By Katy Armitage, Agency Team Leader, Digital Window.
When a client selects an agency to work with, that choice marks the beginning of a relationship between network and agency. When that relationship thrives, it creates a partnership that delivers quality, success and results. But how do you build a successful agency relationship?
Over the past few years agencies have become more integrated into the planning and investment of brands, as affiliate networks have become another specialist unit within the broader online marketing mix.
Digital Window has well established relationships with affiliate specialist agencies and larger online media agencies alike, and since 2008 has an entire department solely dedicated to the management of the relations with agency clients. Each client has a unique set of brand values and individual requirements which demand a tailored approach to their affiliate marketing strategy.
Therefore it is important for agencies and networks to outline and agree upon a clear, bespoke SLA for each brand, to determine roles, define responsibilities and to summarize task ownership and key accountabilities.
This helps establish a clear position for both agency and network from the outset and allows for effective planning, allocation of resources and time management on each side.
At Digital Window, SLAs tend to be largely divided into two separate groups based upon the level of support required by agencies from the network.
Ultimately the partnership between agencies and networks needs to be built upon each adding value and working towards a mutual goal; avoiding duplication of work, through a streamlined approach with efficient communication and transparency between all parties - the client, agency and network.
“The position of an agency in the affiliate marketing relationship can often be a blurry one, and every agency works this partnership in different ways,” said Fiona Robertson, Head of Affiliates, bigmouthmedia.
“At bigmouthmedia we see our network partners as a strategic one – our team of affiliate mangers look after the day to day running of an affiliate programme and build long termed growth strategies to optimize campaigns to bring in those all important incremental sales.”
Clients and agencies often require fresh insight into their sector and consumer target, as well as a view on industry trends, innovations and insights from their network.
Research and information on the competitor landscape of a brand and being able to offer analysis on the effectiveness of competitor initiatives and strategies is where the wealth of experience and range of clients of a network is enormously important for an agency.
Agencies work alongside the client, managing budgets and working with the network to ensure key objectives remain a focus for all parties.
“We select a network based on their experience in a particular field, a competitive commercial agreement to get our clients the best possible value as well as the support provided,” adds Robertson.
“ It is essential for us to have a strong relationship with a network so that we are working together for the same goals, and it is critical that a network understands our positioning in the industry and the value we add to our clients. Each client has differing objectives and as a result a tailored management is developed to ensure they get the service required, from both agency and network to make things work.”
Digital Window’s commitment and approach to working with agencies is demonstrated through its flexible approach to its agency relations. We recognise that through harmonious and positive networks and agencies relations, the results can by truly positive.
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