SIGMA Marketing: Six Steps to Affinity Marketing Success

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SIGMA Marketing outlines six new steps businesses can take to launch an affinity marketing program that creates profitable relationships.

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“Businesses that market through affinity partners can often tap into results and revenue growth that would be unavailable selling through their traditional channels.”
Jim Dellavilla, Executive Vice President Client Service at SIGMA Marketing Group

SIGMA Marketing Group, the customer intelligence-driven, direct and digital marketing services firm, outlines six steps businesses can take to launch an affinity marketing program that creates profitable relationships.

“Businesses that market through affinity partners can often tap into results and revenue growth that would be unavailable selling through their traditional channels,” said Jim Dellavilla, Executive Vice President Client Service at SIGMA Marketing Group. “One of our clients is excited that their affinity marketing team is delivering faster revenue growth than other units selling through traditional channels. After reviewing that success and numerous others, we have prepared the following best practices to dramatically improve affinity marketing results.”

1.    Target the Right Affinity Partners.
The potential value of an affinity partnership varies greatly. Some membership groups match your target audience perfectly, others have some members that match, and some will lose money. Marketers should pursue membership groups based on the value they individually represent. Using information about current customers as well as third-party data, businesses can develop a scoring approach to tier and prioritize the prospect base reached through an individual partner.

2.    Optimize Affinity Member Targeting.
Not all affinity members have the same value; groups often only deliver a small number of high-tier prospects. Avoid marketing to members who are low-tier prospects -- those members that are unlikely to respond and who won’t value the communication. Develop a profile to identify who looks most like existing best customers and focus on affinity members who match that profile.

3. Create Collaboration Portals.
For high-functioning affinity partnerships, create partner collaboration portals that support creative reviews and approvals, dashboards showing the progress of marketing campaigns, key files repository, and assets. They are needed to provide consistent and timely information across the partner ecosystem, informing the affinity partners about campaign timelines, approvals, future campaign plans and additional services.

4. Start Testing More Personalization in Multichannel Communications
Creating the right messages that can achieve response goals with affinity partners does not need to be complicated or costly. The key to personalization success is to establish a simple test and reporting framework that allows learning from each campaign interaction. Developing the knowledge to understand the optimum messages and channels for each affinity partner, and the segments within their memberships is critical for superior long-term results. Various messaging engines enable highly personalized messaging and deploy campaign tests across multiple channels seamlessly.

5. Optimize Campaign and Offer
Fine-tune your offers. Each offer test is a chance to learn how to improve response and ROI. Testing and learning should be a central component of affinity program campaigns; a test matrix should be established for each campaign to clearly identify each offer being tested, with results going back to the marketing database. As responses and results are collected, performance can be assessed for each test cell, and results are applied to the next campaign.

6. Share results widely through the Portal.
The collaboration portal should provide basic campaign performance tracking information and results by key marketing segments. Ideally, the portal also reports on campaign performance by key benchmarks appropriate to the company and the affinity partners. To dig deeper into the results for each affinity campaign, marketers can append third-party data to the member record to examine campaign performance by key demographic dimensions.

Learn more about SIGMA Marketing’s Affinity Solutions at http://sigmamarketing.com/Pages/Affinity-Marketing.aspx

About SIGMA Marketing Group
SIGMA Marketing helps clients like Citizen Bank, Xerox, Nationwide, and AAA engage with their customers through Analytics + Strategy + Technology. We turn data into customer intelligence and innovative marketing solutions -- online and offline -- with direct and digital solutions that focus on multichannel marketing strategies, data and technology integration, web analytics and sales enablement. SIGMA builds long term customer relationships and drives Marketing ROI. Visit us at http://www.sigmamarketing.com and at our Fifth Gear Analytics blog: http://fifthgearanalytics.com.

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Jim McNulty
StandPoint Public Relations
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