On March 24th Forbes' Emily Jackson, Rosetta Stone's Caitlin Romig, and CNN's Bryce Widelitz spoke about the opportunities and challenges resulting from recent consolidation of performance marketing budgets.
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Affiliate marketing professionals gathered on zoom to hear industry leaders address new strategies to take advantage of increased performance marketing options. The biggest takeaway may be that we are still at the nascent stages of multimedia top-line performance planning and that budget consolidation across channels and mediums is just starting. Each panelist reinforced that there is still lot of experimentation happening.
Emily Jackson, VP, e-commerce at Forbes noted "we are still seeing a ton of growth and the question is now, how do we use different content to create hybrid models where its not just bottom of the funnel results," she noted that experimentation was key and "we are trying to figure out which of our products are going to work for the rest of the funnel because there is a lot of white space there."
Bryce Widelitz, Senior Director, e-commerce at CNN shared that their metrics indicate that new consumer behaviors have proved sustainable, but they are still trying to create products to meet advertiser demand, "more and more, we are hearing from marketers who are more interested in more performance driven products, leading budgets to expand from the typical affiliate budget. It is exciting to try to solve the problem of how to fulfill the goal of a return while bundling things like flat fee products."
Caitlin Romig, Director, Consumer Marketing at Rosetta Stone now thinks of all marketing as performance.
"Affiliate used to live on an island, but we found we got so much benefit out of paid placements with content that we did not want affiliate to be limited by smaller budgets and decided to put affiliate together with the entire media budget so we would be able to scale fast."
"There are two worlds colliding." Jackson added, "it used to be you could do your own thing and affiliate teams talk to affiliate teams and ad sales teams talk to account managers, but as more retailers think about all their budget as performance it is pushing publishers to think 'what can we offer that is all the way up the funnel that is going to be fully performance' and what comes up is less a management strategy and more a mindset. We have tried to understand that revenue will come to the company as a whole and if we fight over it nobody will get the revenue"
The sustainability of e-commerce and the proliferation of mediums means that brands can make a stronger commitment to creating content, knowing it can be employed more broadly and effectively. Romig said "content is the biggest theme that has emerged, we've been investing in CTV, Audio, etc." And this investment is paying off in their relationship with publishers. Romig indicated that because they had invested in content they can be more flexible about which partners they work with. If a partner has a new performance offering in a new medium, Rosetta Stone likely already has appropriate content that can drive revenue.
Jackson chimed in that being willing to share your goals with publishers and use their expertise to match goals with the right mediums was key to success. "Your goals will definitely impact what types of content we recommend. For example, we can tell you what the intent is on the social channel and be able to put you somewhere else you should be to achieve your goals"
Jackson was clear about the future "we are trying to expand our offerings to give our customers flexibility."
Jackson's view, that performance will be employed across mediums and that advertisers and publishers will be pushed to produce more holistic performance strategies and products was best summed up by Romig who said,
"We don't have to think digital versus traditional anymore, we're just performance."
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