Affiliate Executive: Recruiting An Affiliate Executive In-House
The affiliate landscape has changed a lot over the last few years. The leads and revenue coming through the majority of affiliate programmes is now heavily weighted towards a small number of partners - mainly voucher code, cashback, loyalty, email and freebie/discount sites.
So in terms of recruiting for an affiliate marketing role, I'd no longer be looking at the size of an applicant's network. I'd instead be looking at the quality of the candidate's network, their commercial awareness, and their understanding of current trends and issues in the industry.
Quality of Network
I'd want to have confidence that whoever was employed in the affiliate role could easily engage in discussions with the right people in the right places, in order to arrange exposure for exclusives/increased CPA. Evidence of previous strong relationships with significant affiliates would be key for me.
Commercial Awareness - The Profit Line
I think all too often affiliate marketers can be focused so much on driving sales and revenue that they lose sight of the profit line in some situations.
Retailers offering "20%+ Off" are common place in most voucher code newsletters. Coupled with the CPA and network override...this is very high CoS activity!
I'm not at all suggesting that aggressive discount codes shouldn't be arranged. There are obviously brand awareness, market share and lifetime value factors to consider. But I'd like any candidate to demonstrate an understanding of how discount codes can impact immediate profitability, and give me confidence that they could make a solid business case for continuing to use codes.
Commercial Awareness - Incremental Sales / Cannibalised Sales
I'd struggle to seriously consider any candidate that claimed that cashback/voucher code sites don't cannibalise any sales that would have occurred anyway. It would suggest to me a naive understanding of the affiliate channel.
Instead, I'd be looking for a mature, considered response from a candidate that acknowledges that while there will be some sales that would have occurred anyway...we may well have lost sales to competitors if we weren't present on voucher code/cashback sites when they checked, and that the exposure we're able to secure will also undoubtedly result in incremental visits and sales that we wouldn't have received.
Awareness of Trends and Issues In The Industry
I wouldn't say that this point was particularly reserved for affiliate marketing roles. Given that it's such a fast paced industry, I'd be looking for this in anyone I hired in an online position.
I'd need to have confidence that any candidate was on the ball, and had an opinion about trending topics and wasn't going to allow competitors to steal an advantage over us by not picking up on emerging opportunities.