Affinity Marketing: Harnessing the power of collaboration

Posted by: Amy Weeks

Marc Jacobs and Diet Coke, Belvoir Fruit Farms and Pooky, Cornish Sea Salt and Fat Hen: all companies that have paired up to deliver effective affinity marketing campaigns to their shared customer bases.

Also referred to as partnership marketing, affinity marketing is the development and delivery of marketing activity between two complementary brands and businesses, to reach new audiences through their respective client bases.

Most commonly delivered through competitions and giveaways, affinity marketing campaigns offer brands the opportunity to develop relationships with new customers by reaching out to them through a complementary brands own marketing channels. Over time, effective execution of these campaigns can lead to the development of long-lasting relationships, with both brands benefiting from the an increase in brand exposure and shared reputation.

Great examples of affinity marketing in action…

Belvoir Fruit Farms

Belvoir Fruit Farm and Pooky camapignThe team at Belvoir Fruit Farms has got affinity marketing down to a fine art, running regular campaigns and competitions by teaming up with well-known brands such as The White Company, the BBC Good Food Show, and Chase Gin to give away prizes monthly through their website.

Their current monthly prize draw is a collaboration with Pooky, who make bespoke lamps, to build their brand. A self confessed ‘small, new company’ Pooky can utilise their relationship with Belvoir to collect data, boost brand exposure, and ultimately gain more customers through the well established activity already carried out on the Belvoir Fruit Farms website.

Utilising their existing database, Belvoir send regular email campaigns to encourage people to visit the site, informing them of current competitions with their new partners. Most importantly, each competition features an opt-in box, to encourage entrants to sign up for further communication from both Belvoir and the featured company: in turn building both of their databases. As an extra incentive for the host company’s customers, Pooky are also offering all visitors to the competition page a discount code for their website, to give them 15% off their products for the whole of March. A great example of reciprocal benefits in action that leads to an increase in traffic and sales.

Marc Jacobs and Diet Coke

Marc Jacobs and Diet Coke campaign

Celebrating the brand’s 30th birthday in 2013, Diet Coke teamed up with influential British fashion designer, Marc Jacobs, to launch a range of limited edition cans capturing fashions from across the three decades of the eighties, nineties and noughties.

This great example of two trusted brands collaborating to deliver a unique product and marketing campaign builds on Diet Coke’s well-established history of collaborating with fashion designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Karl Lagerfeld. The key to the success of this collaboration was the reputation of each brand; although each is renowned in their own industry, they become iconic in their partnership.

Cornish Sea Salt and Fat Hen

Cornish Sea Salt and Fat Hen campaign

Teaming up with Fat Hen after a recent foraging experience, Cornish Sea Salt’s current affinity marketing campaign offers entrants the chance to win two gift vouchers for a foraging course. Perfectly matched in terms of their target customer base, both businesses are looking to develop relationships with customers interested in food and cookery, making an affinity marketing campaign the perfect approach.

5 tips for getting the most from your affinity marketing campaign…

1. Find the right partner – work with a company that complements and enhances your brand. Do your research into their brand values and customer base to ensure you’re approaching the right partner for your campaign. Prepare a list of benefits that your potential partner will gain from working with your brand and, equally as important, determine what you can gain from them.

2. Set clear goals – it’s important to ensure that both organisations benefit from the partnership in ways that will support their brand’s overall strategy, and contribute positively to their marketing outputs. Set clear goals from the outset, whether that’s to increase your database by 10%, drive 25% more traffic through to your website, or sell £1000 worth of products. Make those goals SMART, and review them throughout your campaign.

3. Follow best practice –ensure you have an opt-in consent box that is not pre-ticked when collecting data online as part of your campaign. Separate boxes should be present for each brand involved, to ensure people have the flexibility to choose which companies they sign up to.

4. Find out a little more – knowledge is power when it comes to finding out your customers’ preferences, and affinity marketing campaigns are a brilliant opportunity to find out more about them and their specific interests in your brand. During the entry process, take the opportunity to find out more about your customers’ interests or purchasing habits, such as favourite products or birthdays. This data can then be utilised to send targeted email campaigns using dynamic content.

5. Follow up with your new contacts – once you’ve invested the time in bringing your campaign to fruition, it’s important to make effective use of the data you’ve collected. Plan a follow up email to those that have opted in to your database through the affinity activity, to demonstrate the value of engaging with your brand.

Want some guidance on getting your own affinity marketing programme off the ground? Get in touch today to find out how we can help.

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