Affiliate Marketing Explained in 88 Words

Inspired by David Meerman Scott‘s older (but, nonetheless, genius) post on social media marketing, today I would like to take a stab at explaining affiliate marketing in just 88 words:

  • You can strive for visibility in search engines (Search Engine Marketing)
  • You can earn attention by creating engaging social content (Social Media Marketing)
  • You can bug your customer through email (Email Marketing)
  • You can market through mobile devices (Mobile Marketing)
  • You can buy text links or banners (Display Advertising)
  • You can employ traditional channels (PR, TV, radio, print)

Or you can embrace all of these by starting an Affiliate Marketing program, equipping independent marketers to promote you through all of the above and get compensated on performance basis.

I’ve defined affiliate marketing several times before, but besides the performance basis, it seems that never in my blog have I really underscored something I’ve talked about in my latest book — the fact that affiliate marketing is really not a marketing channel, or a type of marketing. On page 9 of my book you’ll read:

“It exists on the crossroads of all other types of online marketing… It is more appropriate to understand it as a special marketing context, the undergirding principle of which is its performance-based remunerating model. This model works with any time of marketing: display, contextual, video, social media, and other types of advertising, as well as search engine marketing (SEM), email marketing, and other methods. The only difference with the pre-affiliate model is that advertisers post-pay and do it for the actions of their choice, as opposed to pre-paying for the actions of the publisher’s choice.”

Note: in the above quote, advertisers = merchants, vendors, businesses, while publishers = affiliates [more here].

Only one thing must be corrected in the above quote — affiliate marketing now embraces not only the “online” marketing contexts, but also the offline ones (e.g.: radio/TV, print, direct mail, telephone marketing, etc).

1 thought on “Affiliate Marketing Explained in 88 Words”

  1. I’ve read your blog with a serious eye. Your article confirms my suspicion that there is a fleeting, philosophical structure to the business of affiliate marketing. This is no real problem, since I have been unemployed for over two years; making affiliate marketing my avenue to financial independence. And, knowing that only by living morally in all my actions can I call myself a true success!
    Yet, I am new to this business and since I will officially start my first marketing campaign next week, I have a new confidence in remaining a ethical man by reading your blogs.
    Keep up the Good Work
    Norman Stanback

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