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Is Creator-Led Affiliate Marketing the Route Ahead for Retail Brands?

Creator-led affiliate marketing is one strategy of affiliate marketing that pretty much epitomises the creator-made term “trust the process”. If you choose your influencers with care, then  you can focus attention on your brand and products, but it’s that little matter of taking your hands off the wheel.

According to Pepperjam, the most important customer acquisition channel for 20% of brand marketers is affiliate marketing and 54% of brand marketers consider it one of their top three channels. This positions affiliate marketing as a great option by those who have tried it, but there are plenty more that have yet to reap the benefits.

For retail brands to skip this concept, especially with creator-led content, is a mistake. We’re breaking down why you should consider creator-led content and how to do it right.

How do you use creator-led affiliate marketing in the retail industry?

There are a few different approaches to creator-led marketing. The most high profile are hiring creators like they are celebrity endorsements, i.e. placing them in marketing campaigns solely as a face to be seen. Think JoJo Siwa, James Charles, or Ricegum in his Super Bowl commercial for Monster. That, however, is traditional marketing simply featuring influencers that have gotten big enough to be recognisable to a wider audience.

Creator-led affiliate marketing allows the creator to take the wheel and establish the marketing campaign in collaboration with the brand. The basic campaigns you see all over the internet are Nord VPN, Hello Fresh and Skillshare. These are brands that rarely allow for any creativity in their campaigns. Creators are told what to say and they simply read a script and get paid.

But the best marketing campaigns allow the creator to appeal to their well-established audience and trust that the creator knows how to reach them. For example, the H3 podcast has a sponsorship with G-Fuel, which sees the crew regularly talk about the benefits. However, they also created their own flavour and their own cup design.

Where are the benefits of creator-led affiliate marketing?

Creator-led affiliate marketing has many benefits, the most prolific of which is their audience. The audience is already established, already loyal and the content is already tailored to them. Additionally, smaller creators that have infiltrated a community, will have an even more dedicated audience and a lot of insight into what makes them tick. By working with creators, you not only get a creative campaign but an audience that listens to them intently.

What part does the affiliate manager play in this?

In this case, the affiliate manager’s role is simply to guide. The manager can offer direction when it comes to what the message of the content should be and some guidelines. These guidelines can include what they don’t want to see, but the point is to trust the creator. They know what their audience wants, enough to cultivate a huge following from it, and as long as they aren’t damaging your brand, you should trust that they know how to appeal to their people.

That’s not to say that you should take your hands off the wheel entirely. Thoroughly study prospective influencers to see if their brand and audience suit you. Additionally, if your chosen influencers like bouncing ideas off of you to ensure that you are happy, nurture that and cooperate.

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