June 18, 2009, 12:00 AM

The affiliates that rise to the top need special attention, Petco says

At Petco Animal Supplies, 5% of the multichannel retailer`s affiliates drive the bulk of its affiliate sales. So it dedicates the majority of its affiliate time and resources to them, passing along special sales and coupons, and even site content.

There`s the 80/20 Rule, and then there`s the 95/5. That`s the one Petco Animal Supplies Inc. operates under when it comes to affiliate marketing: 5% of its 2,000 affiliates drive the bulk of affiliate sales.

As a result, it`s key to affiliate marketing success to treat these top-ranking affiliates special.

"Time is money, so there`s no need to waste your time trying to engage all the affiliates in your program when you know the top 5% are bringing most of your volume," said Stacey Georgoulis, affiliate and partnership marketing manager at Petco. She spoke at the IRCE during a session titled "Rewards and Relationships in Affiliates." "It doesn`t mean ignore everyone else, but your time is best spent making stronger relationships with the people who are driving the big sales, they become like a partner. And you always want to reward top performers to encourage them to keep producing and hopefully increase performance."

Petco gives its best performers special coupons or sales. With coupons, it may give them codes containing the affiliate`s name, which, Georgoulis says, makes them feel unique. And if an affiliate is a site with members, such offers can create stronger bonds between members and affiliates.

Another tactic employed by Petco, No. 186 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is to reward high-performing affiliates is sharing valuable e-commerce site content.

"We have everything about pets, pet ownership, pet travel, and so on," she said. "We can leverage that with others` sites where they have members who are interested in reading up on pets."

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