Impact Sweden’s Marcus Ericson talks to The Digital Voice about the escalating growth in the Swedish market for advertisers and the rise and rise of partnerships. Marcus is an online marketing veteran with around 15 years’ experience, having worked with a range of companies to help engage and activate customers in a rapidly changing technical landscape. He will support a growing roster of Swedish clients including iDeal of Sweden, Mapiful and Starstable.
Congratulations. You’ve recently joined Impact and opened an office in Sweden. How’s it going?
Everything’s going very well. Setting up in Stockholm, followed soon after by Copenhagen, shows that the Nordics is a key growth region for Impact. In Sweden, affiliate marketing is established and mature, but there is a growing appetite for new solutions that can change and improve how companies manage and develop their affiliate strategy. This makes it the ideal time for us to open our office here.
You mentioned there is an appetite for change. What is driving this?
Ultimately affiliate marketing is becoming increasingly complex. Yes, the established affiliate approaches – centred on the classic affiliate network model – have served businesses well. But as advertising and marketing evolve, these traditional approaches also need to adapt.
Today affiliate marketing encompasses many different partner types that go beyond traditional affiliates, including influencers, brand-to-brand partnerships, and media partners. Each group offers different audiences, has different needs, requires different outreach approaches and different forms of remuneration.
Scaling programmes means recruiting new partners. But finding the right ones, bringing them onboard and getting them up and running promptly is increasingly difficult. Adding each new partner takes time and operational resources, with contracts to review, payments to set up and workflows to manage, all increasing pressure on a business. And for Swedish brands, the size of the local market means expanding into new territories is essential for growth. This brings added complexities around dealing with multiple currencies.
Building a modern affiliate and partnership program means addressing all these challenges – and more – and successfully managing everything calls for a new approach.
So, what does this new approach look like?
Firstly, there’s a need to shift focus away from thinking ‘affiliate’ and focusing on partnerships. Yes, affiliate marketing is important. But it’s just one element amongst the many types of modern digital partnerships that exist. And it’s these new partnerships that are critical. Recommendations, peer reviews, ratings, word of mouth – these are what are essential for building trust, authenticity and influencing purchasing decisions today, more so than traditional advertising approaches. It’s the power of these partnerships that drives value and revenue for brands.
Secondly, and not surprisingly, technology and automation are fundamental to success. Building and managing a partnership program fit for today’s purposes requires a platform that supports a wide range of activates. It must allow companies to find and recruit new partners, develop contracts, set up payments in multiple currencies, and easily manage these partner relations. It must also track, measure and attribute performance, identify areas of improvement and drive more informed decision making. What’s essential is that it simplifies and speeds up the management of a very complex partner ecosystem to drive more leads and qualified opportunities.
And what are the benefits of adopting such an approach?
It comes down to control, money, and efficiencies. Brands can wrestle back control of the whole process – control that traditionally the networks would have had. They can get a much tighter grip on their business, having greater insights and control over their margins.
For too long, there has been a siloed approach to affiliate marketing. The result? Fragmentation, inefficiencies, and inconsistencies. This has cost businesses revenue and growth opportunities.
What Impact is doing is removing the constraints associated with the current approach. We enable brands to unify and control all aspects of their partner program on one platform so that they can scale up their business and revenues much quicker.
By addressing inefficiencies and introducing automation, operations and processes are streamlined, decision-making improved, and spending better allocated, fast-tracking the revenue generating partner programs for a brand’s affiliate channel.
So, what are the opportunities for your market?
The opportunities are significant. Swedish companies have always been innovators and fast adopters of digital technologies, so they are very receptive to what we are bringing to market. The market size here means that when it comes to building businesses, brands think more globally, so they are always on the lookout for opportunities to innovate. We are allowing brands to develop their affiliate channel quicker and easier and realize their potential sooner. It’s an exciting time to be bringing to more Swedish companies technology that supports their business growth.