Puma Affiliate Program Manager Doesn't Get It « Affiliate Marketing Blog by Geno Prussakov

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Affiliates of Puma.com who haven’t generated a sale in 2010 have just received an email from the program’s manager. Here’s an excerpt from it:

PUMA Affiliate Program Notice

I’ve checked my records, and it looks like I personally applied (and got approved) into this particular affiliate program 2 months and 1 week ago:

Puma affiliate program welcome email

Looking at the dates, it is clear that they’re giving me 4 full months to generate a sale, or I “may be removed” from the program.

One would’ve thought that after all that has been written about the ineffectiveness of affiliate manager ultimatums and get-active-or-we’ll-kick-you-out emails to affiliates, at least managers of the larger affiliate programs would’ve learned something. Alas! Apparently some still believe in motivation by threat (which never works!) and do not know what it is to genuinely care for “the little guy”.

Dear Puma affiliate program manager, read these articles. I hope they will help you rethink your strategy and become a better motivator than this.

About Geno Prussakov

CEO & Founder of AM Navigator – an award-winning OPM agency. Founder & Chair of Affiliate Management Days conference. Author of bestselling "A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing" (2007) and "Affiliate Program Management: An Hour a Day" (2011), speaker, consultant, and affiliate marketing evangelist.

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16 Responses to “Puma Affiliate Program Manager Doesn’t Get It”

  1. Joe Sousa says:

    That has got to be on the list of top 10 things an affiliate manager should never do.

    I don’t know how many programs I have signed up for and not gotten around to promoting for a year or so and then started generating sales. Sometimes it takes the affiliate time to get back to promoting a merchant.

    Puma will lose out on a lot of sales if they start terminating inactive affiliates. And does it really hurt them at all to have inactive affilaites?

    • Geno says:

      Exactly, Joe! Having inactive affiliates aboard any affiliate program doesn’t hurt the affiliate program. Terminating them for inactivity may do.

      I thank you for your comment. It is good to hear thoughts of an active affiliate that during any given period of time may be inactive in this or that affiliate program.

  2. Yikes! There are plenty of resourceful ways to activate publishers. As an affiliate manager, it can sometimes be challenging to get certain pubs up and running, but kicking them out of my program is a surefire way to lose their business forever. Affiliates are valuable business partners and relationships take time to develop but the reward of being patient and persistent are worth it!

    • Geno says:

      And now it’s certainly good to have an affiliate manager chiming into the conversation! Thank you, Chelsea. You’re right on the money: terminating an affiliate is a “surefire way to lose their business forever”. I could have not put it better.

  3. You should send that article to Comission Junction that do the same with their affiliates. If any affiliate is a long time without generating sales they will disable his account too.

    http://www.cj.com/psa.html
    6. Term, Termination, Deactivation and Notices.
    (c) Termination or Deactivation by CJ
    (ii) Your Account has not been logged into and/or there have been no Transactions credited to Your Account for any 30 day period

    • Geno says:

      Yes, I know about that practice, Daniel. My understanding is that they have their reasoning behind it, but I neither believe that this is fair that to affiliates, nor helping the network develop. But that (relationships between affiliate networks and affiliates) is a totally different subject.

  4. Heh definitely makes me glad I’m not a part of their program, and wouldn’t be after this.

  5. Bhuvan says:

    Absolutely, agree with Geno. The relationship between Affiliate and Affiliate Program and the relationship between Affiliate and Affiliate Network are two different aspect. Affiliate network have to generate a huge base of affiliates, specially active and good affiliates. They cannot afford inactivity among their affiliates, because that is the strength through which they hire different merchants in their network. However, threating them will never work. Today when Affiliate Networks are competing so aggressively, this is not the way to tackle your affiliates. I am actually shocked listening that Affiliate Manager for Puma affiliate program responded in this way. He should have rather made the bunch of those affiliate and run a campaign to provide them commission slabs to help them earn better and indirectly get better conversion from them.

  6. Leon says:

    Thank you for a great Blog and some superb posts. As a new Blogger on Affiliate Marketing, I know that I have a lot to learn, and who better to learn than from someone like yourself who has achieved so much? Your Blog is a true inspiration, and I have subscribed to your RSS in order to continue the learning from someone as passionate about Affiliate Blogging as yourself. My wish for 2011 is to have a mentor of your caliber to guide me to achieve my dreams of being a better Affiliate Marketer. Have a great day.

  7. Geno says:

    @Trisha: …and I understand you 100% here.

    @Bhuvan: Correct. There are plenty of better ways to motivate affiliates. Yet they’ve chosen the way that actually never works.

    @Leon: I appreciate those compliments and wish you the best of luck mastering affiliate marketing this year.

  8. Maranda says:

    Ultimatums never work with anyone. As a former affiliate manager, I know how difficult it can be to manage affiliate relationships when senior management for that company is adamant about increasing conversions and sales for a program.

    However, if affiliates are not performing, it’s a big mistake to threaten them. The first question should really be why they are not active: is there a personal issue going on that’s taken time away from their online marketing efforts, or do they have a new site that is not yet ready to be launched? The second question should be what can be done to help the affiliate to get started or improve their existing efforts?

    You never really know unless you ask.

  9. Bryan says:

    Geno,

    I experienced the same with the Reebok affiliate program (on CJ) earlier this year – of which I do not participate in anymore. I had actually sent them sales Xmas of ’09, but left my account dormant for a few months. As an affiliate manager myself, our strategy is to reach out to dormant publishers with a kind “Hey, we noticed you were not using our content but we would love to increase our partnership in some capacity” or a “is there any way we can work togther?”

    Why would you ever want to advertise Puma products after receiving an email like that?

    PS. Just read your latest FeedFront article and completely agree with the CCCP rule! Nice work as always!

  10. Geno says:

    @Maranda: You are making some excellent points there. I couldn’t agree more.

    @Bryan: Thank you for chiming in with great comments. And glad you liked my article on blogging (or any content publishing) in the latest FeedFront.

  11. [...] your affiliates better This is obvious and shouldn’t have to be a resolution, but based on one of Geno Prussakov’s recent blog post, it’s clearly a message that needs to be relayed again. Affiliates can be the most loyal [...]

  12. John says:

    This is the old used car manager tactics at work. When are people going to realize that they need to be thankful for all of the affiliates that believe in them enough to actually sign up for the program.
    We created our Cloud Computing affiliate program just last year and the first thing that I did was to examine what mistakes other cloud providers had made when they began their programs. I also make sure to supply the affiliates with the most generous terms in the industry. In short we appreciate and thank everyone who signs up for our program.

    John

  13. Interval says:

    Completely agree here! As a publisher for the past 10 + years…. in different industries, the best method to get my attention is CA$H.

    As an advertiser, if you are sending an email to promote your products/services…how about including a little cash incentive to the publisher for taking the time/effort to facilitate the advertisement.

    For a more long term agreement, the publisher and advertiser could also work out an arrangement beyond just an affiliate relationship. A combination of a flat rate + affiliate seems to be the best option. Don’t see enough of this in the industry or any of the major networks promoting this!!!

    In terms of guarantees, the publisher can simply guarantee exposure on their site…they cannot guarantee any amount of sales/leads/clicks/etc… If that exposure is worth it for the advertiser, the relationship succeeds.

    In regards to Puma, instead of taking a negative approach as they did, they should have sent an email offering a monetary reward to any of their affiliates that prominently display their ads. Something as low as a $5 reward could do wonders!

    Cheers,

    Interval.in – Bollywood Social Network

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