September 03, 2009

Catalog Choice: Affiliate Program

What are your thoughts about Catalog Choice entering affiliate marketing?

Most of my clients carefully analyze affiliate marketing relationships, and thoroughly understand the new customer / existing customer issue with affiliates. Hint: It's a good thing if you get at least 80% of your affiliate marketing business from new customers.

I mentioned to several people this week that 2009 is the most interesting year I've seen in Catalog Marketing in the past decade. In so many ways, the industry has been in a decade-long "multichannel" fog that is finally being exposed for not delivering unfettered profits. Business models are being dismantled, unpredictable alliances are emerging, and a deep split is forming between catalog tradition and survival/adaptation.

Where do you think the catalog industry is heading?


  1. "What are your thoughts about Catalog Choice entering affiliate marketing?" Well, it strikes me that CC is becoming more of a business, conceptually, than a cause. Big surprise (not). I'd be interested to know when they officially transition from a non-profit to a for-profit status. Keep me posted.

  2. I guess don't have an answer, pro or con, for this. I understand the need to fund a business or a cause, and I can understand the frustration people have been voicing to me about this business model.

    I, of course, enjoy the dynamics of a decision like this. If the customers who purchase from the affiliate program are existng customers, then you have the interesting dynamic whereby catalogers who agree to the affiliate program are funding the opt-outs for the companies that do not participate --- in essence, giving up profit to help other catalogers generate more profit.

    That only happens if existing customers purchase through the affiliate program, because then the order may have happened anyway (and that's what folks often see when they test removing affiliates and measure actual customer behavior) --- if it is new customers, then everybody benefits.


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