Affiliate Nerd Out

The future of affiliate marketing. Is it what you think?

November 08, 2023 Dustin Howes Season 1 Episode 38
The future of affiliate marketing. Is it what you think?
Affiliate Nerd Out
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Affiliate Nerd Out
The future of affiliate marketing. Is it what you think?
Nov 08, 2023 Season 1 Episode 38
Dustin Howes

What if you could unlock the secrets of affiliate marketing from one of the industry's experts? Join me as I sit down with Sarah Bundy, the CEO of Aim All-Inclusive Marketing, who has not only blossomed in the affiliate marketing industry for two decades but also established a successful agency from scratch. Sarah uncovers her unique journey and her decision to globe-trot before jumping headfirst into creating an all-inclusive marketing package that provides a top-notch experience for her clients. She also illuminates why diversity and equality are crucial for any business, and how they have been the cornerstone of her agency. 

Let's face it, the impact of affiliate marketing on the economy has been enormous, especially during the current COVID era. Sarah shares her thought-provoking perspective on how some companies have turned the tide of the pandemic to their advantage by pivoting to B2B lead generation and affiliate marketing. Sarah's experience sheds light on the burgeoning trend of hybrid partnerships and influencer monetization, accentuating the long-term benefits and the essence of creating content with longevity. 

As we wrap up our captivating conversation, Sarah offers a glimpse into the future of affiliate marketing, touching upon the critical aspects of affiliate tracking, customer experience, and data tracking. She impresses upon the challenges of delivering personalized customer experiences in the absence of third-party cookies and the potential opportunities with first-party data collection. Sarah's insights about the increasing popularity of post-back tracking and what it signifies for the future of the affiliate space are sure to leave you pondering. Tune in for an enlightening conversation that promises to guide you through the labyrinth of affiliate marketing!

Publisher out there, go check out their easy javascript functions on WordPress sites. It works like magic to add up to date CTAs within your blog posts. Go see it for yourself at dustinhowes.com/acom

This is a tool all publishers out there need to be utilizing, go to dustinhowes.com/nuc for a 1-month free trial and a demo of the product. Please use my link to enable my content making addition. Dustinhowes.com/nuc

For more tips on how to scale your affiliate program, check out https://performancemarketingmanager.com

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What if you could unlock the secrets of affiliate marketing from one of the industry's experts? Join me as I sit down with Sarah Bundy, the CEO of Aim All-Inclusive Marketing, who has not only blossomed in the affiliate marketing industry for two decades but also established a successful agency from scratch. Sarah uncovers her unique journey and her decision to globe-trot before jumping headfirst into creating an all-inclusive marketing package that provides a top-notch experience for her clients. She also illuminates why diversity and equality are crucial for any business, and how they have been the cornerstone of her agency. 

Let's face it, the impact of affiliate marketing on the economy has been enormous, especially during the current COVID era. Sarah shares her thought-provoking perspective on how some companies have turned the tide of the pandemic to their advantage by pivoting to B2B lead generation and affiliate marketing. Sarah's experience sheds light on the burgeoning trend of hybrid partnerships and influencer monetization, accentuating the long-term benefits and the essence of creating content with longevity. 

As we wrap up our captivating conversation, Sarah offers a glimpse into the future of affiliate marketing, touching upon the critical aspects of affiliate tracking, customer experience, and data tracking. She impresses upon the challenges of delivering personalized customer experiences in the absence of third-party cookies and the potential opportunities with first-party data collection. Sarah's insights about the increasing popularity of post-back tracking and what it signifies for the future of the affiliate space are sure to leave you pondering. Tune in for an enlightening conversation that promises to guide you through the labyrinth of affiliate marketing!

Publisher out there, go check out their easy javascript functions on WordPress sites. It works like magic to add up to date CTAs within your blog posts. Go see it for yourself at dustinhowes.com/acom

This is a tool all publishers out there need to be utilizing, go to dustinhowes.com/nuc for a 1-month free trial and a demo of the product. Please use my link to enable my content making addition. Dustinhowes.com/nuc

For more tips on how to scale your affiliate program, check out https://performancemarketingmanager.com

Dustin Howes:

Hey folks, welcome to affiliate nerd out. I am your nerderator, dustin howes. Spread that good word about affiliate marketing. You're gonna find me here every Tuesday and Thursday at 12 15 on LinkedIn live and on YouTube live, so please smash that subscribe button and help support this channel out. My nerd guest of the day is Sarah Bundy, an old friend in the industry, owner and founder and CEO of Aim all-inclusive marketing. Sarah, welcome to the nerd tutorial.

Sarah Bundy:

Thank you for having me. I've been excited to join the nerd club for a while.

Dustin Howes:

Well, I mean, technically, this is your second time. You're, you know the two-timer club here Lucille to Nick Marquesi and Kristin Evans.

