Market Leverage ranks as one of the networks which effectively uses its marketing and branding budget to devastating effect. By contrast, I work with several networks with great affiliates managers, and one corp comm/PR person who isn’t really empowered to do much and/or doesn’t have any real budget to work with.
As networks see affiliate acquisition as part of the affiliate management success formula, doubtless there’ll be more resources channeled towards building a quality affiliate base.
I appreciated Market Leverage’s Digital Media Relations specialist Debby Phillips arranging a discussion with Market Leverage’s founder and CEO Mike Jenkins.
Mike’s certainly savvier than the average network owner (who’s typically a successful affiliate marketer turned network owner). Conducting some research, I’ve found that Mike has been involved in the business management aspects for a number of pretty large listed firms too.
I especially like how he’s constructed a holistic business ecosystem under his PrecisionPlayMedia group – with 3 components – DigitalLeads (an in-house offer production/packaging subsidiary), Market Leverage (the CPA network arm) and InboxBeyond (an email publishing arm) – which is how the top tier CPA networks structure their business.
During the discussion, we also touched on, but haven’t fully resolved the issue of whether the community-building /relationship-building approaches of social marketing via blogs,video will eventually clash head-on with the current incarnation of affiliate marketing, with the mostly shorter emphasis on one-off lead acquisition payout.
It’ll also be interesting to track Market Leverage’s upcoming announcements in the next 2-3 months.
I just had a great discussion with Market Leverage founder and CEO Mike Jenkins about developments in the affiliate marketing industry.
Market Leverage is taking the lead when it comes to relationship building and branding with measures like it’s care package campaign to the top affiliate bloggers, and initiatives like Market Leverage TV. Kudos to Mike and his team for getting on the radar with innovative social marketing strategies.
In the course of our discussion, I was wondering — Will affiliate marketing come to blows with social marketing and social media?
From my discussion with affiliate managers, it seems that the majority of affiliate marketers are only interested in the one-time pay-per-lead or pay-per-sale commission structures. Ask them about revenue share or continuity (eg: subscription/membership) type payouts and they aren’t as keen.
With some bizop offers paying out $100-120 per lead or sale, this could trigger the “quick cash” impulse among some affiliates.
On the other hand, savvy merchants and advertisers would’ve grasped the subtleties of lead generation, building up an leads database and reselling the data or marketing offers to that database, and in many scenarios employing both techniques.
In this case, rev share, especially for a CPA-based network will be a moot point.
This is the business model for “affiliate marketing 1.0″ if you want to apply a label to it.
With social marketing and its technologies like video, social networking, blogging, forums, etc, the emphasis is on building the relationship, forming a community, focusing on the long-term – pretty much a complete opposite to “affiliate marketing 1.0″.
Sure you could just take the tech aspects of social media – the viral marketing, the video and audio which massively increase conversions and leave the relationship benefits at the door. But does that strip social marketing of some of its inherent benefits? Do merely become an updated version of “social engineering” as practised by Kevin Mitnick and others?
It’ll be interesting to see how these initiatives pan out.
Tune in to the Friday Podcast tomorrow to check out the interview with Market Leverage founder Mike Jenkins.
I was a little shocked a couple of weeks ago when I received a huge FedEx box in the mail. I’d been expecting some materials from my friend Jim Lillig, but this monster of a box arrived.
It was a bag of schwag from affiliate network Market Leverage. I thought it was pretty clever of them to suss out my mailing address from my domain whois info, and they’re one of the few merchants and networks I’ve worked with who’s taken the effort to courier a box of stuff all the way to Singapore (the shipment costs came up to about $70!).
Many networks and merchants use the tagline that customer service, relationship building is their priority (together with “highest payouts, most number of exclusive offers”, etc), but Market Leverage delivers on its promise.
There was a fair bit of research to compile a list of affiliate bloggers and send them the care packages, together with the t-shirt campaign that the Market Leverage team had been doing – which shows how marketing and promotion ingenuity can bring you massive leverage.
Market Leverage’s president Sal Guarino certainly has foresight in bringing Dina Riccobono and Debby Phillips (the woman formerly known as Debby Banning on board). Dina’s clocked up video product experience working with Next Entertainment (which produced The Bachelor/The Bachelorette/Are You Hot?) and doubtless was instrumental in putting the concept together for the network’s MarketLeverageTV broadcasts. Debby’s pretty established in the blogosphere and her relationships and social networking will help build up the buzz effect among the blogging community. (google around and you’ll see a couple of “I wish I got a schwag bag” blog posts…).
One person who’s happy with the care package I received is my daughter, Bianca.
Although she’s happy with the “Future Blogger” t-shirt, the Market Leverage teddy bear and the Dora the Explorer game for now, I believe she’s eyeing the Flip Ultra which also came in the care package.
Looking a little deeper in the Market Leverage offers available, I was particular keen on the exclusive offers which have a payout of $20 – $50 per lead or per sale – an area I typically focus on.
If you’re more focused on the zip/email submits with payouts ranging in the $1.20 – $2 range, there’re a number to choose from.
I’ve also had an opportunity to talk with my affiliate manager Erick Bright and it was encouraging to hear that similar to other top-tier networks, Market Leverage affiliate managers are contactable via IM, will give offer suggestions as you’re constructing your affiliate sites, and provide support as you’re launching new campaigns.
I’m listening to Geekcast ep 16 with guests Scott Jangro and Todd Crawford. Much funnier than the regular series (I think Lisa Picarille’s presence helps up the content quota on both Geekcast and Affiliate Thing). Perhaps it’s time to break the Geekcast into 2 separate sessions (1 content-driven with Lisa and/or a guest on) and a “frat boy” humor edition focused on Stadium Pal, Hand Teddys (sic?), Man-dles, being unable to pee in airplane toilets, etc. (language may be NSFW)
Sam talked about Todd’s new blog, be sure to check out Todd Talks. If you’re nice, you might even hear about his secret project…
This week also saw the launch of Sam’s new RedHatBlueHat political podcast. (and if you’re following the industry, political blogs are quite the money rakers…)
In other news, I’m getting blog consultants to work on the this blog and there’re a number of neat enhancements coming up. You’ll see the weird MySQL errors popping up when you post comments, but they do end up in the moderation queue. If you posted a comment and didn’t see it published, chances are you dropped a “nice post” or “come and look at my site -> [link to made for adsense or ebook opt-in page]. Your name makes it into the master blacklist of bloggers too…