For two summers I delivered bags of ice to gas stations, grocery store, and liquor stores. It was sweaty, tough work. But what kept me hustling was the compensation model.

I was paid on commission. The more ice I moved, the better my day’s earnings. Back then, $18 an hour was gold for a college student.

Compensation tied to measurable results is good for both business owner and employee. It means the employee is going to be more productive and it gives the employee more ownership.

This is why affiliate marketing is one of the best tools brands can use to drive ROI. You’re not forking over money and hoping it pays off. You’re paying commensurate to results.

But to be successful with affiliate marketing, you need a great team behind you. Here’s who you need in your corner to make it work for you.

1. A Scalable Network or Platform

Technology is what makes affiliate marketing so powerful today. This form of marketing wasn’t possible even twenty years ago.

You need a tech platform that will support your plans for growth. You need the right features for your brand and it needs to target your audience in their geographical region.

For example, certain brands may want third party tracking or advanced commissioning models. In order to keep from wasting money, you’ll need to learn what works and apply it to various sales channels.

2. Players Who Are Establishing Loyal Customers

If you go to your local java joint, your barista might offer you a punch card. “Get nine drinks and get the tenth one free.” He says.

You’re working on a much larger scale, but you want people to be loyal to your brand. You want them to keep coming back and buying more of what you’ve got to offer.

Companies like Ebates offer partnerships to businesses both local and online. You can give your affiliate partners something to offer your customers and clients in exchange for repeated business. And repeat customers are what you need for future brand survival.

3. Publishers in Advanced Tech

Deal and coupon partners are still integral to affiliate marketing. But if you’ve ever taken an affiliate marketing training course, you understand how much more tech is involved.

Publishers who specialize in A.I and deep website integration will be a boon to your online affiliate work. If you want more conversions, you need personalized deals. And you can’t get personalization without data.

Why do you need A.I.? Because machine learning algorithms can now hook in to real-time signals from your users. They can deliver on behavior analysis and automatically show your customers what they want.

By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.