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September 25th, 2013, 11:27 AM #1Reasons why you should or NOT let the networks manage your program(s)
Following up on Gary's post here, please feel free to post your reasons why an affiliate network should or should not manage your program. If you are a network rep - how is your management different than those of your competitors?
Imho, here are some of the reasons why networks should not manage affiliate programs:
- - Some networks actively push to recruit non value add affiliates
- - No-one has more interest in running a clean profitable program & reducing duplicate/fraudulent orders than you do.
- - It's a conflict of interest regardless of payment structure
September 25th, 2013, 12:01 PM #2
In the other thread I posted opposition to networks managing affiliate programs. I'd now like to quantify and substantiate my reasons.
Many (but not all) affiliate networks that offer account managed options permit merchants/affiliate managers/agencies access to the contact details of their entire inventory of subscribing affiliates thereby negating the often quoted mantra that an affiliate network can draw upon their vast lists of affiliates on their system to enable any program under their management to be subject to targeted and tailored affiliate recruitment. For those networks that do not open their contacts to 3rd parties, most affiliate managers and certainly the agencies, already have access directly to the decision makers and top affiliates they are looking to recruit.
When outsourcing, an agency will usually assign a maximum of six and an average of four affiliate programs to an outsourced affiliate manager. This is in stark comparison to an affiliate network which will allocate generally by sector and given that some sectors number over 30 affiliate programs, that's an awful lot of programs for any network account manager to be responsible for.
Network account managers may throw the occasional (weekly) newsletter to merchants but they send the same newsletter out to all merchants, listing the latest possible exclusive arrangements available which the merchants then have to get in touch to find out more. This is the direct opposite of an outsourced agency run affiliate manager who pro-actively creates the offer tailored and exclusive for the client and does not send a blithe list of options but actively pursues potential marketing opportunities and moreover, puts together a tailored promotions schedule for each client, something a network account manager does not do at all.
A network account manager does not spend time on relationship building with the client, to anticipate every nuance of the client business and does not devote any time at all to understanding the clients business model. An affiliate manager outsourced digs deep into research in order to anticipate a clients needs and to pro-actively steer an affiliate program to work with other marketing channels. A network account manager is solely interested in their channel, an affiliate manager looks beyond their channel and responsibilities.
I could go on in a negative vein but let's have the networks come back with a riposte.
September 25th, 2013, 12:07 PM #3
We have acct reps and they are assigned around 10 merchants each. Reps are dedicated points of contact for merchants (as opposed to using our ticket system for support), and they generally facilitate intros and assist program mgrs with whatever they need.
But we also have a full managed service that's structured on a very competitive flat rate per month service fee. Each program manager gets assigned 4 accts, 10 hours/wk each.
We have around two dozen programs being managed in house now. The strong majority of those have advanced to the top tier of network sales volume. It's proven to be a very effective service offering. This is because our program managers...
- are experts on our integrated network mgt & publisher tools
- have a vested interest in growing programs at AvantLink
- have relationships with top performing publishers
- have greater insight on overall network metrics and trends
- follow our own Principles of Program Management without any distractions
I can't tell you how many times I have watched OPMs sign a merchant doing perfectly good business in our network, then right away launch them in 2 or 3 other networks. To make things worse, I have seen plenty of OPMs not even address de-duplication between network transactions with their clients when doing this... Hmmm I wonder why. That should be addressed first and foremost before opening their merchants in multiple networks.
And people wonder why we started offering a managed service.
Kush, To your points..
As far as pushing low-value publishers, they don't even qualify for AvantLink so there is no way to push them on our managed accounts.
Was not sure what you meant on your 2nd point. Of course "running a clean profitable program & reducing duplicate/fraudulent orders" is in our interest, and the merchant's interest. If there are fraud orders merchants have 30 days to reduce any transactions and they can choose from the following tags when posting reversals: Return, Fraud, Canceled, Adjustment.
(Note there is nor reversal option for "Duplicate")
My questions is: why would any network engage in shady practices to increase sales volume for their managed accounts? I know it goes on, but that makes zero sense to me from a business standpoint.
We qualify all merchant accounts. In other words we turn down business every day b/c we do not feel the merchant is ready to provide for a good Affiliate program for any number of reasons.
It's the same for managed accounts. If we're qualifying people to pay us a management fee, why on earth would we risk the business relationship with questionable tactics?
September 25th, 2013, 12:17 PM #4
Gary it's refreshing and reassuring to read you only assign four accounts per account manager on a managed account option. That is seriously good, reflects exactly what agencies limit to and above all ensures a more focused service to the client.
I'll post later when I have time with some more negatives but well done on being responsible regarding the number of managed accounts per account manager.
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