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So you have decided that your business could do with an extra boost of advertisement, and you have devised an affiliate marketing strategy. So the question is—who is going to manage your affiliate marketing? Would you rather have in-house management or will you entrust the task to an agency? There are pros and cons with both choices. For an affiliate program to be successful, it requires a good deal of insight. The person who will be managing it will be recruiting affiliates, uploading and managing creative inventory, communicating with affiliates, planning and perfecting strategies, monitoring and tracking results, making sure all affiliates are engaged and a host of other things. This person or body will either be in-house affiliate marketing management team or outsourced affiliate marketing manager/agency.
You will have to decide which one to go for. Here is a comparison between the two.
People who prefer a do it yourself approach, go for in-house affiliate management as it gives them greater control. You can decide which affiliates to connect with and the feedback can be fed directly into business to spurt its growth. Instead of entrusting the keys to an outside agency, you create a new department in your organization to oversee the affiliate marketing program. Cost is also one of the reasons people opt for in-house options. Though, what you save in third party costs, you end up spending it on internal resources so it would be wise to do a cost comparison between the options before choosing any.
In-house affiliate managers will be typically paid a salary with benefits and bonuses of course, as they are your employees and will enjoy the same perks. One benefit of in-house managers is that they will be focused only on your business and since they are from your company, they would know its products better and hence, are more attuned. Therefore, they can adjust to shifts in strategy more quickly and can collaborate with team member faster.
The other option is to entrust the management of your affiliate program to an outside agency. This is a common practice too. With a wealth of experience under the belt, these agencies can work more efficiently to deliver results. Again, one of the biggest factors to consider here is the cost. You generally have no idea how the agency is spending your budget until afterwards and you have little control over the campaign once it is live. Also, you never know if the agency lacks the experience itself and has passed on your project to another specialist agency. Another disadvantage is that the outsource affiliate manager will be working with other clients as well and hence, your program will not get undivided attention.
Do not choose between the management options based on cost alone. Affiliate marketing needs passion to drive it. Whoever you choose should be interested and driven enough. It depends on your organization structure as well, whether you can dedicate one employee to oversee the affiliate department. You also have to see which stage your program is at. If the initial time consuming work has been done, you can consider taking it in-house to reduce the costs.