January 30, 2014 | Debbi A. Ballard | Comments 2
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My Interview with the VP of eBay Enterprise, Steve Denton

copyright, 2014, Debbi A. Ballard All rights reserved worldwide.

My interview with the VP of eBay Enterprise, Steve Denton, was initiated by eBay’s PR firm, Edelman. The firm reached out to me via email to ask if I would be interested in interviewing Steve at Affiliate Summit West 2014. The event was just held in Las Vegas with over 5400 affiliates, networkers, merchants, and vendors in attendance. As usual, the Affiliate Summit was great with many excellent speakers providing important information. It was one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended anywhere.

As part of the media covering the event, I was already getting requests from others asking to be interviewed when I was approached by eBay’s PR firm. Since I also try to go to as many seminars and keynotes as possible to review, I was very busy planning my schedule.

As you know, I don’t report on just large global enterprises but also on those smaller firms which I feel are already contributing in some way to helping businesses flourish. So I just don’t jump to say “Yes” when a high profile multinational firm contacts me. This holds true regardless of what they want, be it an interview, consulting, speaking engagement, expert witness work, etc.

So why did I decide to move forward with an interview of the VP of eBay Enterprise, Steve Denton?

Here’s why.

I enjoy tracking the development of companies and how they evolve and expand into other areas. I knew eBay had definitely made some major moves from their original “online auction” personna. With acquisitions like PayPal, Magento, GSI Commerce (the latter included the Pepperjam Affiliate Network), along with many other acquisitions, the firm had greatly expanded its scope.

I had also written and spoken about how eBay, Amazon and the entire world of e-commerce and affiliate marketing were transforming the huge home-based business income opportunity space worldwide. This space also includes the over $165 billion direct selling industry with its estimated 90 million independent marketers. Multilevel marketing, also referred to as “network marketing” makes up the overwhelming share of the direct selling industry. In addition a recent post I wrote on marketing to Millennials along with several other posts addressed mobile marketing and other topics I knew Steve was going to address in his keynote.

While eBay Inc. runs its own affiliate marketing program for eBay Marketplaces within the eBay Partner Network, eBay Enterprise, formerly GSI’s Pepperjam Affiliate Network, is the business that powers the technology and network for merchants outside of Marketplaces that want to increase sales via their own respective affiliate marketing programs.

So Steve has a lot of valuable insights garnered from his previous 10+ years in affiliate marketing along with his present position with eBay Enterprise.

Now do you see why I agreed to interview Steve?

The Allure of Authenticity

Steve started his keynote by telling everyone he was “nervous.” To this crowd, that was not a negative but a good thing. To the thousands of young affiliates in the audience, this meant he respected them even though he was older and much more experienced. This was also an exhibition of authenticity. When you speak in front of a crowd, especially one that includes thousands of young entrepreneurs, you had better be genuine. So there was no arrogance but just an eagerness to share what he knew.

And that opening made the crowd receptive to what followed.

Steve explained that eBay Enterprise has over 2200 global clients that use its marketing solutions, its commerce technologies, and its omnichannel operations. The Marketing Solutions division, which Steve oversees, offers the availability of its proprietary affiliate network platform, media services and analytics and attribution services. There are over 70 major brands included in the network such as Sports Authority, Toys ‘r Us and Aeropostale.

The Commerce Technologies division concentrates on retail interfaces, omnichannel inventory management, payments and fraud management reporting. The Omnichannel Operations division offers fulfillment and freight, store based fulfillment, dropship management and customer service.

Integration is the focus with the customer at the center. How does the merchant best engage, convert, deliver and retain customers?

This is tracked by eBay Enterprise at all touch points from when the person first reads about the product and the pathway followed before finally purchasing. I wrote about the importance of attribution in another article and understand the great value this brings to the table for both affiliates and merchants.

What the Data Shows about Affiliate Marketing

The conversion rate is higher when an affiliate is involved in the transaction.

The average order value (AOV) is higher with an affiliate in the pathway.

Most conversions (73%) where an affiliate is involved occur within 30 minutes from the last affiliate click.

Over 20% of affiliate clicks that led to a purchase were actually the first touch point contact made by the customer.

Nearly one-half of all customers who closed via affiliate links are new customers who had no purchases on the site within the last twelve months.

So affiliates introduce a lot of new customers, influence them to buy and when they do, the average order value is higher.

I asked Steve if he had data relating to the new customers created by affiliates and the percentage of them that actually got paid for certain actions relating to those new customers (sales, clicks or leads). He did not have that information available.

Mobile Marketing and Coupons – the Next Battleground

According to Steve, the next battleground for marketers will be dealing with mobile marketing and coupons. He stated that over 100 million Americans use digital coupons and usage is predicted to increase over 20% in 2014.

He suggested the following…

Optimize for mobile and don’t just copy your website.

Harness omnichannel behavior letting customers redeem coupons
offline and online.

Leverage your store’s employees.
(Consider allowing your store employees to actually become affiliates whereby they can promote online and in person.)

Enable multi-action commissions.
(For a new customer acquired = $$$? plus paid on the initial transaction amount = certain percentage, plus paid higher for an upsell transaction exceeding a certain amount, etc.)

I inquired about the use of coupons and how eBay Enterprise was different from other networks as to how affiliates could utilize them to facilitate creating more sales. Steve said that by combining affiliate technology with retargeting technology, affiliates can give customers relevant offers through dynamic links. Coupons can be tailored to a customer’s profile taking into consideration if he/she is a new customer or a repeat customer along with other factors. In providing for this, eBay Enterprise gives affiliates their own respective unique coupon codes.

Steve referred to this feature as one of their “commerce catalysts” and stated that few marketing companies can provide this for their affiliates. Anything that can better address each customer’s particular needs and wants can obviously result in greater conversions. So this, too, is an asset to both affiliates and merchants.

What do you do next?

Armed with the knowledge that you now have from my interview with the VP of eBay Enterprise, Steve Denton, you should understand the value you bring to merchants as an affiliate, have a high regard for what you do, and look to expand your affiliate marketing business by taking full advantage of the platforms, tools and resources provided by certain networks like eBay Enterprise. Kudos to Steve Denton for a motivating, enlightening keynote.

P.S. And whether you’re involved in affiliate marketing or network marketing (or both), thanks for being an avid reader of this blog and MyNetBrief(tm) which are published by my firm. INLC is the leading marketing and management consulting firm in the world addressing the crossover issues and convergence strategies of those marketing models.

We value your feedback so feel free to leave a comment below and if you enjoyed this article, please tweet it to your followers and share on Facebook. Thank you for interacting with us!

Sources: for certain data referred to by Steve in his keynote. Direct selling information based on research by the Direct Selling Association.

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Filed Under: MLM ArticlesMLM and Affiliate Marketing


About the Author: MLM Consultant, Expert Witness, Author, Blogger, Speaker and CEO of International Network Liaison Corporation...but more importantly, wife, mother, daughter, aunt, cousin and friend.

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  1. Great information from your interview Debbi…I think eBay Enterprise can really do great things to lead the affiliate industry…if they can keep an open mind and consult with someone like you. Great work and very nice meeting you at the Summit

  2. Joey, thanks so much for the kind words. Glad you enjoyed my interview with Steve Denton from eBay Enterprise. Nice meeting you as well at Affiliate Summit.

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