Sarah Bundy:

This is the sublete class up here right on for sort of the OG's and OEI suppose. Hey, Absolutely.

Dustin Howes:

You have been such an inspiration to my affiliate career and I am just so honored to have you today. You're always Supporting everybody and always a smile on your face, and so glad to have you on today.

Sarah Bundy:

Thank you, I appreciate it, that's awesome.

Dustin Howes:

We're gonna have some live Q&A. So if you have any questions for Sarah, uh well, myself, drop them in the chat. Our big question of the day is gonna be all around the future of affiliate marketing. You'd love your opinions. What do you think the future holds for affiliates? Drop it in the chat. I'm going to drop that question in the chat so everybody can join in and Into this conversation, but without further ado. Here, sarah, who are you?

Sarah Bundy:

Nice to meet you all. I'm Sarah Bundy. I'm the founder and CEO of all inclusive marketing. Uh. For those of you who have not heard of us or heard of me, I've been in the affiliate marketing industry for two decades now, so Once we hit January, it'll be literally 20 years. We started all inclusive marketing back in 2009. Uh, we started as a full-service affiliate and digital marketing Uh company, which I can explain a little bit of details on. But uh, today we are A company that focuses exclusively in affiliate strategy consultation and management and we help clients in the b2c and b2b world scale, their partnership programs and their revenue all around the world.

Dustin Howes:

Beautiful and uh, he said you were. You're closing in on 20 years now. Um, what is? Is that journey been consistent through affiliates or have you taken breaks where? What else has happened in your life that that is notable.

Sarah Bundy:

Yeah, so, and that's actually okay.

Sarah Bundy:

That's a good question and, yes, I did take a break. I had to think about that for a second. I started the industry uh in 2004, beginning in 2004 right out of college. Um. I ended up working for a company called clearly so at the time it was coastal contacts and it transitioned into clearly, which became one of canada's uh best success stories. Um. I was fortunate enough to be one of the first employees there.

Sarah Bundy:

Uh did really well as a sales manager and then ended up being invited to run the online sales team, who all worked on the commission basis, who happened to all be affiliates, and I didn't know what it was at the time and I said, of course, I'll help. So I got thrown in and I learned all about affiliate marketing on my own Um, and I did fall in love with it back then immediately, because it was this awesome blend of relationships, of strategy, of data, of creativity and Um. You know, meeting people. I like networking, I'm an extrovert Um and I just found people to be really creative and cool and I learned so much and today, 20 years later, I'm still learning so much uh, and all of those things for me still hold true. So Uh fell in love with the industry.

Sarah Bundy:

Uh, worked in house as the affiliate manager for three years and then my husband and I were starting to talk about having kids and we said, you know, before we have kids, maybe we want. We want to travel a little bit. So we decided to quit our jobs and sell everything we owned and backpack around the world for a year, and so we did so. We, we just spent three months in Africa and we spent three months in europe and we spent a whole bunch of time in australia and then we did some parts of north america, um, and had the time of our lives and came back super duper, broke, but very happy with lots of memories, um, and when we came back, I actually ended up getting into agency life because when we were traveling, one of the guys who is working with me at clearly in the marketing team, on the marketing team, his specialty was seo and paid search and, and, uh, email marketing he said, hey, when you come back while we were traveling, he said, hey, when you come back, let's start an agency together. I said thank you, but no, thank you, I am not interested in doing that. And, uh, he was very persistent and three times he contacted me while I was on the road and he said look like there's a huge opportunity, our collective expertise out there. There's not a lot of agencies who, especially as affiliate marketing you're three years into it in a pretty new industry, like I don't know how to do what you do so I actually wrote a, a business plan.

Sarah Bundy:

I did the research and wrote a business plan while I was in africa actually, and uh, realized that there was a need for affiliate marketing expertise, um, for brands who were trying to figure it out on their own. And there were not a lot of affiliate managers in the space yet and I think at the time there were only like six or seven affiliate management agencies. Now there's a lot more clearly. But I was like, okay, well, let's give it a try. I had, you know, not committed to anything when I had come back. So we did, we started that company and then about 15 months into it, at this point, ian and I had decided to have a family.

Sarah Bundy:

So six months pregnant, you know, a few months into this particular company, and I realized that he and I were not value aligned at all and skipping some of the the more difficult conversations and more difficult parts of that. It ended up being so much disagreement and contradiction of values and strategic approach that, at six months pregnant, I started getting like really exasperated, and this one particular week I ended up in the emergency three times and the doctor on the third time in the same week he said look, you're either going to lose your business or your baby, so just pick one. And so the next day I sold the company down for a dollar and I walked away and I started all inclusive marketing again from scratch. Or I should say again, I started all inclusive marketing from scratch by myself, with my husband. You know, beside Ian Bendy is my husband and the other co-founder of AIM and, yeah, built that back up from nothing while I was pregnant and had a baby or like crawling around, yeah.

