The partnership channel is growing, with data suggesting that business-to-consumer executive marketers plan to increase channel investment by 65% in 2021, according to Gartner. Today’s marketers comprehend the power of partnerships and understand how they shape ecommerce, all the while grateful that software exists to enable them to optimize growth.
But it wasn't always this way.
In fact, with many legacy affiliate providers, it still isn't this way. In an era that emphasizes getting that conversion click to happen yesterday, there's a lot to be desired. This is apparent in the ability to find, recruit, and nurture right-fit partnerships that bring the profitable growth that’s needed not only to survive, but to thrive.
It's always been Partnerize’s position that for the partnership channel to advance, and for every marketer to view it as imperative, partnership software must be designed for the marketer's short- and long-term needs.
To illustrate this philosophy from a software lens, key channel topics, including partner discovery, attribution, and workflow, all have an old approach, a new approach, and a vision for the future. And whenever you consider a vision, you need a fundamental understanding of the past.
When the affiliate channel debuted more than 20 years ago, affiliate networks were at the helm. They served the needs of marketers at the time, but there were inherent structural flaws that created obstacles in viewing and presenting data for marketers. Specifically, legacy solutions limited partner distribution to the confines of their own network. And their supply was largely dominated by last-click publishers, intentionally creating the only achievable opportunity for scale within the channel, which limited earning potential for other partners who did not live at that point.
Today, we have software that enables marketers to diversify their partners by tapping into existing relationships, as well as beyond those, to recruit and invite partners across all phases of the consumer journey, from first click to last.
Further, while last-click attribution models are still a common choice, it wasn’t long ago when they were the only choice. While last-click is still the norm, content partners and influencers are bringing incredible, measurable value to the channel thanks to advances in attribution and reward logic that help them earn the credit they deserve for their role in introducing consumers.
In the past, senior-level marketers were often hesitant to affiliate due to historical channel limitations, siloed data views on channel performance relative to the bigger mix, and channel reputation. Much of this hesitancy was also underpinned by a lack of understanding around the channel’s inherent value. Today, we're helping the partnerships category evolve, in part by championing services and education that enable marketers to handle execution in accordance with their needs—outsource, insource, or agency-led—so they are empowered to succeed on their own terms.
These progressions are only the beginning. Our vision for the future of partnership is crisp, focused, and full of opportunity. We pledge to continue championing the channel and proudly take ownership in shaping this future success.
Learn more about the value of partnerships on the Partnerize platform by visiting here.
—Maura Smith, CMO, Partnerize