There has been a trend the past couple years for merchants and affiliate managers to focus on the top 20% of their affiliates and mainly work with producers. Managers are told their programs should be lean and mean and they should cull the herd on a regular basis. I’ve never believed in that strategy as I think small or new affiliates deserve a chance plus having lots of small producers can potentially add up to lots of incremental revenue.

So I found the following 2 part article/interview conducted by Jeff Molander of Molander & Associates Inc very interesting. They talk about the fact that retail affiliate marketing is moving away from the “focus on your top guys” strategy and going back to where we started – large affiliate programs, with lots of small affiliates all driving incremental sales. They give some compelling reasons why this change is happening.

Renaissance for Retail Affiliate Marketing? Part 1 of 2 “How can marketers work to grow their affiliate programs today in a world that’s already decided “fewer affiliates are better?”

Advertisers seem increasingly weary of affiliates of all sizes, shapes and colors. Yet the black eye affiliate marketing has earned itself isn’t holding some advertisers back. There are a select few who are bucking the trend – aggressively investing in and expanding their affiliate marketing channel.”

Renaissance for Retail Affiliate Marketing? Part 2 of 2 “Well, as I’ve said before, and continue to believe, I think we are moving towards a Renaissance. A movement back to the early days of affiliate marketing where the small business owners and individuals are the heroes… and we didn’t focus on the top 20%. With the surge of social marketing and the buzz around this, more people than ever are now publishing their opinions online. As this trend continues, we won’t see a few affiliates rise to the top but rather, a large base of new affiliates to continually emerge. This is the reality and ignoring the ‘long tail’ will become a thing of the past.

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