Sarah Bundy:

So that's basically the one year that I took off was when we backfired around the world and since then I've been hustling hard and grinding every day and I think last summer we took two months off and that's the longest time that we were able to take off since then. But getting more time back and I can fill in more blanks. I see we have some guests, so hi, everybody.

Dustin Howes:

Awesome. What a journey that you've been on. Fell into marketing and fell in love with it because it works with your brain. It challenged you, just like many of the folks that are still in this industry today. If you want to get a hold of Sarah, I'm going to drop her link in the chat and the question that day is in there. If you'd like to be in Sarah's seat, go to dustinhowes. com/ nerd and join me on affiliate. Nerd out, I'm always taking on new guests. So all inclusive. How did you make that? You know what? Let's jump in this chat and say hi to everybody. Is this still on? Absolutely, this is on. Yes, we are here. Drop a question, drop a, drop a hello. What's up, abe, how are you? Thanks for joining us. All right, so let's talk about the origin story of all inclusive marketing. How did this name come about? And we heard the back story on, like how it got created.

Sarah Bundy:

Right. Where did the name come from? Why the brand Exactly.

Sarah Bundy:

Well, this is sort of an interesting curveball, because before I got into affiliate marketing I actually worked as a travel agent for a year. So when I was doing that, ironically my mom phoned me last week and she said hey, sarah, I found a box in our garage that's like 25 years old and it has a bunch of your stuff in it. I was like, oh, that's cool, I'll take a look and see what's in it. And one of the things that was in it was this stack of customer reviews that back then people would write in and send by mail to head office to say this person did a really great job.

Sarah Bundy:

Anyway, so at the time I'd won a bunch of awards for customer excellence and sales excellence and just taking really great care of the clientele that was at this travel agency, and one of the things that I would sell a ton of was all inclusive packages to very luxurious places that were all five stars, where people were immaculately taken care of, they'd pay one price and just everything was taken care of. They didn't have to worry about a thing. They could kick their feet up and everything was just taken care of for them and they didn't have to worry about anything. So when we had started AIM and I was thinking about what kind of an experience do I want my clientele to have at AIM, I wanted it to be this like five star, immaculately taken care of. You can kick your feet up, know that you're going to be, you know trust, you can trust us and we've got your back and anything that you could possibly need we will make sure is at your fingertips and just you don't have to worry. So I thought about this all inclusive piece, which stem then further into two other pieces. One was is there an opportunity to provide everything that you would need in digital marketing? So in the beginning, we actually started by also providing SEO, digital strategy, paid search, social.

Sarah Bundy:

There was a lot that was going on in the beginning because, again, this all inclusive package, you will take care of it all for you. And then I'm a very, very I feel strongly about things like diversity and equality and I wanted to aim to be a place where everybody felt welcome, safe, loved, cared for, regardless of background, regardless of anything. No variable really mattered to me. As long as you're a good person, cool, right. So we wanted to create an all-inclusive place to work, an all-inclusive place where people felt that they could belong, and that was another piece of it. So all-inclusive marketing became the brand, because it was a one-stop-shop to solve all your problems. It was this immaculate care of you. Don't have to worry about a thing. We've got you, and it was. Everybody here is welcome and we'll make sure that you're loved and cared for.

Dustin Howes:

Fantastic and you guys have made an incredible name for yourself over the years. You have a fantastic track record and people say great things about you in this industry and I'm really interested in that concept of I'd like to get into who you're servicing today. But your origin story starting off with all things digital and doing SEO and everything beyond why do agencies go down that route of more than just one channel and not focus on affiliate?

Sarah Bundy:

Yeah, I think it's a couple of folds. So one is it gives them an opportunity to cross-sell and upsell more things, so revenue opportunity for themselves to grow. On the flip side of that is solving clients problems in one place. So it allows brands and clients to come and not have to sign lots of different contracts, work with lots of different vendors. So from a convenience and efficiency standpoint it's kind of a nice thing for a lot of brands to be able to just have this one team that can sort of facilitate everything in one contract to sign.

Sarah Bundy:

Now, that said, we did that for a while and we realized over time that we didn't want to scale excellence in all of those areas because we couldn't guarantee excellence in all of those areas. My personal background is not in email, it is not in SEO, it is not in paid search and as the leader of the company I couldn't put my name behind something that I didn't know with 100% certainty was exceptional, the exception of affiliate marketing. So we removed those areas of our business because we didn't want to be mediocre at anything. We wanted to be exceptional at something and we knew that would be the affiliate side of the business. So we focused on that as our core competency and it's paid off 10-fold.

