By telling brand stories in a compelling environment, Backbone Media was able to bring publishers to their brands, flipping the traditional affiliate recruitment script.
The affiliate marketing industry is maturing. And when markets mature smart people and companies innovate.
How do you connect buyers and sellers in a new way as higher end products and content publishers stampede into the market?
You do it the old fashioned way: by putting them in the same room.
Last Thursday, Backbone Media, an agency that combines its PR roots with affiliate services brought affiliate marketing to life by hosting brands like Spyder, Ooni Pizza Ovens, Dragon Alliance, Klean Kanteen, Pendleton Whiskey,La Sportiva, Smartwool and others at a Manhattan showroom and inviting editors from leading commerce publishers to meet the brands and learn their stories. Backbone employees manned the booths (sometimes with their client) and told compelling brand stories. This is not a new strategy. Brands and agencies hosting editors is a tested PR tactic. What made this different is Backbone brought their affiliate team and invited commerce teams from publishers.
It was a reminder that affiliate marketing has matured over the past two years. Publishers have commerce teams that are large and influential, high end brands have big affiliate budgets and agencies have storytelling talent.
Backbone did the heavy lifting by curating and facilitating the right stories for the right story tellers in the right environment by building a slick showroom that was easy to navigate, placed in a city with lots of commerce teams, and used their skill set as storytellers to facilitate introductions to brands.
I felt like I was walking along the yellow brick road of interesting brands where the scarecrow, tin man and cowardly lion were replaced with highly capable guides at each stop. I imagine the commerce teams that showed up won't hesitate next time Backbone wants to pitch a product because they know the team on the other end of the call will be prepared and ready with a relevant brand a strong story.
Two conclusions seemed obvious as I exited with my well appointed tote bag: first, affiliate has evolved from events where booths hawk traffic arbitrage and brands do what they can to avoid being mobbed. And second, affiliate agencies can add a lot of value by honing their knowledge of their brands, improving their storytelling skills and building reasons for publishers to connect with them.
More from Martech Record:
Martech Record's Affiliate Industry Buyer's Guide.
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Best Platform for Brands, Agencies, and Publishers
Feature Ratings for 12 Technology and Usability Measures
Best Platforms for Product Types (e.g., retail, travel, etc.)
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