Why Affiliate Marketing is Inauthentic Panhandling
Alright - Let me get this conversation started right now… Here is my official statement: Essentially, ‘Affiliate Marketing’ is the equivalent of panhandling on your platform to your fans; thus completely discrediting any shred of authenticity you have. I’m speaking directly about ‘Discount Code’ based affiliate marketing where the mark (the poor fool who’s about to sell their soul to the devil) is given a ‘unique code’ that only their followers can use to acquire discounts from the specific company. This method, along with 95% of ‘Ambassador Marketing’ where a company offers any random person the opportunity to purchase their wares for a discounted rate and offer, yet again – a CODE to offer their followers a discounted rate as well… are the biggest loads of bull spit that you can imagine! They’re designed to maximize the benefit to the company itself – NOT the individuals promoting it.
Let me put this in perspective for you… if a business would like to advertise and/or sponsor a podcast, podcaster, influencer or personality – they should respect that this person or small business's time is money and pay the fees associated with the talent that they are supposedly deeming the, "right person" to promote their brand. I don’t work for other people – I work for myself… that being said, please pay me my worth. I have a professional rate card for a reason, if you'd like to negotiate in order to work out a deal... let's talk about it - however a so-called commission code is certainly not acceptable.
Now some of you may not be familiar with affiliate marketing – let's get educated... let me wrap that up in a nutshell.
What IS Affiliate Marketing?
“Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate's own marketing efforts.”
Now before anyone starts to think they're going to get smart with me and say – if you work for it, people will use your code and you’ll make money… if you really have an audience they’ll support you… blah blah blah. I’ll respond with - you sir (or ma’am or whatever you identify as)… are an idiot. First and foremost – it is NOT my follower’s job to go out and buy products because I said so – it is my privilege that they follow me and support my endeavors. Furthermore, I’d prefer them to support me directly as my fans by purchasing my products, visiting me at comic cons, etc. (are you catching the theme here?) – My job as a personality and as an influencer means absolutely nothing if I’m being unauthentic and pretty much grooming people to use a shiny code to buy something.
In terms of sales – I’m well aware of all the benefits of living a commission based style of business – I live that way. I’m all about commissions and making what you’re worth; however whenever you are offering your time, making content and sharing to your personal and especially professional platform – you as a creator and/or personality should always be compensated! How much is YOUR time worth? To be quite blunt, affiliate links are handed out like candy canes from a fire engine Santa Claus – anyone can get them; and therefore it’s NEVER guaranteed that people will use yours! Quite simply, any potential ‘buyer’ could essentially go do a Google search by typing in the key words, ‘coupon code’ as well as the brand name they’re seeking to purchase… and the results will bear a cornucopia of different codes to choose from – usually none that happen to be the code mentioned on social media or via on-air means (radio, internet radio, television, podcasting). Fact here is, the company wins regardless. Most don’t care who’s code is being used… they’re receiving a priceless amount of free advertising as well as branding AND getting paid no matter what ‘code’ is being used (if a code is even used – I rarely remember to add codes in when purchasing anything… shame on me)! Meanwhile, the perfect way to think if this is,
‘Why buy the cow when the milk is free!!!’
Let that sink in there for a moment… allow it truly marinate.
Listen, to each their own; however it is pure fact that people who jump into these type of deals are ruining the BUSINESS of being paid what THEY; or anyone else for that matter - is worth! Why would the market bother bearing fruit if there is no value to what is being offered – offering free marketing and branding for the glimmer of hope that you’ll make some extraordinary money is laughable! It is 100%, singlehandedly the reason why most people cannot position themselves where anyone would be interested in sponsoring them or advertising on their show(s). Personally, I’ll ONLY work with businesses that I respect and products that I can get behind. My clients and partners respect me personally as well as my relationship with my fan base – respectfully paying me what that’s worth without the expectation of regurgitating a code to save 20% if you buy now! Most glorious of all – when I discuss a product on-air or on social media… my fans know that YES I love this product for such and such a reason - perhaps educating them on said product and offering my endorsement; but NO I do NOT expect you to run out and buy it just because I said so! My fans aren’t idiots – I refuse to treat them that way.
Anyway, I could go on; but I think I've made my point.