This article was originally featured on PerformanceIN
Expanding your business into the Asia Pacific region (APAC) can be an exciting and challenging time. With 48 countries in the region, it can often lead to many wondering where to start. Australia has emerged as a growing leader in the region as more talent for partner companies and valuable brands has expanded into the country in recent years.
Australia has a population of approximately 26 million people1 with an internet penetration of 88% 2nd. E-commerce sales continued to increase compared to the previous year, with 2019 showing a steady increase of 17.2% compared to 2018.3rd While this means that digital marketing is a must for any brand nowadays, partner marketing is an outstanding product as it is a pay-for-performance channel. Brands take advantage of the minimal upfront costs of this channel and implement their digital strategy accordingly. Recent IAB Australia findings in 2020 have shown that more than a third of brands and agencies spend around 10% of their total affiliate / partnership marketing budget to further increase spending over the next 12 months. Partner marketing has shown its value in ROI and brands see the channel as a necessary part of their overall marketing strategy.
In addition to the statistics that support expanding your program to the region, Australia’s geographic location and generally Western culture make it a prime location for European and American companies to capitalize on. If you think Australia is the next step in getting your business into the APAC region, read on for some important tips and nuances for expanding your market.
1: Cultural adjustments
Overall, Australia is a westernized country with a symbiosis of Great Britain. Two of the most important cultural differences that I learned as an American are:
Relaxed work culture: Australians value work-life balance and receive at least 4 weeks of paid annual leave. Australians often take this vacation at once (which is unusual in the US) to travel to new countries and spend time with the family. Australians see their family as their top priority and are expected to close their working lives to enjoy their personal lives. Do not send them emails at the weekend, but save your email for Monday morning.
Build up trust: Trust and relationship building in Australian corporate culture are a big factor. If you do not build a relationship with your partners, you are guaranteed to come to a standstill and things will not develop further. Facetime is the key to inviting your contacts to discuss business over lunch or an afternoon drink is a common approach. Aussies want to know who they are doing business with, open up and get to know your contact on a personal and professional level, it will go miles!
2: A less mature market
The partner marketing industry in Australia is still at an early stage. For those who come from a more mature market like the UK or the US, it will take about five years for the industry to be in these countries. As partner marketing is becoming increasingly popular, there are plenty of opportunities for thought leadership, brand and partner strategy when it comes to running a program in the region. Education is the key. Brands often need to be advised that this is a pay-for-performance channel with great ROI potential, while affiliates typically need a boost to turn away from flat-spend models and adapt to a CPA.
3: The location is important
Australia is a huge country. So where do you start when you put boots on the floor? Sydney is currently the country’s leading affiliate hub, with Melbourne being a second hotspot for businesses. Remember that domestic travel is often quick and efficient. A flight from Sydney to Melbourne only takes an hour and thirty minutes. In memory of the value of Facetime in this culture, these flights are often worthwhile to build inter-city relationships with various partners in space!
4: Allocate budget to support business growth
Travel to Asia: Australia is a good starting point for the growth of the APAC business. However, you want to allocate a budget for your employees to travel to other important countries in the region. Some of the currently outstanding countries in the industry are Singapore, China, Thailand and Korea.
Events and lectures: Participating in industry events as a guest or moderator in APAC is the key to recognizing your company. Since the industry is still new here, a pioneering role is required. Holding a panel discussion is a great way to establish yourself in the market and a popular format for events.
Flat white and pints: If you know that these face-to-face meetings are valued, remember to have money to spoil your contact with a morning coffee (my Australian staple is flat white) or an afternoon pint! Oh, another thing to point out: Despite the rumors, Fosters is NOT the beer of choice here. You will be familiar with Australian beers if you take a Victoria Bitter or Coopers instead.
As the partner marketing space in APAC is becoming increasingly popular, you will not regret choosing Australia as your regional hub. The industry here is constantly evolving, and new partners, platforms and marketers are apparently entering the room weekly! The talent is incredibly hardworking, creative, and collaborative, as everyone works to educate brands about the value of the pay-for-performance channel. Given the rapid growth and success in the industry I’ve seen here in my 18 months here, I can safely say that it is only a matter of time before partner marketing in the Asia Pacific region becomes a must in the business .
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