Dustin Howes:

Perfect. So you guys started here and then scaled back. We'll talk about the customers that you are taking on and the folks that you're servicing these days. Sarah Malo's in there, sarah Bundy being her brilliant self. We love it. And then I'm not quite sure is that a Marchese sign? I'm not sure what Lorenzo's going after here. We've got a question from Pavel. I'm going to hold it until we get through this segment and I want to talk about who is servicing today and what you guys are doing out there.

Sarah Bundy:

I'm sorry that you broke up a little bit. What are we doing? Who are we servicing? Talk about our clients.

Dustin Howes:

Correct yeah.

Sarah Bundy:

Yeah, okay, thank you. So our three kind of core focuses are affiliate program management, affiliate program strategy and affiliate program consultation. We build out a lot of strategies for brands. Sometimes they have in-house teams and a lot of those teams might have the hands on deck but they don't necessarily have the expertise, they don't necessarily understand what to watch out for and really it's just an experience thing. So some companies will come to us and they'll just say, hey, we're going into 2024. Please help me in building out a strategy to scale our program into XYZ markets or XYZ types of partners. So that's why consultation is Basically groups of hours or project-based work that we do.

Sarah Bundy:

Maybe somebody needs a program migration From one affiliate network to another and they want to make sure that affiliates aren't dropped along the way. Or maybe they are launching in a secondary Market or country. Like a lot of country. A lot of companies want to expand into Canada. We're experts in the Canadian market. So they might work with us and say how can we set this up correctly for success, taking into consideration things like Canadian laws, canadian language capabilities, different types of partnerships and he kind of you know, legal things that we have to consider from a compliance standpoint. So we help with that. And then there's the guys who come to us and they're like look like, we have one person in house Managing our affiliate program. They can't do it all. Can we hire you to help support them? Or they might have nobody in house and they say Look, we know we need an affiliate marketing program. Can you structure a team to help us? You know, break these markets and scale from there.

Sarah Bundy:

And so that's the type of work that we do.

Sarah Bundy:

We have two, two kind of categories for our team. So we have our B2C team and on the B2C side of our business we do a lot of work with E-commerce companies or retail e-commerce Anything from health and beauty to home and gardens, sports, recreational pieces, things like that Lots and lots of stuff. At B2C we have travel and hospitality. So travel brands and hospitality brands because that was my background before I got into affiliate marketing. And then, on the other side of it, we have a B2B side of our business now and we've been doing B2B affiliate marketing for four years almost four years now and we've won many, many awards now for the work that we've been doing in the B2B space, including just recently the global performance marketing awards. Last month in London we won A lead-john campaign of the year for a work with Oracle NetSuite. So I'd say about half of our team now is B2B and the other half is B2C and you know We've got some amazing clients that we continue to enjoy working with and continue to challenge us a long way.

Dustin Howes:

Absolutely. That B2B side just blew up in the last five years. It's pretty incredible journey and still almost like in its infancy, but still needs servicing, which I I brought up, like how you create this agency to begin with, like this industry still needs help servicing, even though there's Dozens of affiliate agencies out there today that there's never a shortage of work. Let's uh, let's jump into the portion that they're all here for in the future of affiliate and what would you say was one of the staples of the Affiliate marketing future holds in your mind.

Sarah Bundy:

Well, I think one of the most interesting things about affiliate marketing, regardless of kind of what's happening in the economy, is that affiliate marketing is an Economy-friendly solution. What do I mean by that? I mean that we're probably going to be continuing to go into more of a recession, you know. We're gonna have probably more layoffs within the industry and outside the industry. Borrowing money is extremely expensive today, right, interest rates are up, it's. You know. There's a lot of stuff going on in the world and one of two things is gonna happen, or at least with affiliate. People are gonna double down on affiliate because it is performance based right.

Sarah Bundy:

Right. So where media budgets get cut and other areas of digital marketing and traditional marketing, a lot of the reliance on growth is Gonna shift into relying on affiliates on a performance basis or helping brands reduced their upfront costs in more hybrid model payout structures and maybe marry some of these different marketing channels together to create more Creative payout solutions that can reduce not only reduce the budget requirements for advertisers up front but help affiliates and even content creators and social influencers earn more off the back end. So I don't want to say affiliate is recession proof, because if budgets are being cut, a lot of the affiliates that otherwise and frankly, social influencers that would be able to charge their normal rates are not going to be able to charge their normal rates. They might have to discount their rates to get premium placements Excuse me, to get some kind of placements but then they can also earn more by sharing more on the revenue side Necessarily recession proof, but is definitely recession friendly compared to some of the other Advertising options that are out there. On the other side of it, it's great when there, when the economy is booming, because then everybody doubles down on affiliate again anyway, because they have.

