4 strategies for financial services affiliate marketers during volatile times
Here’s an IDEA! Innovate, Diversify, Educate, Adapt.
At Rakuten Advertising’s annual DealMaker event in Austin, TX I had the opportunity to host the financial services panel. The panelists were experienced digital marketers who each brought a unique perspective to the table resulting in what turned out to be a fascinating conversation. They included Patrick Hook, VP of Digital Marketing from the colossus Wells Fargo, John Maas, VP of Marketing for Quontic Bank, and Eric Wellner, the GM of Lending Tree’s credit card business. We discussed the rapidly changing environment and the strategic shifts emerging as a result of volatility, and growth, and how to think about innovation and the challenges and opportunities for the future of financial services affiliate marketing.
Reflecting on our conversation, there were 4 strategies that emerged as being key for financial services affiliate marketers during volatile times.
1. Innovate: Seek out better ways of doing things.
Smaller/new advertisers such as fintech firms need publishers to seek more innovative approaches if they are going to be able to compete with established players in the affiliate channel. More generally, when it comes to product innovation it’s all about taking a long-term view and seeing beyond the peaks and troughs of volatility. Innovation usually thrives in a crisis and this environment will be no different.
2. Diversify: Don’t keep all of your eggs in one basket.
Investors who don’t deploy this classic strategy are usually exposed during a downturn. From an affiliate marketing perspective, while mortgage applications are drying up, applications for personal loans and credit cards remain strong right now. In recent weeks, CD rates have shot up and there remains an opportunity for home equity loans. The shifting landscape is providing new strategic opportunities.
3. Educate: Help consumers to understand the shifting landscape.
The drumbeat of recession is getting louder and with persistent inflation, rising interest rates, a bear market, and plunging cryptocurrency, consumers need more help than ever to navigate what seems like a constantly moving target. Affiliate marketing can play an important role in helping consumers by directing them to financial products that make the most sense for them and by focusing on educational content.
4. Adapt: Embrace changing consumer needs.
Consumer needs are evolving along with the changing environment. As a result, those advertisers and publishers that can adapt to changing needs will be able to develop products and marketing campaigns that are more relevant. A great example is the Upgrade Visa Card with Cash Rewards which was named a “Best Gas Rewards Credit Card” by WalletHub at a time when gas prices are the most visible symbol of persistent inflation enabling Upgrade to launch an Instagram campaign based on the endorsement. A simple shift in positioning can help brands to resonate with consumers.
What we think:
While these strategies were born out of a discussion specifically regarding the future of affiliate marketing, they apply to financial services marketing broadly. As we look to the future, the volatile environment means confronting challenges but also seeking opportunities and while much is unknown there is much that can be anticipated. Marketers that embrace this IDEA will not only have a better chance of surviving these volatile times but will ultimately come out ahead.
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