Musings on Affiliate Managers
I know this guy. Technically, we all know him. We’ll call him Charlie. Charlie is a charmer; ladies love him, men want to be him, dogs strain on their leashes to leave their masters and run alongside him as he jogs through the park and saunters through life. He deals with the cream of the crop, has a couple of initials after his name on his business card and he is at least half as good as he thinks he is.
There is one flaw: because of his chiseled good looks and flexibly flapping mouth, Charlie has never bothered to learn anything. And he’s your affiliate manager.
Oh dear God, no. When I started my career in media, there were lots of these – salespeople who were great to hang out and have a few beverages with as you punished your corporate cards together, but who otherwise had no business value because they had sadly bought into the myth that salespeople are talkers and don’t need to be knowledgeable.
Affiliate managers deal with people, yes, but their currency is information; site rankings, retention strategies, payout percentages and really complicated things like how to reset your password when your ailing memory fails you and you lock yourself out of your account. Beyond returning phone calls and answering emails promptly, which is good business practice anyway, affiliate managers need to have answers to an affiliate’s questions and have ideas about how to drive the sales channel so it reaches maximum effectiveness.
Why is it so important to have this pesky knowledge stuff, in addition to being easy to deal with? Because affiliates are fickle, fun creatures, but they’re also business people. They’ll pick up the phone to go out to dinner with you, but when their business needs a boost they’re going to call the people who know what they’re doing and how to deliver results.
Case in point: recently we were looking to showcase a few sites on our homepage and we needed to get a feel for upcoming promotions in the market. I chased an affiliate manager for a week to ask her about them before hearing that not only did she not know what was happening in the future. She got the existing offer completely wrong as she ‘sold’ it to me. Confidence-inspiring, isn’t it?
We operate in an extremely complex industry, and being an affiliate manager is a far tougher job than many would realize. But wallowing in willful ignorance or trading on your looks instead of your brain just compounds the problem and produces woeful business results. I’m not saying that being nice or fun isn’t a good thing, but I’d much rather see that in combination with being well-informed and business-savvy.
About The Author
Hailing from Australia, Kahmen Lai worked as an executive for broadcast network The Seven Media Group. She has been the Director of Content and Social Media at online casino, Big Gains No Pains, since the company’s inception in 2011.