Sarah Bundy:

We're in a very fortunate industry where we can provide value, regardless of whether things are going well or not in the world. And we're kind of proving that again because you know we're seeing tons of growth and the economy continues to struggle and yet people are. You know, there's lots and lots of affiliates entering the space and programs are growing year over year and more, more entrants are coming in and and learning about how it all works so that they can provide value and create content. So it's it's always an exciting time and it's one of the reasons why I never get bored. 20 years in this industry, don't get bored of it. It's always going to be something interesting to learn and value to be be had.

Dustin Howes:

So People are. People are still spending online, that's for sure. I think one of those mentioned the economy and we recently had kind of a Hiccup in that economy when COVID hit. The COVID era Actually helped the affiliate marketing realm. All together, I feel like there is a giant boom because more people were buying online and affiliate was was thriving. What I did see one really interesting aspect of that a lot of programs shut down out there and the reason being maybe they they lost money in the brick-and-mortar sector and they had the cut budgets. But you know, taking away the performance marketing channel just seemed Ridiculous when it started to happen. Why do you think that trend actually happened?

Sarah Bundy:

Yeah, that's a great point and a great question. I think, well, two things. One is there were smaller companies that Couldn't afford to invest money into anything. Okay, so, rather than leaving their affiliates hanging, they needed to preserve their cash flow, and so, yes, performance-based marketing made sense, but, depending on the size of the company, if they didn't have enough cash flow, they needed to put it into preservation of their organization. Some companies bankrupt and therefore their programs actually had to shut down because of bankruptcy. So that's like one completely different Challenge. Another one, another one was Depending on the vertical.

Sarah Bundy:

A lot of programs had to either pause or shut down, such as in the travel and hospitality industry, because people weren't traveling for three years, right, so there wasn't much for affiliates to promote in those cases, and those programs had to either shut down or pause, and so sometimes we see some things like that.

Sarah Bundy:

The third kind of thing that happened was the Cmo's, or the CEOs of the company, didn't understand the value of affiliate marketing, and all they chose to do is, like, cut their budgets and Didn't understand the value of affiliate marketing or how it worked. They would cut the budget from affiliate just because they didn't understand how valuable that actually could have been or versus continuing their Google ads or versus continuing their meta Facebook ads. So that's a little bit of what we saw on the flip side of that. It's actually one of the reasons why B2B affiliate marketing started to explode, because the entire B2B industry Also got shut down in person. They didn't have conferences to go to, they couldn't go take meetings with people, and they all had to pivot and figure out how to sell online. So and to affiliate marketing and lead generation to the B2B space. So we were one of the fortunate people too, because we had traveling hospitality clients that actually had to pause.

Sarah Bundy:

We had to quickly pivot to to make sure revenue and we saw the immediate opportunity in B2B so we could have pivoted over there, pitched a few big clients. We won Oracle. After Oracle, we won buildcom, we won Asana, we won big commerce, like there were a lot of companies that needed what we were providing and we've done extremely well with it. Those clients have grown year over year and, like I said, we've won a ton of awards for the B2B work that we're doing.

Sarah Bundy:

But it was a need, it was a need of the industry and we saw that and we jumped on it pretty quick and luckily we've we've got a team who's you know learn how to do it in a really again, I want to put my name behind that stuff right. So out of the work that they're doing and the clients are really thrilled and happy and we actually just got another sort of recognition in British Columbia For one of the most reviewed five star agencies in the B2B space and it's been a lot of our B2B clients. We've actually been giving us reviews on clutch, so it's been going really really well and, yeah, that's one of the trends, excuse me so growth of B2B, and that's one of the reasons why some some program shut down.

Dustin Howes:

Awesome and interesting that even agencies have to pivot, sometimes depending on on what Things are thrown at you or what the future grows at you. Let's talk about the influencers versus affiliates and and the separation between these worlds that we've traditionally had. You still see, that we constantly had. You still see that fillier, them and influencers are going to be separate moving forward in this industry.

Sarah Bundy:

That is a great question and actually that's one of the things that I was forecasting for 2024 that the gap is going to start to get a little bit smaller. I don't believe that there is as much value in keeping them separate. I think that there's a lot of opportunity for PR teams, influencer teams, content creator teams, to work with affiliate teams. There are social influencers who are getting tired of constantly having to sell sponsorship and they get paid $5,000 one time for this particular package. They do create the content and then their revenue stream just stops altogether. There is no cash flow after that. A lot of them are pivoting. Did you hear my dog running?

Dustin Howes:

I did. I just saw your face. I knew it was going to happen.

