MIMA – Affiliate Marketing 101

Affiliate marketing used to increase purchases or even web traffic; however it has specific nuances that might not always be right for any business.

Some affiliates do practice Black Hat, but most are appropriate – the risk of trusting a brand to an unknown affiliate still exists.  Non-US affiliates might be even riskier; these affiliates might not be able to understand product/culture completely and not subject to US laws.

Who is a good candidate for affiliate marketing:

  • Simple product which is easy to understand
  •  B-to-B is possible, if the product or service can be explained concisely (small business web site is a good product for affiliate marketing, BMW or St. Jude Medical is not)
  • Dell is selling certain server software (quite expensive) via affiliates, and it is very successful (e-commerce function is needed)
  • Lead generation on affiliate network is not that effective

If the company is interested in affiliate marketing, the company needs:

  • Easy to understand e-commerce product
  • Sufficient amount of collateral (particular button-type creative)
  •  Understand costs (affiliate network include costs, commission should be as good as other merchants in the industry, or, ideally, better). Some companies forget to include some affiliate network costs
  •  Affiliate manager – a person who has time and knowledge to manage affiliates

Affiliate networks:

http://www.google.com/ads/affiliatenetwork/

http://www.amnavigator.com/

http://feedfront.com/  Official magazine of affiliate summit

For B-to-B smaller networks can be better – smaller networks also can educate marketers new to affiliate marketing.

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Mobile March 2012

Mobile March 2012 could probably be considered “Mobile June” as one of presenters joked. The weather outside was fit for a middle of the summer, and presentation showed the “hopeful future” of the mobile universe compared to the “current state” of emerging industry.

Mobile March is growing – it is probably time for me to come back to Mobile Twin Cities – a group organized by local mobile enthusiasts that combines business/marketers and developers.  Developers and marketers may not be a perfect mix…  though 2012 Mobile March keynote presentation is the testament that IT and Marketing could be remarkably on the same page.

The most inspiring presentation was the overview of Bally Total Fitness remarkable achievements by Guy Thier – the company’s CIO.  The presentation was absolutely remarkable!

Guy Thier is a CIO who’s presentation could be confused with a talk given by CMO or CEO.  He was the executive who started talking with other leaders of the company about innovation – and he started from the right questions.

  • Found that 10% of people coming to the web site were viewing the site on a mobile device and started thinking how company can react to the new environment
  • Created innovative culture in IT (what is remarkable – IT was targeting typical marketing/business objectives rather than concentrating on server stability, etc.)
  • IT works out of the club to be closer to customers, 20% of developer time is reserved for innovation, virtual IT allowed to save on equipment maintenance and office costs

Remarkable innovations (not only mobile) resulted from the approach. The goal was to find how to benefit the members – provide additional value through technology.  One of the innovations was an interactive wall showing members (and future members) how would they look after loosing weight, what increased number of people joining clubs (comparing to the number of people who joined clubs without this piece of equipment).

Purely mobile innovations included

  • All sales process can be executed on the iPad in the corner of the gym rather than in the sales person’s office
  • iPad app allows club personnel to see information on all members currently in the club
  • iPad app allowing maintenance crew to see what needs to be fixed (and employees/members to submit alerts on what needs to be fixed)
  • Mobile site with a clear purpose – give people instantly what they need the most – find a club and get a guest pass
  • QR code on equipment – to see a video of the equipment use
  • QR code on equipment to electronically track workout
  • Bally has a team (a team!! ) to monitor social media and react on any unfavorable comments.

Membership sales on iPads.

Guy’s recommendations:

  • Look for right partners – there is a huge difference in development firms in user experience – choose carefully.  Oh, Bally marketing is in luck!!  They don’t need to find technical vendors on their own… 😉
  • Observe the world around you
  • Use technology to amplify your relationship with customers

Lisa’s session was next…  Her session was devoted to data that marketers and business people can use to promote their company’s involvement into emerging mobile space.  Lisa was definitely as impressed with the keynote presentation as many of us in the audience – impressed enough to modify her own presentation to include an introductory slide with the idea replicated below:

Average decision maker in an average organization are more likely to fear technology than to embrace it.  However, there are a few point that can help:

