This post is part of our new Future of Marketing series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Piers Heaton-Armstrong, VP of Affiliate Marketing at Amazon.
1. When and how did Local Associates begin?
PH: Local Associates launched on August 2017. We recognized that our customers are influenced by their local businesses every day, who often recommend products to buy on Amazon, yet there was no way for those businesses to benefit from those recommendations. So we built the Local Associates program.
2. How does Local Associates work?
PH: Local Associates is ideal for small businesses and entrepreneurs that don’t carry inventory or carry limited inventory and helps these businesses recommend products through a curated page they create on Amazon. Participating businesses will have their own URL and can share their Amazon page link through e-mail, text or QR code. Local Associates is an extension of Amazon’s established Associates program which allows websites and blogs to recommend products on Amazon and in return receive a percentage of the sale which they initiated.
3. What are the top 3 benefits Local Associates has to offer to small businesses?
Benefit #1: Many local businesses, especially service providers, already offer expertise or product recommendations to customers without earning from those recommendations. Local Associates is free for businesses and provides another revenue stream for them. Small businesses and entrepreneurs can earn up to 10% of the purchase price when their customers purchase on Amazon after visiting their page.
Benefit #2: The Local Associates program is ideal for local face-to-face businesses that do not carry inventory or carry limited inventory. Amazon takes care of the storage and the Local Associates benefit from the sale.
Benefit #3: When a business helps a customer find a product on Amazon that they don’t carry themselves, they have a happy customer. Happy customers come back.
4. What does Amazon think about the future of marketing?
Prediction #1: Getting recommendations from people you trust and people that are experts in their field, will continue to be an important way for customers to decide what products and services to buy.
Prediction #2: Online and offline worlds are getting closer and closer. Marketing programs need to recognize and embrace that fact.
Prediction #3: Marketing has to be meaningful to the individual customers. Innovating around ways to improve marketing personalization so that marketing/advertising is seen positively by the customer, should be a key focus for any business.
5. What are the top 3 technology trends you’re seeing in marketing?
Trend #1: Marketing automation – using machine learning to improve upon the messaging and targeting of marketing to individual customers.
Trend #2: Personalization – as I mentioned above, working on ways to make marketing messages even more relevant to an individual customer.
Trend #3: Social – using influencers, especially on social media, to help drive brand awareness.
6. Why is the small business marketing industry ripe for disruption?
PH: The Internet, Social Media and even technology like SMS and messaging apps, have levelled the playing field for small businesses. It’s now easier than ever to build an online presence and earn the trust of customers by being present online. Small businesses must look for ways to promote their company and brand in a way that is meaningful to customers. That often means using their own unique knowledge and expertise to help customers.
About Piers Heaton-Armstrong
An early adopter of online sales and marketing techniques, Piers runs Amazon’s Affiliate marketing programs. Piers graduated with a Masters from the University of Aberdeen and lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.