Sarah Bundy:

Oh no, just don't start barking, Sorry. So there's some social influencers who are going to have to pivot in order to diversify their own monetization, in order to find the longevity to continue to create content. What I'm seeing, what we're seeing at AIM, is a lot more hybrid model partnerships. These are partnerships where AIM or the affiliate team will partner. Can you hear that? I'm so sorry? He found a ball and it's a squeaky ball and it's very squeaky. Sorry, you're hearing that in the background. Anyway, so they want to find hybrid model compensation payouts because it's more passive income for them. With the recession and budgets being cut, they can't necessarily sell at the same rate that they would if that wasn't going on, and so they're trying to make up that lost revenue on the back end. So if they can't sell a package for $5,000, a social influencer, if they can't sell their package for $5,000, maybe they can sell it for $2,500, but also earn 10% commission on sales. So the new package has to be correct. The nice thing, too, is that after they create that post, their revenue stream doesn't stop because the affiliate model allows them to earn over a longer period of time. So what we're seeing and what we've been testing over the past few months, which has been working very well, has been partnering with the social teams, the content teams, the brand teams, the influencer teams yeah, sorry, Mark, to hear that squeak-skeak and so we've been partnering with these guys to do these beta tests to see how we can marry these relationships together. And sometimes the brand influencer social teams are bringing in the partners and then we're tacking on how to track on the back end and compensate on the back end so that they can sort of we can see the results all the way through the funnel. And then sometimes we bring them in and then engage the social teams to make sure that the brand alignment is there or the content story or campaigns are aligned with some of their other initiatives, and it makes for really engaged partners and it's saving money for the advertisers and it's helping the partners actually earn more as well.

Sarah Bundy:

The only thing I will say so to answer your question yes, I'm seeing this more and more and I believe it's going to continue to be the way that 2024 is going to unfold and I encourage people to work more in conjunction with their affiliate and their social teams because there is a very complimentary crossover there. But a couple of things to just kind of keep in mind. There are some content creators who are, you know, TikTokers and their you know Instagrammers, and a lot of the content that they're going to put out is it shows up, it might get tons of views or tons of attention for a little bit and then it disappears Right, so they can still technically monetize that, but the longevity of that content is very limited, Right, so that means that the earning opportunity for both the publisher and the advertiser are also very limited. So if the only strategy is to work with TikTokers and Instagrammers, typically sales will do this. You'll have a spike, it'll go down, but it saves pretty flatlined because it's not, it's not an evergreen strategy.

Sarah Bundy:

Pair to if you're working with influencers and content creators and brand ambassadors who are leveraging things like YouTube or their own websites. They say they have their own blog or they might be an Instagrammer or a TikToker, but they have a huge like often mailing list and you know they hit them up with some cool stuff that they had featured, but they there's again that longevity afterwards. That's how you get sales to go like this instead of like this, Right, so we got to be thoughtful over where is that content going to live and how long will it be alive for, so that both the publisher and the advertiser have earning opportunity over a longer period of time?

Dustin Howes:

Great, great points in there. The hybrid model has been popularized and finally gaining steam. I feel like influencers are really coming around to that concept. But you know, five, 10 years ago it was really difficult to talk influencers into this. And educating them like you have a better opportunity to make more money in the long run and if you can have that long-term thinking, we can make a partnership that is going to be much longer lasting and we can keep replicating it. What is the top track that you're seeing success with? Like educating them as quickly as possible, because you've got to get an email out there or a DM that is pretty short and concise, yet you explain, like everything that benefits them.

Sarah Bundy:

Yeah, we've tried that approach. It is very difficult. We are actually one of the early, early companies that had, you know, tried to roll this big boulder up the hill on that one and we had hired like full on, like content recruitment teams and we had all the educational material in the world and it was very difficult. The timing wasn't right. We were two ahead of the curve on that one at the time. What we have found working is a couple of things.

Sarah Bundy:

One is if we build out a business case for them and say you know, here's your, you've sent us your media kit, we've looked at your media kit and let's just use $5,000 as a placement. You know they write a blog post, the social post out, right? Maybe there's a feature in a newsletter. You could say look like we're a performance based company or I'm the affiliate manager of X, right? I can't approve $5,000 for a paid placement because that's not my department. We don't have that kind of budget. What I can do is I can give you $2,500 and then 10% on sales and, based on your media kit, with your traffic, your audience, our click through rates and our conversion rates, you'd actually earn $12,000 from this post instead of $5,000. Would you like to test it with us? And oftentimes we get an absolutely yes.

Sarah Bundy:

The other side of it is, a lot of the time we got to get the buy-in from these brand and influencer and content teams right. Because if the PR teams and the influencer teams in-house or the agency have the relationship with those creators, then a lot of the time they're going to be the ones to facilitate these opportunities. So if those people don't understand the longer term earning opportunity for the creator and why it's beneficial for them, then it's really difficult for us to break into that relationship right. So you got to have to get buy-in not only from the creator themselves, but also the people who are almost there, like agents or the people who hold the relationship with them and showcase why it's a benefit to all of the parties involved and why it's worth testing together. So those are the two ways that you kind of go about it.

