New Balance and Matterkind took home the 2022 Gold Award for Best Multi Channel Campaign Strategy: Modernized Partnerships to Drive Cross-Channel Collaboration at the inaugural US Partnership Awards.  The two companies worked together to bolster New Balance’s affiliate program and diversify partnerships; the results are outlined in one judges commentary, “[The campaign] demonstrates the ability to use data to optimize across various channels and how affiliate marketing should be viewed in the media mix.” 

The Partnership Awards recognizes the best of the best in partnership, affiliate, performance, and influencer marketing.  For more information on the awards, click here for US Partnership coverage and here for coverage from PerformanceIN.  

Read our full case study with New Balance below.

New Balance recently embarked on a journey to elevate and reinforce its position as a premium lifestyle & performance brand. As part of this journey, New Balance realized it needed to reinvigorate and modernize its affiliate marketing program. Historically undervalued and misunderstood at New Balance, affiliate programs were largely dependent upon a handful of lower-funnel, discount and coupon-focused tactic and partners that underperformed. The programs suffered from lack of performance insight and transparency in large part due to challenges with the existing platform capabilities and setup. This left the affiliate channel siloed from other marketing channels and its strategic significance weakened.

To address the challenges of this channel, Matterkind helped New Balance focused on the following: 
Audit Partners to Diversify Partner Mix and Lower Underperforming Dependencies 

  • Over a 12-month period, Matterkind transitioned dependency on coupon sites from 90 to 10%; removing 38 discount partners that drove little or no value.
  • At the same time Matterkind onboarded 100+ new partners and significantly grew program revenue YoY, driving top-of-funnel conversions and capturing consumers in ‘discovery mode’ during purchase journey.

Establish New Strategic Partnerships That Better Aligned with Brand Strategy and Highly Indexed with Desired Audiences, including:  

  • Traditional Publications: NYPost, Buzzfeed, Gear Patrol, et al., created advertorial content around key search terms like ‘Best Running Shoes’ and ‘Essential Apparel for Winter.’ 
  • Influencers: Sourced and setup sneakerhead influencers like Hes Kicks and Eddie Win to review products and deliver content on product quality, brand history, new releases, etc.
  • Key Opinion Leaders: Hypebeast, Highsnobiety, Complex, and other websites and communities that influence trends, brand affinity and purchase behavior.  

Provide Measurement and Transparency to Align with Cross-Channel Teams and Drive Visibility, Collaboration & Long-Term Brand Strategy  

  • Better able to understand channel and partner value and identify opportunities for cost savings and re-investment into other or new partners.
  • Championed program to ensure agency channel and brand teams understood the types, value and influence of partnerships. Now seen as valued channel from leadership. 
  • Other internal teams, including PR, brands, and lifestyle have all begun engaging with partners and incorporating into omni-channel strategy. For example, PR now has a process where products and education materials to explain technical aspects of shoes are seeded directly to affiliate partners. 

Matterkind educated leadership on recent innovations with new partnership categories improved technology and measurement and how competitors were utilizing the channel for business growth. By working together, New Balance and Matterkind completely revamped their affiliate and partnership programs to drive outcomes that aligned with the premium lifestyle and performance positioning.