A4U Performance Marketing Insight and their Performance Marketing Awards consign the word affiliate to the dustbin. Whilst that massive late entry into the affiliate space, Google plumped for the name Google Affiliate Network (GAN) only to rapidly close down this April and the term 'affiliate' with it.
As marketing moves with the fashion, this season 'Performance Marketing' is that eye catching black number that everyone seems to want - with affiliate stuff being cast off into the stockroom only to be re-badged and put back out in the shop window.
However, terminology is a huge, huge, deal in direct marketing - image is everything. The problem with the term affiliate I think, it that it's cites a form of marketing that directly puts the publisher in the spotlight rather than the advertiser, channel or purpose - it indicates no why's or how's to the outsider. Whereas performance marketing is clean and focuses on the mechanism that publishers, advertisers and networks all work to. So, as the term affiliate falls from grace and I predict it will soon be consigned to history, we are left with an industry full of affiliate executives, managers and directors.
With the industry's rapid evolvement, maybe it's time we all adopted Performance Marketing sooner rather than later to avoid confusing marketers who have enough conflicting terminology to deal with as it is.
Lastly, as the new cool 'Performance Marketing' tends to get banded around everywhere these days, I believe it's worth making a distinction. I think the true essence of Performance Marketing is where all those involved (advertiser, publisher, agency, network) are working on a risk performance basis. For me, cost per sale/acquisition (CPS/CPA) marketing is not performance marketing at all, as all risk is taken by the publisher (affiliate!). Lead generation marketing is where all parties are performing to ensure it works for all which is why the term 'Performance Lead Marketing' sums it up perfectly.