A research that was conducted by the Optimus Performance Marketing has established that two thirds of medium to small business owners in the United Kingdom do not understand what affiliate marketing is. In the research, only a third of the respondents who were interviewed gave an accurate description. This comes despite a research that was conducted by PWC and Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and published at the start of the year and revealed that the industry’s performance is worth 9 billion pounds.
Helen Southgate, the United Kingdom managing director at affilinet says that in the past, the small businesses have had a tendency to shy away from affiliate marketing due to the perception that it is complicated. She however differs with this saying it is everything else but complicated and all you just need to have the right information on how to manage the program in the best way. She adds that affiliate marketing is a very efficient and quantifiable way of increasing the sales in order to grow your business in a sustainable manner.
Tradedoubler regional director, Dan Cohen, says he is still surprised that even with the proven affiliate marketing sector’s power, there still exist some business owners who do not take advantage of the method to increase their sales. Tradedoubler made over €3.5 billion in additional revenue for the clients in 2012. This is proof that the method indeed works. Cohen says that the statistics reveal that the industry needs more education within the SMEs. Eleanor Pickering, who is the advertising development’s head at Commission Junction in UK, also echoes this view saying that just like the other areas in the online marketing industry, there is need to continue educating the businesses, particularly the SMEs, so as to ensure that they become aware of the benefits they can reap from affiliate marketing. She says that if the survey conducted is accurate, it shows that the market has still a long way to go. She however adds that the affiliate networks and the IAB Affiliate Marketing Council were working to ensure that the industry is easier to fund and it is more recognizable.
John Weeks, Ve Interactive’s senior partnership manager, says that the findings of the survey are not surprising as the continued growth of the performance channels has led to questions from the highest organization levels. According to him, the lack of knowledge on the matter of affiliate marketing comes from the senior management and it may be as a result of an offline background among these people. He however adds that even some people in the management who have online experience do not understand affiliate marketing. As a remedy, he recommends that businesses start including affiliate marketing in their digital marketing strategies, particularly if they are seeking to expand their business globally.
The affiliate manager for DigitasLBI, Rachael Spowart, says that it would be hard to dispute the findings of Optimus with regards to affiliate marketing saying that the lack of understanding is something they also face as an agency. She says that the research emphasizes the need to educate leaders of businesses about the performance model’s benefits and the nature of the affiliate marketing industry.