walgreens, affiliate program, mass firing, downsizing, redundancy, tech industry, digital industry, jobs, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, google, meta, amazon,

Walgreens is redirecting money out of its affiliate marketing program: a sign for the future?

In a move that has become somewhat familiar in the tech industry in 2023, Walgreens informed a large chunk of its paid professionals, via a rather inhumane mass email, that they were not getting any income this month.

Walgreen said in a statement: “Dear Publishers, due to current business headwinds and financial pacing, we are making changes to how we are flighting media throughout the year. With that being said, the budget that had originally been allocated to the Affiliate channel in February has been shifted out and we will need to pause the program for the entirety of the month. The expectation is that we will be able to go live again in March.

“This is not a reflection on the Affiliate channel. Several difficult decisions needed to be made and this was one of them. We do truly value your partnership and look forward to continuing that partnership once we pass this bump in the road. Please reach out to the CJ team with any questions.”

It was comparatively better than the sorry state that Google, Meta, Amazon and other tech corporations have found themselves in, since Walgreens promise the affiliate program will be up and running again next month. But that hasn’t stopped professionals from getting a bad feeling in their stomach. Why?

Why is the tech industry worried?

You might have seen TikToks lately from ex-employees of Google posting “A day in the life of a redundant employee of Google”. It’s a sad state of affairs. In another mass layoff, over 12,000 staff members around the world were laid off. This follows Amazon’s 18,000, Microsoft’s 10,000 in January, and Meta’s 11,000 in November. And tech giants aren’t the only ones. Cloud firm NetApp cut 8% of its staff, and even Pinterest has let go of 150 staff members.

What caused all these layoffs?

The cause of these layoffs has left a lot of these companies with egg on their faces. When Covid hit, everyone had nothing to do but be online, and suddenly engagement soared, these tech businesses assumed it was going to last past lockdown. As soon as people could work again they were hired to deal with a demand that slowly dwindled away.

Should these tech giants have seen this coming? Arguably yes. Maybe they did and hired thousands more than they needed anyway. Or maybe they simply didn’t see the recession caused by plague, famine and war riding down the road.

What can digital professionals do?

Well, funnily enough, in our most recent podcast, Lee-Ann joined PerformanceMarketingJOBS founder, Mike Carney for a conversation about jobs in affiliate marketing. Mike seems to think that all these big tech layoffs are not the end of the world for an affiliate marketer.

Mike said: “Well, there actually is a huge demand right now [in affiliate marketing] and the reason why [is that] there’s a skill shortage for experienced, performance, marketing focused, professionals.”

“And the reason for that, to a grand extent, is that when Covid hit in March of 2020, basically everybody was forced to buy online. So, the online content consumption, e-commerce, exploded. But the biggest difference was people who were not buying online were forced to learn how to shop for their groceries and how to buy stuff for their house. So, you sell to a lot of people investing heavily in home and health. So, the amount of, uh, opportunity revenue opportunities for companies that were in the online space was phenomenal.”

If you are coming from a background that features a redundancy package from Google, Amazon, Meta, etc. you can probably find a place in affiliate marketing. Walgreens might not be hiring right now, but as spectators pointed out, their shift from pay-per-click to other more expensive avenues of marketing aren’t likely to treat them well. It’s a good guess that other businesses aren’t going to go the same route.

What do affiliate marketing professionals need?

In our podcast, Lee-Ann weighed in with her perspective, saying: “I think to be a good affiliate manager, it’s less of the hard skills. More of the soft skills. It’s more of the desire to want to learn. The challenge of changing the way that you think about doing campaigns, about how you relationship manage people.”

So, what are these hard and soft skills. Well, as mentioned, the industry is crying out for professionals, so any tech experience is going to be appreciated, but it is more about building and maintaining relationships with your affiliate partners. If you have people skills, you can absolutely put them to use in affiliate marketing.

If you are interested in more affiliate and social media marketing insights, take a look at our blog for all the latest news and advice. Or for a more personalised approach, book a free call with a member of our team.

Or, for the very best advice from industry peers, register to gain access to our Amplify Action Day. Taking place in January 2023 doesn’t mean you’ve missed it. Amplify aims to bring you the latest affiliate, performance, and partner marketing insights from across the globe and it’s all available to stream from our website.

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