Legend has it that NASA spent millions of dollars in the 1960s developing a pen that can write in zero gravity. The Russians used grease pencils. This story is often used as a warning. Don’t look for complex (and expensive) solutions to simple problems.
The story is untrue for many reasons.
NASA was enthusiastic to develop a functional space pen. This is true. They knew that pencils were unsuitable for space travel. Pencils break and leave graphite dust behind. This can be harmful to both astronauts and equipment. Graphite dust is the last thing you want clogging up expensive, and necessary, air filters. Moreover, the wood in pencils is flammable. A characteristic NASA wanted to avoid in all onboard objects after the Apollo 1 fire.
When it comes to price the space pen didn’t cost NASA millions. It wasn’t even invented by NASA! Paul Fisher, head of the Fisher Pen Company invented the pen. Unlike a typical pen, the Fisher Space Pen used compressed nitrogen to force ink out of the nozzle. (Normal pens use gravity). And the cost to NASA? $2.39 per pen.
Since the late 1960s both American and Russian cosmonauts have used Fisher’s pens. A later version called the Shuttle Pen served on NASA’s space shuttles. The Russians also used it on their space station, Mir.
What I take away from this story are two points. One, because an anecdote is often repeated doesn’t make it true! Two, more information makes all the difference to help understand what is the best choice. And why.
Affiliate programs, like a space pen, deliver a solution to a problem. Like a space pen, complexity within an affiliate program will deliver superior results.
Effective affiliate program management requires three specific activities.
1. Program strategy.
2. Affiliate partner recruitment, activation, and optimization.
3. Program operations.
If these three things are not incorporated into an affiliate program, expect problems.
Is your affiliate program meeting goals? If not, your management approach could be the problem. Here are five suggestions that might help turn things around.
1. Educate yourself on affiliate management. Note. Be sure to check out our Definitive Guide to Choosing An Affiliate Management Agency.
2. Hire a reputable agency with expertise in both affiliate marketing and affiliate management.
3. Make sure that your affiliate manager has extensive experience. If your company can’t afford an agency be sure that your in-house manager has experience. Make keeping up with changes in the industry part of their job description.
4. Keep your affiliate program ’boutique’. What I mean here is to limit your program to a select number of partners. This will increase transparency, reduce management issues, and mitigate fraud risks.
5. Do not allow networks to manage your program strategy. Many companies elect to have an affiliate network “manage” their program. Quite apart from anything else, this presents a major potential conflict of interest. Since networks earn commission on affiliate transactions this can lead to self-serving decisions. Also, at least half the job of an affiliate manager is to focus on the bottom line of the program, remove channel overlap, and watch for affiliate fraud. Network managers don’t generally have a good track record at any of these things.
Give us a call today to discuss how Affiliate Manager Expert can help your business. +1-307-222-0097.
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Quote of The Week
“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it …” ― Henry Ford
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