The very last Affiliate Summit West 2010 session that I have attended has been the “Creating Lasting Publisher & Advertiser Relationships” panel. It was a good and well-balanced panel — with three publishers (Offers.com, FatWallet, and Cashbaq) and two advertisers (Target.com and Overstock.com) participating. One thing that especially did my heart good was the emphasis on the fact that successful merchant-affiliate communication is always a two-way street.
Ryan Sorensen, the affiliate program manager from Overstock.com, stressed the importance of understanding that the manager-affiliate relationship is a two-way channel. Jillian McGary, the affiliate manager at Target.com, on the other hand, has illustrated the importance of communicating with every affiliate (however new or inexperienced). She told a story of a newbie affiliate that joined their affiliate program without any knowledge of the affiliate marketing industry, but through proper attention and training, they have grown into one of the top Target.com’s affiliates within 2.5 years.
If you are a merchant reading this, I hope you’re not just broadcasting to affiliates (be it through newsletters, Twitter, forums, or any other channels), but really valuing the two-way specifics of it.
I’ve also talked about this in my “5 Reasons to Choose One Affiliate Program Over the Other” post a few months back.