Affinity marketing (also called partnership marketing) is an approach to marketing that involves multiple organizations forming a partnership to attract customers who may have an interest in what those organizations are selling. The partnering organizations usually have some relation among their products such that a common target audience would be interested in product offerings among all the partners; such a relation or common target audience is termed an affinity. Affinity may also refer to the customer's feeling of affinity for one or more of the partnership's products or brands. Affinity marketing programs have three parts: cross-endorsements among the partnering organizations, shared incentives for participation among the organizations and enhancement package of benefits for the customers.
An example of an affinity marketing program would be a credit card company partnering with a professional sports team to place the team's logo on the credit card, team members endorsing the card, and an enhancement package consisting of bonus points earned going toward discounts on team events or merchandise. The target audience would be people interested in the use of a credit card who like the team. The shared incentives would be more credit card usage and brand loyalty for the bank and more event and merchandise purchases for the sports team. The sports team may also receive a share of transaction volume on the cards.
In e-commerce, affinity marketing takes the form of sharing referrals among partners through banner ads, icons and hyperlinks. Web search engines may participate in affinity marketing by selling links to keyword searches. Among the goals of e-commerce affinity marketing partnerships are to increase website visibility, increase website traffic and boost sales. Web-based affinity partnerships often attempt to improve affinity marketing by personalizing advertisements according to information learned about customers.
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