Affinity Marketing

Affinity Marketing is an approach to online marketing in which two parties cooperate to sell their products and services to selected affinity groups. Common terms are Partnership Marketing, Cooperative Marketing or Alliance Marketing.

General information[edit]

At the beginning of the 1990s, it became clear to marketers that consumers are becoming overloaded with more and more information. If a large number of products are actively advertised with certain attributes, the consumer can compare better, but they are also quickly overwhelmed with the amount of information. Consequences include perception barriers that the consumer creates to protect themselves from overload. For example, customers pay less attention to advertising (see banner blindness). New concepts should bridge these barriers and increase the credibility of advertising again. One of these is affinity marketing, which uses a relationship between individuals and groups and their common interests to place advertising messages in a way that is better perceived and accepted by consumers.

Core elements of Affinity Marketing[edit]

The following elements are the essential aspects of affinity marketing:

Affinity groups[edit]

Affinity groups are characterised by a special kind of affinity. Affinity can be defined as social identification: A consumer who pursues the same activities as a group of consumers identifies with this reference group through the same or similar interests and activities. They shares certain views and conventions of this reference group and therefore feel connected to it.

Third-party endorsement[edit]

To approach the reference groups described above, an opinion leader or a prominent member of a particular group is often approached. Because these individuals enjoy a higher degree of loyalty from the group, they also have increased credibility with the members of the group.

Shared Incentives[edit]

These are services in material or immaterial form which are provided free of charge to the reference group with the help of opinion leaders. These services must be group-related: This means that their content must be in line with the interests of the target group.

Enhancement package[edit]

Now a cost advantage is advertised in the reference group. The members of the group are provided with a monetary advantage that applies only exclusively to this group - a package tailored to the interests and needs of the group, which is ultimately intended to increase sales, but can also serve as an image or branding campaign.


If a credit card company cooperates with a sports club within the framework of affinity marketing, the reference group includes all persons who are fans of the sports club. By the affinity of these persons to "their" club, the perception of the credit card or service of the other company should be increased. With the help of shared incentives and enhancement packages, the user group of the credit card can be increased, at the same time the reference group will enjoy special advantages through this type of cooperation.

Affinity marketing, however, can also take place on a much smaller scale, for example as a sponsor of a local sports club, through which special offers are distributed to club members, or as a promoter of regional goods and services that match the content of the respective reference groups. In e-commerce in particular, many small to medium-sized online shops cooperate with partners whose portfolios complement their own.[1]

Significance for online marketing[edit]

Affinity marketing is already being successfully practiced in online marketing, e-commerce, and especially in social networks. Web site operators place banner advertisements on offers that are thematically appropriate, thereby recommending products and services. The higher the affinity to these products, the more sales can be generated. Setting hyperlinks in an appropriate context also uses affinity to increase factors such as page views, length of stay, and click rates.

In the area of social media, affinity marketing is becoming even more important. Millions of people are organized in groups to share their experiences and opinions. These reference groups are an interesting potential target for marketing campaigns. However, sensitivity is also required, because private individuals who share common interests do not want to be harassed by obvious advertising. Social media therefore puts third-party endorsement in the foreground: the aim is to win credible individuals with many followers for cooperation in order to increase the reach of the campaign.


  1. Affinity Marketing Accessed on September 16, 2014

Web Links[edit]