Discussing the future of philanthropy, Seth Godin has said that for a proper understanding of the subject, it is important to realize “there isn’t just one reason why people are doing something”. He used an example of Starbucks vs Dunkin’ Donuts, where in case with the former people go to the coffee shop not just to get the caffeine they can get at home for much cheaper, but they do so for a whole number reasons (main one, of course, being a whole different experience of coffee-drinking than you have at home) “that don’t match” what the competitor “sets out to do for people”.
Godin’s statement goes hand in hand with what Fyodor Dostoyevsky pointed out over a century before the above-quote interview. Dostoyevsky wrote that “man never acts from a single motive” (italics mine).
There is a common misconception among affiliate program managers that the main need that affiliates have is the need for money. Such thinking leads to a one-sided approach to motivating affiliates (though cash bonuses, tiered commission increases, gifts, and other cash-based motivators). It is true of every individual — we do need money to buy food and provide for a comfortable living of our family — but it is a generalization that makes us forget that people also have other needs (e.g.: need for self-relization, job satisfaction, need to feel secure, to compete, to have a status, etc.) These needs become our drives and motives, and it is essential for affiliate program managers (and other types of managers too!) to understand that only a complex approach to every individual’s needs will result in a truly motivating approach. Very few people get motivated by cash only.