Welcome to our Department Spotlight Series, where we shine a light on our brilliant teams and the people within them. Within this series, we’ll give you a sneak peek into life at Webgains, as well as an insight into what makes our affiliate network and technology platform stand out.
For our final instalment of the Department Spotlight series, we talk to the International Account Management Team and glean their insights into what it takes for Advertisers to expand their programmes into new markets.
What role does International Account Management play at Webgains?
AE: Cross-border shopping has grown enormously in recent years and continues to accelerate, with Webgains playing a key part in connecting Advertisers with customers outside of their already established locales. The International Team’s role is to formulate and implement strategies to hit our client’s goals for the markets they are targeting.
AN: As Ashley mentioned, we specialise in working with clients across markets to grow their sales and affiliate programme. We provide affiliate marketing expertise and streamline the management of multiple markets and local account managers. This allows our clients to lean on our team to simplify running local campaigns within their territories while adding in the territory-specific experience and insight offered by our Account Managers.
What motivates the International Account Management Team?
AM: What motivates us is simple – to achieve the best ROI for our clients. Working with clients across multiple countries and markets means we need to take the peculiarities of each into account. I would say that this challenge is one of the most interesting and motivating parts of our role. Here are a few of the areas that we concern ourselves with on a daily basis:
- Discovering ways to improve conversion in different markets. For example, by offering the Advertiser suggestions on how to improve the payment method
- The dos and don’ts in a various markets
- Assessing the competition in terms of affiliate marketing within a market
AN: Our motivation ultimately boils down to driving results. That being in terms of delivering on overall KPIs, activating new Publishers, proposed campaigns overperforming, thinking outside the box etc. I particularly enjoy pitching new Publishers or publisher types to clients that would previously not work with them. Getting the Publisher live on the client’s programme and seeing them become a key part of the overall channel strategy – the holy grail being feedback of – “ we should have done this sooner!”
AR: Witnessing brands of all sizes succeed at expanding their business reach and creating a solid presence across the globe. Testimonials and case studies make us very happy!
“I particularly enjoy pitching new Publishers or Publisher types to clients that would previously not work with them. Getting the publisher live on the client’s programme and seeing them become a key part of the overall channel strategy – the holy grail being feedback of – ‘we should have done this sooner!’”
What is the biggest challenge your team faces?
AN: Coming out of the pandemic has naturally given online a challenge to maintain numbers. During the lockdown, the only option for customers was to shop online, which naturally drove an uplift in traffic and sales. Now the high street and shops have opened their doors again, we are seeing a natural decline in online demand. That being said, the inability to shop in-store for multiple months converted a lot of people to online shopping. We are now working to maintain online sales by diversifying our client’s publisher portfolio and making the online process as simple and rewarding as possible.
AM: The most challenging thing for an Account Manager is to help the client optimise their investment into the channel by getting the best ROI in a market where their product is little known or totally unknown. When this is the case, it is especially important that we select the right affiliate partners for our Advertiser.
What does the perfect client look like from your perspective?
AR: A client that is open to testing opportunities so that we can develop new revenue streams. This is the best way to find out what works and what doesn’t work for your brand. From testing we are able to gain data and metrics to make informed decisions, create effective marketing strategies and uncover hidden gems.
AN: From my perspective, a perfect client does not have to be from a specific sector (we have a wealth of experience across the team in Fashion, Electronics, Home & Garden, Travel, Finance etc). What I enjoy most is an engaged client who works in partnership with our team so that we can align on strategy and deliver long term goals while supporting and working alongside other channels. Ultimately, this allows us to deliver the most success out of the channel.
AE: It’s never an easy ride entering a new market – unless you’re working in a very niche industry with few competitors and tons of customers already waiting for your product. Therefore, clients should have realistic and reasonable expectations of their goals and how to achieve them, and this usually means being hands on. The perfect partner should be ready to throw their resources at new opportunities including plenty of budget for optimisation, margins for commission and offer testing, a marketing roadmap, and an optimised website for conversions.
“The perfect client is one that is open to testing opportunities so that we can develop new revenue streams. This is the best way to find out what works and what doesn’t work for your brand, from the testing we are able to gain data and metrics to make informed decisions, create effective marketing strategies and uncover hidden gems.”
What are your primary recommendations to publishers looking to partner with merchants with international programmes?
AR: To present case studies that are relevant to the sector and the size of the brand. It is also important to be flexible with rate cards, as it is an emerging market, brands (at first) are hesitant to invest significant amounts, but once results are proven they are willing to release more budget. We understand it is also a risk for the Publisher, so it is important to find a middle ground where both parties are gaining value.
AN: As Account Managers, we strive to partner our clients with Publishers that will help them towards their goals. We look to make working with us as simple and straightforward as possible. So, my recommendation is to be open and responsive and have a good media pack or bullet points outlining key info and benefits of working together. Not all Publishers are right for all brands naturally, the key is making the right connections.
AM: My recommendation for publishers is to take some time to analyse the brand before starting to promote it. As a general rule, it is more quality than quantity that will affect results. Variables such as the type of product being offered and the percentage of traffic share by country are key to take into account.
“My recommendation for publishers is to take some time to analyse the brand before starting to promote it. As a general rule, it is more quality than quantity that will affect results.”
What are your primary recommendations to Advertisers with international programmes looking to partner with Publishers on Webgains?
AN: My first point would be to pencil in a planning session with us where we can openly discuss the aims and ambitions for each market, and set goals and KPIs. Our team can then go off and drill into the detail with the overall plans set to propose relevant campaigns to deliver on them. One key point I’d like to underline here is to remain flexible in the approach by market, each has a slightly differing publisher mix so make sure this is taken into account.
For example, if an established UK brand wants to replicate their exact approach in terms of Publisher types and campaigns in Germany – this may not work. Another key point to make here is that breaking into new markets can be a challenge so a clear plan, adjusted ROI targets, openness to new publishers and test & learn budget are extremely helpful.
It’s an exciting time for affiliate marketing and Webgains at the moment. Tell us about some recent successes your department has experienced.
AM: Definitely yes! There are more and more brands becoming interested in what affiliate marketing can bring them. They want to know how to promote their product through a network and, with the increase in terms of services offered by existing affiliates, and, a considerable increase in new and innovative affiliates to work with, their timing couldn’t be better.
A specific example would be that of one of a brand we recently took into the Nordic markets; somewhere it has previously had little to no presence nor experience. After our comprehensive report into the Nordic market and affiliate space, we launched to almost immediate success. In this case, we were able to drive especially good results within a very short space of time.
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