Dustin Howes:

Super smart. And that takes me to my sponsor of the day here. Give me a second while I pull up. Oh man, it looks like they've never done this before. A great segue into that is a tool that I'm using right now for affiliate recruitment, and that's Respona CRM tool very complete and also helping me find the right contact at each one of these companies. If I find some content using keyword search, I will find the right contacts. Reach out to them with a drip campaign. I was absolutely loving everything this tool is bringing to the table at a super affordable price. For those consultants out there looking to increase your volume with email response, respona's a fabulous choice. So good, take a look at that. And then we had a squeak comment. Sounds like the squeaks have ceased, which is great news. I guess they were quite loud for a second there.

Sarah Bundy:

Corgi, apologizes sorry.

Dustin Howes:

Awesome. Alright, let's move into that next segment of cookie list tracking. What should people be aware of with this next level of affiliate?

Sarah Bundy:

Yeah, I think a lot of people are worried about it because cookie tracking is going away right, and a lot of the historical reliance on tracking for affiliate accreditation and commission payouts has been on cookies and things like actually rewind to the Facebook security breach with Cambridge Analytica. That's actually what stemmed this entire thing around first party data and third party data and how data is being used and what rights do individuals have in their own privacy protection. And that's where GDPR came in and that's where you know FTC really started to step up in regards to disclosure and things like that. The fear with cookie tracking going away is, as an affiliate, am I going to get compensated? Well, they know that I tracked that or that I drove that transaction or I drove that lead, and am I going to get paid for it properly, right? And I think the challenge is making sure that customers are having the most personalized experience possible so that they can, you know, have things that they're most interested in put in front of them and convert right. You know it's a strategy. It was a way for people to give personalized experiences, to increase conversion rate, increase basket size, things like that.

Sarah Bundy:

But with cookie list track or cookies going away for tracking. It doesn't affect first party data. This is actually more third party data that people have to be worried about, meaning that when a customer or buyer comes onto an affiliate site, they can collect first party data right While they're there. If a customer goes onto an advertiser site, they can also collect first party data. They can get opt-ins, you know they can say yes, I agree to being tracked to have the most personalized experience, right. The challenge is when they go off of the publisher site or off of the advertiser site and they're now like roaming around the web and third parties are trying to track them and understand their behavior and like track them down. You know to say this particular you did these things after you did these things right, so nobody wants to get stalked. That's basically what that means.

Dustin Howes:

I do. I enjoy it so like I want to be marketed to sue, but I'm a rare being. I know that.

Sarah Bundy:

There you go. I also accept all cookies because I'm like yes, make it as personalized as possible. So I think that there's still opportunities with first party data collection, which is one of the reasons why a lot of investment companies are actually looking at publishers and advertisers and solutions that are collecting first party data, because it is opt-in. It is, you know, like I want you to have my information so that I can have the best possible experience. When it comes to affiliate tracking, though, a lot of the networks have had solutions in place for super long time, right, I mean, I think it's a when, like, a lot of those guys have had solutions for like a decade already in place link connector. They've had a solution forever too, and what they're doing is a lot more of post-back.

Sarah Bundy:

Yeah, totally, it is creepy, but very useful. I agree with Mike. I like it. It helps me with my shopping, but anyway, in my mind, I'm like every Apple knows everything about me, Google knows everything about me, Like saying no to cookies on one particular site. At this point it's almost too late, Like it's out there, right? But from a compensation standpoint, a lot of these networks have come up with solutions a long time ago, whether it's server to server tracking or it's post-backs or things like that. So there's creative solutions out there. I would not worry at all whether you know cookies disappearing is going to be able to still credit affiliates appropriately or not. I believe it's going to be fine and a lot of those solutions have been there for a really long time. It just means that you know people have more right in saying you know, I just don't want to have cookies tracking me when I'm off site.

Dustin Howes:

For sure, and I think that it actually opens up more opportunities in the affiliate space. Like TV, scientific is way ahead of this game right now, where they're getting credit if somebody watches a video that was tracked from that cookie originally or the cookie was tracking. Excuse me, but they're getting credit and I think there's going to be more that are emulating exactly what they're doing in this industry and trying to negotiate a deal that doesn't have to be last click based, like it has been for the last 20 plus years in our industry, and I think we might evolve in some kind of good way in this market where affiliate just doesn't get the leftovers of whatever the other channels are not taking credit for. And you mentioned post back tracking and we had a really good question here from Pavel here. Have you heard AppFlyer no longer support just eating S2S interactions since 15 of November? How would, how would you say that?

Sarah Bundy:

Marketing.

Dustin Howes:

Okay, yes.

Sarah Bundy:

AppFlyer has been doing interactions since November 15th.

