The holy trinity of ecommerce measurement & automation
Impact's EMEA marketing director Owen Hancock looks at how a partnership between agency, brand and platform helped online mattress brand eve Sleep scale its ecommerce offering
As sponsors of Mediatel’s Future of Brands Ecommerce virtual conference, Impact was invited to share insights on marketing’s crucial trio: agency, brand and platform. Otherwise known as the ‘holy trinity’.
A case study-led session lifted the lid on the rise of the partnership economy and how this unique tripartite relationship can help to improve measurement and automation in ecommerce.
Specifically, attendees got a first-hand look at how leading mattress brand, eve Sleep, joined forces with its affiliate agency Scale Digital, and partnership automation technology provider Impact, to build an automated partnership programme that scaled the brand’s all-important ecommerce offering.
Managing programme migration
When eve Sleep decided to transition from a traditional affiliate network to take its partnerships in a new direction, it recognised that would be no easy feat.
“We had to move pretty quickly over Christmas 2019 and we needed a new programme implemented immediately,” said Andy Boddy, the brand’s commercial director.
“Platform transparency and performance visibility was key, along with a desire to scale the programme and leverage data to achieve something truly exciting.”
Fortunately, eve Sleep was already working with Scale Digital, an affiliate specialist agency and one of Impact’s strategic partners. Scale Digital’s director Stephen Kerin was confident that Impact’s partnership platform would provide the brand with the flexibility to scale rapidly. So, together, they hatched a plan to re-evaluate all programme partners carefully ahead of the anticipated migration.
As an Impact partner, Scale Digital have access to MediaRails; a tool used to discover and recruit new partners for eve Sleep’s programme. With publishers such as Mashable, Which? and Stylist, along with an array of influencers, eve’s partnership programme benefited from a wide range of partner types.
Increased diversity helped to drive improved results and Impact’s EMEA senior customer success manager Smita Pillai explained that the intuitive platform made it easy to onboard both existing and new partners with minimal effort.
How partnership automation enabled growth at scale
By teaming up with Scale Digital and Impact, eve Sleep was able to experience all the benefits that partnership automation can bring.
The Scale team managed the entire partnership programme in Impact, thereby eliminating repetitive and time-consuming administrative tasks. The agency focused instead on commercial activities that generate results.
Of course, eve and Scale Digital needed to ensure the partnership migration was a swift and efficient process, so automating email communications to all partners, and tracking migration progress automatically, was a particular benefit of Impact’s platform.
“Working closely with Impact and Eve, we managed to identify key areas of the programme that could be optimised or automated in order to scale and ultimately support Eve’s growth strategy,” said Scale Digital’s Kerin.
Additionally, Impact provided granular reporting to empower eve with a clear view on how different partners operate across the customer path to purchase. Most importantly, it was able to hone in on areas that were driving efficiency and, as a result of achieving this scale and clarity, eve saw its partnership channel increase by a staggering 150% YoY.
Of course, this year has proven eventful for all retailers, but for businesses such as eve Sleep the pandemic caused an extremely significant acceleration in ecommerce. Whilst it may have proved challenging to keep up with the volume and demand that shifting consumer behaviour brought about, this surge also presented numerous opportunities.
With the programme migration complete in Q4 2019, eve Sleep saw immediate improvements in performance. Triple digit growth was the order of the day in the partnership platform during January 2020.
“We were really thrilled that the partnership programme was growing faster than our other marketing channels. We actually found this area of the businesses had exceeded our expectations significantly,” said Boddy.
Watch 'The holy trinity: How agency, brand and platform combined to improve measurement and automation in ecommerce marketing' on demand here.
Bringing a human touch to automation
Whilst Impact advocates the importance of automation, Pillai explained that it also recognises the fine balance required between technology and engaging with partners on a human level. Kerin, of Scale Digital, described his team as both an agency for the supply-side partners as well as the eve brand itself, explaining that they work closely with partners on common goals and objectives.
“Eve Sleep is probably one of the only businesses where you can say you really want to get into bed with partners,” he quipped.
In a bid to develop in-person relationships, the brand had planned exciting partner events, where individuals could test mattresses and sleep products. With these plans scuppered by lockdown restrictions, the trio described their hopes to revisit the idea in 2021, as a human-led strategy alongside the automated programme.
How to optimise partnership programmes
So it seems the unstoppable rise of the partnership economy continues and the trio of platform, brand and agency, in conjunction, can achieve greater success in ecommerce than a disjointed offering.
Both eve Sleep and Scale Digital wrapped up proceedings with some choice words of advice for online retailers curious about the benefits of partnership automation.
Boddy advised brands to re-evaluate their partners and agencies carefully, to work out if they add value. “For eve Sleep, partnership programmes is one of our preferred ecommerce marketing channels for driving revenue. It has been really successful in scaling our ecommerce offering,” he said.
And Scale Digital’s Kerin rounded off the discussion by advising that “brands should be more innovative and take risks with their ecommerce marketing campaigns by experimenting with automation technology to grow at scale.”
By gaining deeper insights across the customer journey and shopping basket partners, brands can monitor partner performance to really understand what's driving growth. Once you know that, it is possible to leverage automation to efficiently scale and boost revenues.
Working together, the possibilities are endless.
Owen Hancock is marketing director EMEA at Impact
Watch 'The holy trinity: How agency, brand and platform combined to improve measurement and automation in ecommerce marketing' - featuring Impact, eve Sleep and Scale Digital - on demand here.