  • Decision makers understand concept of the target audience (usually… or if the marketer is lucky 😉  )  – mobile audience is often perfect target audience for company’s products/services
  • Smart phone use in US at 53% of all mobile users
  • CPG companies are striving to add QR to the packaging (possible to change appropriate recipes based on the season, etc.) – this move will popularize QR for B-to-B and other organizations
  • Question: But…  could it be that QR, etc. are transitory?  Answer: Everything is transitory – if it is so cheap, use it as a paper towel and through away if does not work. However, do not “get in bed” with any particular technology…
  • 79% of online advertisers (not just companies – advertisers!! ) do not have mobile web sites
  • Mobile web site content…  You don’t need to serve a thanksgiving dinner (your regular site) if they are looking for a snack (mobile content)…  However, most companies “cooked” Thanksgiving dinner and attempt to serve it anyway.   Use specific content for mobile sites
  • Get shortnerd URL fit for your company
  • Research mobile SEO – it is different from regular online SEO

Dreaming about the future while enjoying lunch…

Mobile app legal compliance

Privacy should be “designed” into an app from the point of conception.

3 FTC mobile application settlements already has been announced.  Thought the amounts are not high – the offending companies are faced with requirement to provide information regarding similar activity for years (this can be costly to a business).

Personal information of children under 13 can not be collected (online businesses had to cope with this requirement for years).

What should be done:

  • truthful advertisement
  • important terms of the app need to be stated clearly
  • privacy lows have to be considered
You can do anything reasonable, but you need to have proper disclosure.
Long privacy statements required in the beginning of the app download can be intrusive.  Better – show the most important with the link to the rest. Provide a link on each app store listing with all policy, also on the app’s settings page. Make sure privacy policy is readable on the mobile device.
Privacy guidelines
  • be transparent about collecting and using user data
  • don’t access data you don’t need
  • give users control over data use
  • use good data security practices
  • when the data no longer needed – erase
.
In-app purchases: disclose and be reasonable. $99 for virtual fish is not reasonable. Do not use confusing pricing points $0.99, $99.99 etc.
Do not manipulate app ranking artificially.
.
Resources:
  • Live Front has a “mobile testing lab” that can be used by other companies.  Very helpful!  If a company is developing a mobile site in-house, it is a good idea to ask developers to take a trip and test it. Live Front had The New iPad (aka iPad 3) during the conference, and I must admit I was ashamed not to find too much difference in resolution…  Oh oh… I am still happy with the original iPad (aka iPad 1)  🙂
  • Adding .qr to Bit.ly should produce an instant QR code
  • Gallery of mobile web designs http://www.mobileawesomeness.com/
  • Mobile usage personas (the study and application did not seem to change from the first time I saw it on Mobile March two years ago – still good resource!  Though I wonder how the segmentation changed (if it changed only in percentage in each category, or in categories too).  The white paper (right) explains the methodology that can be applied to define appropriate target audience.       Targeting Mavericks is difficult – their expectations are high…

Creative Commons resources, etc.

A couple of wire-frames from Gage

Notes/Thoughts:

  • Data is cheap…  but data analysis is not
  • Mobile – it is not only a phone; it is a wide array of services, which have to have utility
  • Engineering liaison should not be a capable developer…  if it is the case, this person will be coding during the crunch time and won’t be doing his/her job of connecting departments and explaining possibilities (from Breon’s presentation).   Completely agree – even as a marketer with HTML/Photoshop, I found myself coding during the crunch times…  and have known people who were hiding skills or not learning software for this reason…  My guess, companies are loosing when employees are forced to take roles with less proficiency.
  • B-to-B: Boston Scientific – bought all reps tablets and created an app for sales with 3D imaging, etc.
  • QR are not a prevalent, but can give a boost to a promotion.
  • SMS programs become more effective when QR code is available.
  • Snap tag…  Is snap tag better than QR?  (I doubt it…)  However, the data indicates that more people will be texting if snap tag is present…
  • No need to worry about branding in apps
  • Transmedia (term 🙂 ) – multi-platform approach
  • Task analysis (term 🙂 )  – a list of everything people do on the web site or phone
  • Gamification (do not allow people to “lose” – do not punish employees if they are not participating in the organization-supported activities.
  • Enable user broadcasting automatically, if possible within the mobile experience.

All session resources http://mobilemarchtc.com/session-resources/

Great conference!!  Delicious food!  Oh, yes, below is the picture of the dessert – nope, I did not eat it, just took a picture 🙂