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AI Podcast S10 Ep4 Behind the Mic: Affiliate Trends for 2023 with Lisa Riolo

We’re back with another Affiliate Marketing Podcast, with a twist. Co-Founder and Advisor, Lisa Riolo is the first guest of the year, but she’s turning the mic to our very own Lee-Ann Johnstone. Lee-Ann will have the chance to give her thoughts on all things affiliate marketing, including networking in the affiliate marketing industry, the importance of party data and details on the upcoming Amplify Summit on January 17th. Listen in as Lisa and Lee-Ann swap ideas and find out all the insights garnered from many discussions with industry peers.

The concept of relationships is strong throughout this podcast, and indeed throughout the affiliate marketing industry. Some might say that it is a relationship based on performance, but once you’re in the thick of it, you’ll find that that isn’t entirely true. We’re taking a look at what makes an affiliate marketing relationship valuable and sustainable.


As beneficial as remote working has been for the work/life balance, it has meant that a lot of us have to work on our communication skills. Communication, after all, is key to any relationship, but you can’t make a mental note of “I’ll bring it up to them when they get home” when it comes to an affiliate marketing partnership. Lisa and Lee-ann talk about how you’ll have to know how to say what you want and what you can offer, clearly, to your affiliate partners upfront to ensure that they know what they are doing and that they don’t feel abandoned when asking for help.

Lee-Ann says: “We, we use such a lot of jargon in our industry, which is ridiculous. But I think brands are opening up to the idea of [engaging in a different way] now. We actually do this in our agency. So, we actually partner brands up together and we say, ‘Hey, you’ve got this’ and ‘You’ve got that. You two should actually work together’.”


This is, however, a business partnership, not a romantic one, which does mean that you are offering something for something. But that doesn’t mean chemistry doesn’t play a part, as Lee-Ann and Lisa go on to discuss.

As Lee-Ann explains: “I will be very honest and I have said this to a lot of people that refer business to us. We also look at chemistry. So add all of that plus then add on the chemistry that we have with the client during the pitch.”

“Because my first question is not, do I want the business? Obviously, I want the business, but my first question is, can I actually take this client from where they are right now to where they want to be, and will they allow me to do so? Because it’s one thing to hire an agency, but quite another, to give them free reign to actually deliver the strategy that they know will work for you. You have to be able to let go and trust that this agency is going to step in and do what they need to do. And without that, it doesn’t work.”


All of that isn’t to say that you should take your affiliates for granted. They are all bringing in some level of benefits, even if one’s numbers are doing better than others. That favourite star player of yours can pack up and leave at any moment, so it’s important to show that you value them.

As Lisa says: “So as a marketer or as a brand, instead of saying, ‘This is what I want everyone to do for me’, you can say to your partners, ‘What do you need?’ And then go back and say, ‘How do we enable that with the tech that we have?’”

It’s about taking the approach of helping each other, rather than making demands for the sake of gaining benefits. And it can start as simply as looking at your language and asking more questions.

As Lee-Ann goes on to say: “I promise you, the way that you treat people makes a huge difference in terms of how much support they give you. It’s not just about the money, it’s about having a collaborative nature and, and partners follow that. And, and I’ve actually had podcasts with big affiliates that have said exactly the same thing.”

Listen to find out more about:

  • What really makes the consumer connect with an affiliate?
  • The benefits of industry events
  • The symbiotic nature of the affiliate industry
  • Starting from the bottom and working up

Key segments of this podcast and where you can tune into go direct

[05:00] – Why industry events are vital for success

[15:00] – The consumer’s perspective with affiliate influencers

[24:00] – The values that are appreciated in an affiliate partner

[35:00] – The importance of awareness in brand development

[45:00] – The importance of chemistry in the affiliate marketing industry

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