Affiliate’s Real Competition

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Affiliate Excellence

Written by Brook Schaaf

Of late, I have been listening to CEO Excellence by three McKinsey senior partners, Carolyn Dewar, Scott Keller, and Vikram Malhotra. The book distills stories, perspectives, and best practices that might be useful to executives (assuming my own situation is not hopeless).

One particular anecdote jumped out at me as relevant for the affiliate space: Ajay Banga, former CEO of MasterCard, who said, “We thought of ourselves as a payments company until we realized only 20 percent of all transactions happened electronically; let’s kill cash.”

In other words, MasterCard had been preoccupied with its electronic payment competitors before reorienting itself to displace cash. During Banga’s tenure from 2010 to 2020, MasterCard’s market capitalization increased tenfold, from $30 billion to $300 billion.

Other factors like the rise in e-commerce undoubtedly contributed to the growth of MasterCard and its competitors, but it seems Banga took full advantage of circumstances, which is something not to be taken for granted.

The analogy and inspiration for affiliate and the larger performance marketing space is clear: how do we kill non-monetized links?

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