Jun 04, 2024

Step Into The Future: Unveiling The Power Of Partnerships, Technology, And Expertise  

There's no way to know what's next for affiliate marketers, but some clear signs can help guide your way. At Affiliate Summit West 2024, the future of affiliate programs took center stage during a panel with leadership and chief executives from some of the most influential companies in the industry: All Inclusive Marketing,, CJ, Awin, Partnerize, and Rakuten. Their wide-ranging discussion covered key points ranging from the rise of influencers to the importance of artificial intelligence (AI).

Spreading the Word About Partnerships

One of the challenges of getting businesses to sign up for affiliate programs is knowing how to talk about them. The first step is to find the decision-makers who might differ based on the company's size and structure.

The person you talk to about partnership marketing could be a CMO, affiliate manager, or performance marketer. In some cases, senior-level marketers delegate their programs to junior team members, who must "manage up" and educate leadership.

Next, you'll need to elevate the story of partnership programs and explain their value, including diversity of reach, transparency, and growth. Presenting social proof and hard evidence, such as results from studies or surveys, can strengthen that argument.

Exploring the Role of Influencers

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people were searching for more social interaction, dramatically accelerating the convergence of affiliate and influencer marketing. While that overlap is still playing out, educating everyone involved in these programs offers an excellent opportunity for growth. For instance, brands often don't understand the difference between performance and branding influencers, who can uniquely serve their needs.

Influencers themselves may not realize the options available to them. They're often paid differently than affiliates and are unaware of the potential for hybrid payment models. Creating a partnership model that offers influencers similar longevity, payment structures, and passive revenue as traditional affiliate programs increases the value of the partnership for everyone.

Leveraging Technology Advancements

Changing technology is making an enormous impact on affiliate marketing. Specifically, the panelists expect to see continued advances in commissioning and attribution, which help with the buyer journey. They also predict that emerging technologies will encourage new entrants into the space, including customers as micro-influencers.

AI tops the technology list because it can collect, analyze, and give information so quickly. The panelists recommend looking at AI as a tool to facilitate better work, not a first-line solution. AI can be an excellent enabler for marketers, automating simple but time-consuming tasks, helping with brainstorming, and combatting fraud.

On the flip side, AI will also contribute to higher levels of fraud and could cause compliance issues. Taking those issues seriously and using AI wisely will put you in a good position to build a bright future.

Reaching the C-Suite

Marketing professionals who want to grow their careers have a lot of hard work ahead. Making it into the marketing c-suite takes time, but the panelists have some advice to help you get there.

Keep Up in an Evolving Industry

Advancing your career doesn't happen overnight, and not everyone can reach the C-suite level. Some of the panelists' specific recommendations for success include:

  • Focusing on the consumer journey

  • Taking advantage of thought leadership and educational opportunities

  • Doing your research and share insights with others

  • Participating in working groups

  • Promoting greater visibility for the channel

  • Creating networks and collaborating—even with your competitors

  • Taking a 360-degree approach to marketing and understanding all channels

As you learn and grow, remember that you'll need grit and resilience to power through the challenges you'll encounter.

Embrace C-Suite Priorities

Adopting a particular mindset can also help you excel in affiliate marketing. For starters, take an empathetic approach to the people you work with, from colleagues to partners. In addition, exercise extreme ownership, taking full responsibility for your team and the outcomes of your work.

When possible, look for win-win-win scenarios that provide positive results for everyone involved. That means thinking beyond your own team to the entire organization and, most importantly, the customer. Take a customer-centric approach by considering their voice, what they want, and their pain points. Once you understand their perspective, you can offer the solution they need.

Looking Forward

Ready to skyrocket your affiliate marketing success? Discover the secrets to unstoppable profitability at Affiliate Summit West! Learn how to create offers affiliates can’t resist, forge powerful relationships, and master data-driven strategies that deliver results. Don’t miss out—grab your tickets now and transform your affiliate program into a profit machine. Visit our website today to secure your spot at the next Affiliate Summit event and unlock your full potential!