of reading?

Sophia:
Exactly. Usually, we always ask our speakers what they recommend in reading. Maybe there’s some book that you could recommend to our listeners; it doesn’t have to be professional-oriented; it can be anything.

Viktoria:
I need to recommend is “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight. I don’t know if you ever heard of it. But it’s a memoir by the co-founder, Phil Knight of Nike. So, it highlights Nike’s early struggles and evolution, and it is a great read. It reads like a story, not really like a business guidance book. And I would say it’s a must-read for everyone in business, especially for those who want to start a business or grow their business. So, this is definitely, everyone should have read this. And I’m not only saying this because I work for Nike.
Um, and then yet another more on the fiction side novel that I read recently, and it kind of kept me. I kept it in memory is “Queenie” by Candice Carty-Williams. So, again, it’s a fiction book, and it seems like an easy read when you start reading. But it’s eye-opening, and it goes intense. So, it does have kind of the “Black Lives Matter” movement. And it follows a Jamaican girl around that has some problems and struggles with her life. But in the end, kind of the key takeaway of the book is that awareness and hope in daily life are beautiful gifts, and we should cherish that.
Those would be like my two recommendations. One more on the business side, the other more on the fiction side.

Sophia:
Oh, cool. Thank you so much for today’s meeting. And, that was interesting to learn more about you and about what you do.

Viktoria:
Definitely. No worries. Thanks.Bye.

Sophia:
Bye.

Article by:
CEO Andrew Chornyy

CEO Plerdy — expert in SEO&CRO with over 11 years of experience.

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