The Power of Affiliate - Engaging with Consumers
The affiliate marketing channel, with its unique, high performance online publishers, has the power to influence and connect with the new consumer at critical points in their decision journey.
Once a consumer decides they are in need of a product or service, they start with a short list of options based on initial brand awareness. TV, radio, print, word-of-mouth, online display advertising, social media and affiliate all play an ongoing role in shaping a consumer's awareness of their brand options.
Due to the influx of marketing noise we all experience, getting through the wilderness can be challenging. Connecting with potential customers during the next phase of their journey – Evaluation – has become more important than ever.
The affiliate channel powers a variety of powerful publisher websites that provide relevant, compelling information to the consumer as they evaluate their brand options and add new ones.
For example, search engine and shopping comparison publishers let users cross-shop countless products and services all in one place. They are a key destination for consumers who now desire more control over how they interact with and learn about products. The influence of content & community publishers, a.k.a. the blogosphere, is also on the rise. When a trusted blogger makes a recommendation, their readers listen and often convert.
The affiliate marketing channel is well known for its ability to close the deal – it drives the highest conversion rates of any channel, as well as higher average order sizes. But more than that, affiliate marketing is uniquely aligned with today's consumer focus on value.
At a time when 55% of shoppers say they always check for deals before making a purchase***, online publishers are more critical than ever. Shopping, vouchers and discount publishers, who are committed to creating the most comprehensive and organised collections of vouchers, promotions, and sales, help bargain shoppers find an ideal combination of savings opportunities at the critical point of conversion.
4. Post Conversion
Each time a consumer interacts with a brand's product or service and compares the experience with friends in their social network, they continue to build expectations that impact their loyalty. In rare instances, the post conversion experience is so powerful that a brand is able to produce a lifetime of conversions from a customer. However, more often than not, the next purchase catalyst will trigger another decision journey for the consumer and another marketing battle for consumer attention during their evaluation process.
*McKinsey & Company, 2009
** Forrester Consulting, 2012
5. Loyalty Loop
A hyper-competitive marketplace and the evolution of the internet as a limitless information source have dramatically impacted consumer buying behaviour and loyalty. Actively loyal customers, who not only stick with a brand but energetically recommend it, are especially valuable and increasingly rare. Only a handful of brands can truly command the consumer loyalty, bypassing the evaluation phase of the consumer journey and creating a lifetime of conversions.
Whether out of laziness or choice overload, most consumers today are passively loyal – despite repeat purchases, they remain open to alternative brands if given the right reasons to switch. In today's digital world, even the most widely-recognised industry leaders must win back the well-informed consumer after every single purchase.