Frank Ravanelli is the Head of Affiliates, Asia & EMEA, for the Swedish beauty and luxury brand FOREO. Frank has operated in eMarketing since 1995, and in affiliate marketing since 1999. He has worked internationally, with locations including London, USA, Estonia, Canada and now Hong Kong, managing the affiliate programs of leading USA eCommerce and SaaS Corporations, before specialising in performance marketing for luxury and beauty.
 
We spoke to Frank ahead of his presentation and panel discussion at Forward Leading’s Digital Marketing Leaders Summit Hong Kong 2018, discussed the challenges of affiliate marketing in both Asia and the Western world, the future of artificial intelligence’s role and top tips for utilizing data for marketing strategies. 

1) What are some key challenges you face in affiliate marketing?
The main challenge is to achieve a balance between the need to keep scaling-up fast our affiliate-driven sales, and the need to keep solid risk-management processes to ensure sales are genuine and in line with our guidelines. Also, due to the global nature of affiliate marketing, it creates many opportunities – which is also a challenge, because what is done in a given geographical location needs to be both local and also coordinated on a global level.
 
2) How do you see digital marketing evolving over the next five years?
Digital will keep being mobile-driven, both in terms of activities performed on the mobile screen and other activities performed on devices connected to the mobile. This will keep affecting the scope of the user-interface and the attention span of consumers. Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions that offer a transparent way to customize one's digital experience, within the privacy options selected by the user, will be pivotal.
 
3) What are some of the differences between marketing in Asia and the Western World?
There’s one major difference: EMEA and North America consumers tend to be retailer/marketplace-driven. They want one place they trust, and then perform all their shopping there. In Asia, shopping is often brand-driven, customers value the option to interact directly from a brand. Also, in terms of affiliate marketing, the West is now less sophisticated than Asia. Thanks to more powerful and wide-spread mobile payment solutions, affiliate marketing in Asia is often app-driven, more so than in the rest of the world.
 
4) What new marketing strategies have you attempted in 2018?
We’ve tested multi-point of contact affiliate marketing: we drive sales through affiliate marketing on our website, on retailers’ websites, marketplaces, stores, etc. Most of the affiliate marketeers focus on their own eCommerce site and often ignore the rest. This does create a challenge for us: with ever-expanding teams, the vast majority of time we need to train our talent instead of just finding someone ready to start on the job market. Because the skills we search for are not nurtured by other eCommerce players.
 
5) As data becomes pivotal to creating more personalised experiences, how are you best optimising your data for marketing?
In terms of product, LUNA fofo bridges AI with our customers’ daily cleansing routine. In terms of promotional approaches, we keep collecting data so we can optimize the calculations of expected ROI/reach for the hybrid campaigns we run. My top tip is to keep cross-referencing trends across geos and affiliates to identify opportunities that are manifest in one market but may be untapped in another.

Frank Ravanelli will be presenting at Forward Leading’s Digital Marketing Leaders Summit in Hong Kong on December 6 - 7, 2018. His talk will be ‘Belt & Road Initiative Meets Affiliate Marketing’ where he will present approaches such as Hybrid Influencer Marketing, to both affiliates who want to grow their business, and brands who want to grow their affiliate program, so they can benefit from the harmonious geopolitics of eCommerce. He will also be participating in the panel discussion ‘Global Performance Marketing Trends’, joining other leading digital marketers to give an insight into what trends to look out for.
 
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