Affinity marketing is the practice of expanding a business’ consumer base through a partnership with other businesses or organizations around mutual interests.
Business owners such as yourself understand how important marketing is for your company. When done correctly through the right venues, it can be especially advantageous for your business.
There are, however, a lot of pitfalls in the game of marketing and it’s important you stay current on new marketing strategies.
Traditional methods of advertising aren’t nearly as effective as they used to be.
Simply relying on the newspaper to advertise doesn’t work anymore. It can help, but people don’t read newspapers as much as they used to.
Why lug around a bulky newspaper when you can read the news in the palm of your hand on your phone or tablet, right?
A useful resource to consider is affinity marketing, especially if you are a business owner trying to expand your customer base to a certain group of people.
What is affinity marketing?
Affinity marketing is basically a partnership you form with an affinity group to promote your products or services to its members. Affinity groups are non-profit groups and organizations whose members all share the same interest or goal.
For instance, RedFynn and the Mesa Chamber of Commerce have an affinity partnership, making up just one partnership of the larger multi-partner affinity group.
Each time the Mesa Chamber holds an event, we can be there to get our name out to other business owners, the public and new members of the Chamber, thus expanding our client base.
Groups can be small or large, depending on the group. Some are national groups with members all across the country. Organizations like the YMCA and Boy and Girl Scouts of America both have nationwide affinity groups.
There are many local affinity groups available you could potentially form a partnership with.
Why is a partnership with an affinity group a good idea?
Well, let’s be clear, not every partnership with affinity groups ends up giving each what they want.
It is up to you to do your research on the affinity group you are considering and examine whether their modus operandi aligns with your business practices.
Every partnership requires effort on both sides to make it work. If one side isn’t pulling their weight, the partnership will fail. Communication with the group is key.
Partnerships with these groups can help you extend your customer base. An otherwise untapped market could be yours if you can work out a successful partnership with an efficiently run affinity group.
The group will promote your products to its members in exchange for perks and discounts for your products and services. Obviously the better offers you present to the group, the more inclined they will be to form a partnership with your business.
Credit card companies do this quite often. Whether it be with a sports team or an airline, they provide the members perks for using their card. They usually display their teams logo on it or the name of the airline.
We’ve all seen these cards before. Chances are there’s one in your wallet or purse right now.
Any time a member of the affinity group buys a product using the company’s credit card, they get a discount or accumulate points they can then use when they purchase other products later.
If you are a small business just trying to break out, this type of marketing is one worth exploring. If you can form a reciprocal relationship with the affinity group, they will return the favor and do a lot to encourage their members to buy your products.
Discounts usually speak for themselves, and if you offer them an attractive package, the partnership will do the work for you.
There are certain things you should be aware of as it relates to affinity marketing. Understanding the nature of the customer you are trying to reach is important.
Do you have something they would be interested in?
What sense would it make for a hardware store owner to form a partnership with a reading club?
Unless the members are trying to build a library of their own, chances are they will reject a proposed partnership with a hardware supplier.
But maybe you own a bookstore or you sell books online. Offering a book club’s affinity members discount for purchasing books from you might be something they could get on board with, don’t you think?
Making an affinity marketing move which makes sense to both your business goals and the affinity group’s interests is definitely a better recipe for success than just choosing a random organization which may have little or no interest in your product.
The best way to make a beneficial and long lasting marketing decision is through research. Decide what demographic or group of people you are trying to reach and then examine which affinity groups and organizations within that group it makes sense to pursue.
Which ones will gobble up your discounts like tomorrow’s news? There’s a good place to start.