High levels of horizontal integration lead to high levels of communication within the business. Another benefit of using this strategy is that it leads to a larger market for merged businesses, and it is easier to build good reputations for a business when using this strategy. A disadvantage of using a diversification strategy is that the benefits could take a while to start showing, which could lead the business to believe that the strategy in ineffective. Another disadvantage or risk is, it has been shown that using the horizontal diversification method has become harmful for stock value, but using the vertical diversification had the best effects.
A disadvantage of using the horizontal integration strategy is that this limits and restricts the field of interest that the business. Horizontal integration can affect a business's reputation, especially after a merge has happened between two or more businesses. There are three main benefits to a business's reputation after a merge. A larger business helps the reputation and increases the severity of the punishment. As well as the merge of information after a merge has happened, this increases the knowledge of the business and marketing area they are focused on. The last benefit is more opportunities for deviation to occur in merged businesses rather than independent businesses.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.
Affiliates discussed the issues in Internet forums and began to organize their efforts. They believed that the best way to address the problem was to discourage merchants from advertising via adware. Merchants that were either indifferent to or supportive of adware were exposed by affiliates, thus damaging those merchants' reputations and tarnishing their affiliate marketing efforts. Many affiliates either terminated the use of such merchants or switched to a competitor's affiliate program. Eventually, affiliate networks were also forced by merchants and affiliates to take a stand and ban certain adware publishers from their network. The result was Code of Conduct by Commission Junction/beFree and Performics, LinkShare's Anti-Predatory Advertising Addendum, and ShareASale's complete ban of software applications as a medium for affiliates to promote advertiser offers. Regardless of the progress made, adware continues to be an issue, as demonstrated by the class action lawsuit against ValueClick and its daughter company Commission Junction filed on April 20, 2007.
A more complex system, pay per lead affiliate programs compensates the affiliate based on the conversion of leads. The affiliate must persuade the consumer to visit the merchant’s website and complete the desired action — whether it’s filling out a contact form, signing up for a trial of a product, subscribing to a newsletter, or downloading software or files.
From there, companies were developed that would interview people on the street about publications that they read and whether they recognized any ads that were published in the magazines or newspapers the interviewer showed them. Data collected from these interviews were compared to the circulation of the publication in order to see how effective those ads were. Market research and surveys were adapted from these early techniques.
Growth of a business is critical for business success. A firm may grow by developing the market or by developing new products. The Ansoff product and market growth matrix illustrates the two broad dimensions for achieving growth. The Ansoff matrix identifies four specific growth strategies: market penetration, product development, market development and diversification.
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^ Brown, L., Competitive Marketing Strategy: Dynamic Manoeuvring for Competitive Position, Melbourne, Nelson, 1997; West, D., Ford, J. and Ibrahim, E., Strategic Marketing: Creating Competitive Advantage, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2010, p. 50-56; Schaars, S.p., Marketing Strategy, The Free Press, 1998, [Chapter 4 - 'A Brief History of Marketing Strategy'], pp 18-29
Two-tier programs exist in the minority of affiliate programs; most are simply one-tier. Referral programs beyond two-tier resemble multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing but are different: Multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing associations tend to have more complex commission requirements/qualifications than standard affiliate programs.
Affiliate marketing overlaps with other Internet marketing methods to some degree, because affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organic search engine optimization (SEO), paid search engine marketing (PPC – Pay Per Click), e-mail marketing, content marketing, and (in some sense) display advertising. On the other hand, affiliates sometimes use less orthodox techniques, such as publishing reviews of products or services offered by a partner.
Affiliate marketing has grown quickly since its inception. The e-commerce website, viewed as a marketing toy in the early days of the Internet, became an integrated part of the overall business plan and in some cases grew to a bigger business than the existing offline business. According to one report, the total sales amount generated through affiliate networks in 2006 was £2.16 billion in the United Kingdom alone. The estimates were £1.35 billion in sales in 2005. MarketingSherpa's research team estimated that, in 2006, affiliates worldwide earned US$6.5 billion in bounty and commissions from a variety of sources in retail, personal finance, gaming and gambling, travel, telecom, education, publishing, and forms of lead generation other than contextual advertising programs.
Market research provides relevant data to help solve marketing challenges that a business will most likely face--an integral part of the business planning process. In fact, strategies such as market segmentation (identifying specific groups within a market) and product differentiation (creating an identity for a product or service that separates it from those of the competitors) are impossible to develop without market research.