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Affiliate marketing is starting to gain a foothold in the B2B space, but there are still a lot of challenges.

Domain registration and Web hosting are big business for B2B affiliates. Still, B2B is a much harder path for affiliates than B2C because B2B products often involve a much longer sales cycle. In addition, there is often inadequate tracking for B2B sales (from lead generation to conversion) from most affiliate networks.

It’s also hard work for the B2B vendors with host of required backend integration with their website, CRM system and other enterprise systems they have in place. It can also be a laborious process to find and recruit good affiliates with an audience that is a good match for the specific B2B product.

However, for B2B vendors using a referral program or performance marketing campaigns can be a synergistic compliment to other online and offline marketing efforts including paid ads, search and email.

I recently ran across a great, in- depth infographic on the Marketing Profs website that provided a thorough look at helping businesses create a successful B2B online marketing program.

The infographic breaks down B2B online marketing into six key components:

  • Strategy
  • Content Marketing
  • Traffic Generation
  • Lead Generation
  • Lead Management
  • Analytics and Measurement

According to infographic, created by Circle Studios, nearly 71 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing for lead generation, and 80 percent of B2B decision-makers prefer to get company info from articles rather than ads. The graphic refers to content as “the magnet that helps you get found in search results, drive inbound traffic, attract prospects, convert leads, and engage customers.”

I think over the next few years we will see many of these challenges overcome and more B2B companies leveraging the power of performance marketing with great success. And I think you’ll see a rise in affiliate bloggers in a good position to capitalize on this opportunity.