Dustin Howes:

Okay Well it will kick in in November 15th, because I think that yeah might be a language barrier issue.

Sarah Bundy:

I actually haven't. I don't have any information about what AppFlyer specifically has done or is doing yet, so I can't speak to that one, although I will look it up after this call, because that's very interesting to me too.

Dustin Howes:

Do you?

Sarah Bundy:

have any insight on that.

Dustin Howes:

Well, it's usually for app downloads. I want to say that's been my interactions with it. I don't have enough experience to be articulate here, but it was a good question. The S2S tracking is becoming more dominant through this industry. More affiliates are asking for it throughout the throughout these last few years because they want more visibility on what's happening internally, where they're tracking is or what is actually converting. They want more data for all of that. So more popular, more asked, especially in the B2B space.

Sarah Bundy:

Yeah, it's a good question. I'm going to look into it after this call because I don't know the answer to that question. Thanks for throwing one out there that I can look into after this.

Dustin Howes:

Awesome. Well, we are just about out of time. I was hoping we could get into the AI portion of this and maybe even the compliance, but I want to go over something that I've seen from you throughout the years and that's the rising tides methodology and your generosity shines above many others in this industry. Every time I see you, you're always asking me what can you do for me, and that has been super helpful in my career. Can I get a backlink? I never really take much from you, but I always, always, appreciate the sentiment. I'm curious where this generosity came from in this industry.

Sarah Bundy:

Well, thank you for saying so. That makes my day knowing that I can make a difference and help some people out. I think when I was a really little kid, I decided that my purpose in being here was to help as many people as I can before I die. And that is as simple as it is. I just want to help as many people as I can before I die, and if that means that I'm, you know, putting myself out there to make sure other people are gonna be okay and successful, and then I will do that. So I Don't know what else to say aside from I just like helping people. I'm a service orientated person and it makes me happy to see other people grow and thrive, and if I can Contribute even a little piece of that, it makes my heart happy and knowing that I did something useful with my time here.

Dustin Howes:

Well, it makes the world go around and we need more folks like you and in this industry and, on that note, like you got any lessons or tips throughout your journey that you want to share with Y'all entrepreneurs out there that might be doing agency live or jumping into the affiliate realm?

Sarah Bundy:

Oh gosh, that could be like a whole hour. We should do another. You should actually do a whole other Nerd out about that topic, because that's a good one but I like it.

Sarah Bundy:

Oh gosh, I have a lot of things I would say be very clear on what value proposition that you're bringing to the table and Understand why it's better, faster and more valuable than other solutions out there. And then how you're gonna make it sustainable and how you're gonna make it scalable. Solve problems better than everybody else and Understand the value of that and then figure out how to scale it and make it sustainable.

Dustin Howes:

Okay, man that is.

Sarah Bundy:

I can give in a nutshell.

Dustin Howes:

That is a beautiful lesson of the day. Find that market of under it's the same under service folks in this industry and you found your niche and that you build your business from that. Find that underservice Rancher people and go and help them as best you can. Don't even need to Ask for a lot of money early on when you start learning this. All right time for you to defend your post before we get going. You thought you were gonna get out of it. I know you did. It's not that bad. I saw something seven months ago, 30 years ago, when I was a kid. Bonkers, how far we've come with computers. What was your first computer? That's all.

Sarah Bundy:

The question is oh, Okay, good, I appreciate it. I don't remember the type, but I do remember that I would actually have to type in load For it to even start. And it is floppy disks floppy. Okay but he knows what that is.

Dustin Howes:

Was it? Was it an apple or was it an IBM?

Sarah Bundy:

It was an IBM yes, it was an IBM with the floppy disk and I had to load and there was like one thing I could do on it, which was play froggy. Froggy lost the road. Yes, icon with an icon, and I didn't even.

Dustin Howes:

Awesome. Mine was Apple 2gs. I had floppy as well and I played California games.

Sarah Bundy:

You're a little bit younger than I am, or you had like fancy pants.

Dustin Howes:

I think it just got to the states a little quicker than it got.

Sarah Bundy:

I'm so excited you had a whole suite of games.

Dustin Howes:

Absolutely, I did. I was gamer since I was eight years old. So Join us Thursday for Marshall and I'm in joining us on a affiliate nerd out you would like my personal affiliate checklist. Go up this QR code or go to dustinhowes. com/ checklist and that's it for me. Sarah, thank you so much for spending an hour with us. Really appreciate everything giving to this community and Thank you so much.

Sarah Bundy:

Thank you guys.

Dustin Howes:

All right, take care, we'll see you out there you.

All Inclusive Affiliate Marketing Journey
Marketing Transition to Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate Marketing's Impact on Economy
Hybrid Partnerships and Influencer Monetization
The Future of Affiliate Tracking
Customer Experience and Data Tracking in Affiliate Marketing