Special Report: Affiliate Marketing
CS: How do you tier affiliates?
McAdams: Based on sales. We have four tiers based on the amount of sales they drive. We know we’ll have attrition in our top tiers, but we also want movement from our lower tiers into our top tiers. We run promotions to encourage that movement.
[We offer] different incentives for reaching sales goals. If you reach a certain goal, we’ll pay you more. We also put together a pretty comprehensive e-mail marketing campaign to help [affiliates] market to their customers or readers as well.
CS: Describe your contact strategy with your affiliates.
McAdams: We’re in contact with our top producers three times a week, and that involves a phone call. We e-mail everyone in our program at least twice a week. It’s usually a promotional newsletter. It shows them the new products we offer on a campaign basis. We run a new campaign every two weeks. Our creative is updated every two weeks to reflect those campaigns.
CS: There’s some debate as to how much marketing an affiliate should do to drive sales. Do you allow your affiliates to use your brand name in their own search engine marketing efforts?
McAdams: We do, but we cap the amount they can spend. They can bid only to a certain amount on a keyword, but we don’t restrict which words they can bid on. We have people on staff who measure and monitor. Our search engine marketing firm keeps an eye on those behaviors as well.
CS: What trends have you seen in the affiliate channel?
McAdams: Even after eight years, we’re still seeing growth. I believe there’s a lot of potential in affiliate marketing — if it’s managed well. There are a number of different affiliate models driving sales for Avon right now, such as comparison shopping sites, loyalty sites, blogs. We’re seeing each become more and more successful as we learn to manage them more effectively.