One of the best ways to grow your business is to market your brand through partnerships that can drive sales.
Many brands do this with affinity marketing.
Whether you’re new to affinity marketing or looking to improve upon existing marketing efforts, a well-structured affinity partnership can boost your return on investment.
Ready to learn more? Here are five ways to boost the ROI of your affinity marketing program.
What is Affinity Marketing?
Affinity marketing involves a partnership that includes your brand and another brand.
The two brands work together to develop and promote marketing campaigns that will benefit each company individually and expose both to new audiences.
Have you ever booked a flight on United Airlines and received a discount to rent a car at Hertz? Have you ever signed up for an American Express credit card with an Amazon logo on it? Have you ever eaten Doritos Locos Tacos at Taco Bell? These are all examples of affinity marketing partnerships.
Organizations and nonprofits play an important role in affinity marketing, as well.
For example, AARP offers its members discounts from a variety of different partners, including Harry & David and 1-800-Flowers.com. The retailers benefit by getting new customers through AARP. AARP benefits by retaining and accruing new members that want those discounts and deals. Both increase brand awareness.
Learn more ways to increase ROI: What is Partner Channel Management (And How Can it Boost Profits?)
How to Boost ROI From Your Affinity Program
Any brand can enter into an affinity marketing program with another brand. That’s easy.
What’s not as easy is developing and implementing a successful plan that drives sales, engages new customers, and boosts your ROI.
If you want your next affinity partnership to be a success, here are the five things you need to do.
1. Dedicate Resources So You Can Build a Strong Program
To build the strongest affinity program possible, you’ll need a marketing expert who knows the tricks of the trade.
Some brands think that their existing marketing team is equipped to do the job. But affinity marketing is quite different than traditional marketing methods.
Your current marketing manager may be an expert in digital or print ads, direct marketing, or social media. Still, if they don’t understand partnership programs, they won’t be of much help.
Unless you have a partnership marketing expert in house, it’s best to hire a management group to handle it for you. The right marketing agency can develop, run, analyze, and monitor your entire affinity program for you from start to finish.
If you want a successful launch and long-term success, you’ll need to dedicate the financial resources required to get the job done.
2. Find the Right Partners
Every successful relationship consists of compatible partners, and affinity programs are no different.
Without the right partner, this marketing strategy can actually hurt your bottom line.
It’s crucial to find partners that have the same target audience as you, and the Taco Bell/Doritos partnership is a great example of this.
Here’s why it works:
Both brands share a similar customer base – young people looking for an inexpensive meal or snack. Neither brand is trying to attract a health-conscious customer, an elderly adult, or a serious foodie.
Customers of both brands are either already interested in the other brand or likely to become interested. It’s that connection that makes it such a successful partnership.
Hiring a marketing agency is the best way to ensure that you’ll find the right partners to work with. Once you find those partners, you’ll need to maintain good communication. Keep them up to date on new products, new promotions, and new trends in your industry.
Create a program with the wrong partner, and it could backfire.
If your customers have no interest in the other brand, you could push them away.
3. Make the Partnership Beneficial to All Parties
For the partnership to work, both parties need to do their fair share. And the only way to get two different brands to work equally together is to make the program beneficial to both.
Both parties involved need to have something to gain. For example, United Airlines may steal a few customers from Southwest because booking at United will help you save on a Hertz rental car. At the same time, Hertz stands to gain new customers simply because United is offering that deal.
Affinity partners can be quite valuable, as long as they stand to gain something in the process. If the partnership is one-sided, it will be nearly impossible to keep the other partner on board.
4. Create a Well-Structured Program
Every successful affinity marketing program begins with a well-structured plan.
This plan includes having a scalable infrastructure in place. Both partners should have access to automated tracking and reporting so that each can monitor their results.
You also need to establish some ground rules at the start of the partnership.
Both parties involved should know and agree upon the guidelines. Both should understand the parameters of the agreement and understand what’s expected of them throughout the campaign. Set some benchmarks and monitor the progress together to make sure that each partner is getting what they need out of the relationship.
How do you measure growth? Learn more here: What are Incremental Sales?
5. Analyze Your Metrics
There’s no point in having a partner who isn’t bringing in something of value. Depending on your business, that value could be more sales, a growing following, or a bigger membership base. You can measure the success of your campaign in a variety of ways, as long as you pay attention to the metrics.
By analyzing your metrics, you can determine if a campaign is working. You can see if you’re generating leads. You can decide if your marketing budget is worth what you’re getting in return.
Analyze your metrics and monitor your campaigns to see if your partners are worth keeping. With this information, you can adjust your budget accordingly.
Get inspiration: The Top 5 Co-Branding and Affinity Partnerships + Why They Worked
Follow these five steps to build a successful campaign, grow your business, and increase your marketing ROI. Without these elements in place, you could actually end up hurting your business more than helping it.
For more information on affinity partnerships and marketing management, contact Streamline now.