You can guess what's going to happen next year, or you can go right out and make it happen.
This column could be like so many others and predict who will spend how much money on advertising next year, but let's get real. Like direct marketing, this column is about improving what is currently working, rather than pulling pie-in-the-sky figures out of the air.
Want to make 2003 a good year? Start with a new focus on improving ROI and lowering customer-acquisition costs by focusing on performance. If you pay CPM, make it perform. If you run a CPA campaign, prove it works, so your affiliates will roll it out widely.
The funny thing about most end-of-the-year columns is that they try to predict trends based on what they hope will happen with company spending. Many of these writers are agency folks who love to take big budgets, charge outrageous CPM prices, pretend they're doing targeted marketing and then cry when the client goes away despite their polysyllabic defenses of poor marketing. This type of person hates affiliate programs because they are based on performance -- on getting down in the trenches and actually acquiring customers.
Good affiliates do not hope for trends, they create them. In their typical, understated fashion, affiliate programs represent some of the biggest trends in the Internet business. Here are the top six trends that will affect you in 2003:
For those of you who want to be snobs, remember that repeated marketing messages are most often a sign of success, not stupidity. While you may consider yourself superior to your neighbor, people out there are buying these products. Look for new regulations, massive lawsuits against scapegoat spammers, and a new trend towards sending less email more often so it gets to its destination by avoiding volume filters. Sound crazy? In the email environment of 2003, less is definitely more.
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