Communication Channel Breakdown – Major Affiliate Marketing Problem

Posted on1 CommentCategoriesAffiliate Program Management, General Discussion, Thoughts for Affiliates

1986 was a bad year. In January there was the space shuttle Challenger disaster. Do you remember that one? I turned 9 just the day before it happened, and even thought we were following it from behind the Iron Curtain, I still remember that day well. But did you know that “the incident was caused due to a broken communication channel between a contractor and the NASA administration” (more in Designing Stress Resistant Organizations: Computational Theorizing & Crisis Applications by Lin and Carley, p. 156, underlining mine)?

Three months after Challenger, my country “put ashes on her head” weeping harder than it has wept since the end of World War II. A catastrophic nuclear accident struck Chernobyl in April of 1986. But did you know that once again it was a broken down communication channel [I talked about it in this video] that prevented the Soviets from addressing the problem swiftly and efficiently (like the Japanese did it in Fukushima twenty-five years later).

Yet, twenty-six years after Challenger and Chernobyl, we are facing exactly the same problem in business — and especially in remote business, such as what most of affiliate marketing is based on. The communication channel ends up being broken down in so many places… If we go back to the above-quoted book by Zhiang Lin and Kathleen M. Carley, we’ll see that defining the term they wrote:

A communication channel breakdown is defined as occurring when one or more analysts are unable to report to a superior because the communication channel is unavailable. This can be thought of as a failure in the communication technology, or, as ignorance of the necessity of communication. (p. 49)

Putting the analysts-superiors verbiage aside, and looking at the core of what their saying, I can’t help but make parallels with what is happening around me causing tremendous damage in affiliate marketing contexts (from individual relationships to the overall success of an affiliate marketing campaign). Major platform support problems are rooted in the communication problems. An immense part of affiliate-affiliate manager problems are also revolving around communication (and not only when affiliate managers aren’t communicating, I must add! it happens both ways). Client-OPM relationships get broken down when there’s no or little, or low-quality communication… As I observe all these, I can’t help but wonder how come? Isn’t it so much more fruitful to base your business on a healthy communication channel; or maybe there still is “ignorance of the necessity of communication”?

I don’t know the answer; but there’s plenty of room for improvement, and as soon as I post this, I’m off to work on making my own communication (with affiliates, clients, employees, colleagues, etc) even more efficient — by setting expectations right and striving to exceed them; and by making every “communication technology” and channel (which are available to me) serve the purpose they are meant to serve by definition.

One thought on “Communication Channel Breakdown – Major Affiliate Marketing Problem

  1. Society’s greatest communication strength – the internet – is also its greatest weakness. There are dozens of ways to communicate with clients/partners/affiliates and even family members today but paradoxically, this also hinders our communication. Who, what, when, where and now “how” have become a kind of communication Rubiks Cube that needs to be solved before genuine, sincere communication can take place.
    Social media has complicated the communication puzzle further as we’re encouraged to go “wide” with our communication but not “deep”. 5,000 FB likes may look impressive but what’s the depth of communication taking place?
    My personal solution? Phone and email with just the slightest hint of text for emergencies…and the AM blog of course. 🙂

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