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Marketing Partnership Types
/Partners/By Streamline Marketing

Affiliate, Influencer, and Affinity Marketing: Your Full Guide to Partnership Types

The world of commerce is competitive. As a business owner, you often find yourself competing against other business owners — for exposure, for customers, and for money.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

While competition will always be an element of business, one of the best things you can do for your company is to partner with other brands or with publishers who will promote your product or service.

By forming partnerships, you can expand your audience and increase sales.

There are many different types of partnerships. But in the digital age, affinity marketing, affiliate marketing, and influencer marketing may be the most relevant.

Let’s take a closer look at how each of these partnerships works, how they differ, and why partnership marketing could be perfect for your business.

Affinity Marketing

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Affinity marketing is a type of partnership in which your brand partners with another brand on a marketing campaign.

Usually, one group provides a product or service to another. In exchange, they get access to their partner’s customer base.

For example:

It’s common for sports teams and sneaker companies to form affinity partnerships, sometimes known as brand partnerships. The sneaker company provides free shoes for the players to wear during games, getting immense amounts of exposure in return. It’s a win-win situation.

Affinity marketing campaigns take all different forms. Sometimes, it simply involves one company placing its logo on another company’s product. Other times, the two groups go so far as to develop new products together.

Benefits of Affinity Marketing

The most successful affinity marketing campaigns are mutually beneficial for both groups. They work best for organizations who want to:

Increase Memberships

Affinity programs are popular with nonprofits and membership associations.

AARP is an organization built around affinity partnerships. Their members receive special discounts at all the stores and restaurants in their affinity network. This helps them to attract new members.

Target Specific Demographics

Partnering with an affinity group can help you increase brand awareness. It can also help you to tap into new markets.

The companies that partner with AARP, for example, are companies that want to reach the 50+ audience.

Optimize Their Marketing Budget

Affinity marketing is a collaborative effort between you and another brand. With both of your marketing teams working on an affinity program, you’ll save money on your campaign.

Related: The Top 5 Co-Branding and Affinity Partnerships [+ Why They Worked]

Affiliate Marketing

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Affiliate marketing is a type of partnership in which a publisher (a content creator such as a blogger or vlogger) is paid to generate leads for another company.

By posting a link on their website or social media page, they help to drive traffic to their partner’s site. This is meant to increase the partner’s web traffic and boost their sales.

Publisher partnerships are often (but not always) commission-based agreements. Typically, they receive a commission for each sale that their link generates.

For example:

A home decor blogger might partner with Amazon to promote their brand.

Each time they mention a product that’s in the Amazon catalog, they’ll include a link to Amazon.com. If the customer buys a product from that site within a given amount of time, the publisher gets a cut of the sale.

Benefits of Publisher Partnerships

This marketing strategy has many benefits, including:

Rapid Growth in Traffic

A publisher with a large following can drive large amounts of people to your site. Even those who don’t convert to customers will learn about your brand.

Boosts Your Reputation

Bloggers and social media personalities have loyal audiences who trust them. An endorsement from the right publisher can have a big impact on your reputation.


Some publishers ask for a retainer fee, but most affiliate marketing programs are commission-based. So, you’ll only pay for results.

Related: The Future of Affiliate Marketing

Influencer Marketing

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In an influencer marketing partnership, a company pays an influential person, such as a social media personality, to promote their product or service.

Unlike publisher deals, these partnerships aren’t usually commission-based and don’t have to include a deal or discount.

So, DeWalt might partner with a popular DIY YouTuber as part of their marketing efforts. The YouTuber might demonstrate their products, give them a good review, or agree to use only DeWalt tools in all their videos.

The company gets its products in front of its target audience. In exchange, the influencer is compensated for their endorsement.

Benefits of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular because it helps companies to:

Build Trust

People trust online influencers far more than they trust traditional ads. Working with influencers is a way to get word-of-mouth referrals from people who are valued in their respective niche.

Reach a Target Market

By working with influencers who create content about your niche, you’ll get your products in front of the people who are most likely to buy them.

Advertise in a Non-Invasive Way

Influencer marketing doesn’t involve sidebar ads, pop-ups, or other types of intrusive ads. They allow you to insert your advertisement into the content your audience is already consuming.

Related: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign

Affinity, Affiliate, or Influencer Marketing: Which One is Right for You?

Each type of partnership has its own benefits. But to get the most out of any of these marketing techniques, you should consider working with a marketing agency.

They’ll help you to:

  • Identify the right partnership type for your brand
  • Find potential partners to promote your products
  • Negotiate contracts and set deliverables
  • Manage your collaborative marketing campaigns
  • Measure results to ensure success
Affinity, publisher, and influencer marketing can help you find new customers and generate sales. But to put your marketing budget to optimal use, you should enlist the help of a marketing firm.

Competition is an integral part of business, but collaboration can yield surprising results.

Working with influencers, publishers, and other brands can be invaluable for your business. With the right partners and campaign management, you can expand your market, boost your reputation, and drive sales.

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