In the spirit of the holidays and banding together to achieve common goals, I want to talk about one of the most effective, and often overlooked, forms of marketing: affinity marketing.
When a business partners with another business or organization to provide a product or service in exchange for access to a new set of potential customers, both partners stand to benefit through affinity marketing.
Here’s a mainstream example of affinity marketing – the relationship between Visa and Amazon. Visa offers credit cards to Amazon customers, gaining new customers for itself. Amazon presumably gains more orders from customers taking advantage of the rewards points they receive from shopping on Amazon.
In the sports arena, sponsorships in exchange for advertising on uniforms or stadium walls drive affinity relationships.
But affinity marketing has the potential to be so much more.
In life science marketing, we see affinity marketing at play through collaborations between companies and universities to develop new products. The university publishes its findings, leading to product sales for the partner company.
We also see equipment and consumables companies partner together to provide free consumables samples with new machine purchases. Scientists receive free products and often convert into long-term customers for the consumables company.
Affinity marketing is all about choosing the right partner and aligning your goals to create a combined ROI that is greater than what you would be able to achieve on your own. So how do you pick the right partner?
- Values. Look for an organization that shares your corporate values and beliefs. Find people you connect with on a professional and personal level with a mission you can stand behind.
- Big Picture Goals. Make sure you share common goals. Whether it is curing cancer or bringing vaccinations to third-world countries, agree on a high-level vision that resonates with everyone on your team.
- Audience. Determine how you can leverage each other’s contacts to maximize the impact of your individual and combined efforts.
- Mutual Benefit. Identify areas of mutual interest to focus on, driving long-term relationships centered around real change and growth for both groups.
- Synergy. Make sure that there is positive energy, not a competitive atmosphere, between your teams. Challenge each other to work smarter, helping each other along the way.
- Measurement. Set milestones and keep each other accountable to your partnership and mutual goals.
As we look toward 2016, it’s time to get creative about how we work together to reach new markets and achieve our common goals. Contact Bill White to learn how you can use affinity marketing to reach new audiences.