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New study gives actionable insights from successful direct-to-consumer partnership programs 

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.August 4, 2020Impact, the global leader in partnership automation, today released a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting. The study, Smooth the Partnership Journey by Learning from High-maturity Companies, provides a set of actionable next steps for optimization, fully tailored to the maturity level of the individual program. 

The World Trade Organization cites that 75 percent of world trade flows indirectly: not through direct selling but through channels, partnerships and alliances. Impact’s commissioned study confirms that partnerships remain a significant revenue generator – 29 percent of direct-to-consumer (DTC) decision makers estimate a 20 percent or greater year-over-year revenue growth rate for 2019 from their partnership channel sales.

“Partnerships are an increasingly significant driver of enterprise growth. The question is no longer ‘if’ or ‘why’ – it’s ‘how.’ How do you put a program into action? What insights can new partnership programs apply from those who have been forging the path?” said Michael Head, Chief Partnerships Officer, Impact. “Partnership professionals now have a window into the methodologies of the most successful programs, down to the benchmark partner mix by vertical or tactical recommendations for each stage.”

The study found that there are seven phases within a partnership lifecycle. Each phase has different goals and objectives depending on the maturity of the program. The seven phases are: Planning, Discovery and Recruitment, Contracting and Payouts, Tracking, Engaging, Protecting and Monitoring, and Optimization. Within the phases, the study recommends a different approach for high- versus low-maturity programs. 

High maturity partnership programs are defined as those that cover a wide breadth of partnership types and take a coordinated/de-siloed strategy and approach to their partnerships, standardizing how they manage all types of partnerships through a unified lifecycle that runs with automation technology that lets them scale their program and accelerate its growth. Low maturity programs are often new programs, with a siloed approach and limited automation capabilities.

There are high-level insights that are true across all phases, for programs of all maturities: 

  • Planning is challenging across the board. It is the second most challenging phase behind Discovery and Recruitment for high maturity companies and behind Optimization for low maturity companies.
  • Maturity = Growth. The maturity of an organization makes a difference in revenue: a quarter of high maturity companies get 25 percent or more of their overall company revenue from partnerships, in contrast to only 14 percent of low maturity companies.
  • Partner Mix and Scale. Programs mature as the type of partners are diversified and the scope of the program scales: low maturity firms have often been reliant on traditional affiliates, while average maturity firms have partnered with a wider variety of partners types.

“Since working with Impact, our affiliate program has grown to be a fully scaled ecosystem of diverse partnership types that generate incremental revenue,” said Julianne Kiider, Tuft & Needle Affiliate and Influencer Manager. “Automation was key to the process; once we automated the more tedious phases, we were able to reallocate that time to relationship building and expanding our strategic efforts.”

The respondent pool was made up of marketers in all direct-to-consumer (DTC) verticals, including: retail, travel & hospitality, financial services and consumer software to name a few. 

To read the full study or learn about Impact, visit www.impact.com.

About Impact

Impact is the global leader in Partnership Automation and catalyst for the new Partnership Economy. Impact accelerates enterprise growth by automating the full partnership lifecycle, including: discovery, recruitment, contracting, engagement, fraud protection, optimization and payment processing for enterprise partnerships. Impact’s Partnership Cloud™ manages over $50B in e-commerce sales and processes over $2B per year in payments to partners. Impact drives revenue growth for global enterprise brands such as Bass Pro Shops, Fanatics, Getty Images, Lenovo, Levi’s, Techstyle and Ticketmaster. Founded in Santa Barbara, CA in 2008, Impact has grown to over 500 employees and twelve offices worldwide. To learn more visit www.impact.com

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