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Tye DeGrange, Round Barn Labs

May 23, 2024 by Michael McNerney

Tye DeGrange, the founder and CEO of Round Barn Labs still hears from a lot of people who think affiliate is a “one trick pony.”


“There are so many brands that are not running it properly,” he said, adding that too often brands look at affiliate as a “set it and forget it” channel and aren’t intentional about their media mix. That can look like overindexing on coupon and loyalty or overspending on influencer marketing, he said.


The aim of Round Barn Labs is to be a “multichannel and multilever, coming at it in a very objective and data-driven way” to drive growth through experimentation. 


Before founding the growth marketing agency in 2014, DeGrange was running acquisitions for startups in San Francisco and hearing from people who wanted advice about setting up affiliate programs and thinking about multichannel marketing. By then he’d already had several years of experience (including jobs at eBay and Commission Junction) in the affiliate world, an industry he said he “stumbled into” after a series of odd jobs post-college. 


Despite all the changes in the industry, DeGrange said there’s still value in strong storytelling—something he doesn’t see enough of. 

“If you invest in the affiliate channel, it can give back so much if you’re willing to do that and tell a story,” he said, adding that doing it well “takes time, takes strategy, and takes alignment across teams.”


The strength – and challenge – of affiliate is how much of it is human-based, rather than purely automated, DeGrange said. It’s about relationships and delivering a story of value to consumers. 


With that in mind, Round Barn Labs is always looking for better ways to “make inroads on the data side for incrementality and attribution,” DeGrange said. 


“There are so many people who think the channel is a one-trick pony when it’s really not,” he said.