Kent Grayson, Associate Professor of Marketing, Kellogg School of Management
In preparation for our Marketing, Content & Commerce event in New York ...
Jair Lopez, Associate Director for Affiliate Marketing at TelevisaUnivision, always felt that his natural talents aligned with affiliate, which he sees as far more people-oriented than other channels.
It requires “conversing with actual human beings versus being programmatic or behind an algorithm,” Lopez said.
Though the channel has begun to adopt a lot of the technology across the industry to drive growth, it is unique in that it will always likely be people-oriented because of partnerships, he said. Naturally, those in affiliate have to build relationships with publishers and team members – something that Lopez observed in his roles at CJ and Partnerize and then as the affiliate marketing manager for Disney Streaming Services in Latin America before he took on his current role.
Lopez’s time at CJ and Partnerize exposed him to a variety of verticals, strategies and brands and he got to see the variety of different priorities between advertisers. He said he had the “opportunity to just be a sponge,” learning about different areas in order to figure out what was the best fit for him.
“I didn’t necessarily go into affiliate with a plan to end up where I am today,” he said. But after working with different teams, he found himself gravitating toward certain verticals – ones that were different from what he’d imagine he’d end up doing after studying finance in college.
“There’s no real secret formula,” Lopez said. “It’s just: Find the niche, find the vertical you really like and learn as much as you can.”
He’s found opportunity working in Latin America, where the affiliate landscape has matured over the last five years but still remains behind the U.S. Growing it even further takes a “boots on the ground” approach to relationship building, which Lopez loves. That involves calling publishers and educating them on the value of affiliate.
“What I genuinely like about Latin America is that I can be at the forefront of those conversations with publishers looking to expand their growth strategy on their side,” Lopez said.
TelevisaUnivision is the first Spanish-only streaming service in 19 countries and territories and “was just a fantastic” opportunity to build affiliate for such a well-known media company. But there are challenges to growing affiliate marketing in a market like Mexico, where two-thirds of the population is unbanked.
“It’s one of those learning curves that you have to be in the market to understand,” he said. “ It actually suits the strengths of affiliate marketers where we have to develop these relationships and these partnerships with these types of partners that aren’t traditional to be able to reach our end users.”
Lopez sees the shift away from traditional affiliate into editorial as aligning well with his work in streaming.
“I think the last-click, last-touch model – which has been the cornerstone of how we commission forever – is slowly progressing toward giving more credit where credit is due,” he said. “And I think editorial partners are going to be the real benefactor of that. Because they do provide a lot of value.”