How do you know if a relationship is going to work? Relationships can thrive if both parties have similar tastes and interests, or because just enough differences exist to keep things interesting. Affinity marketing relationships are just like any other relationship: Companies find common ground, similar values and prospects, and then see what happens next.
While affinity partnerships are more common in retail and financial services, daily newspapers, like The Washington Post, have been experimenting with them as well. In its most recent test mailing, the newspaper giant teamed up with home furnishings retailer Bed Bath & Beyond to offer new movers two offers they couldn’t refuse—20 Sundays of The Washington Post for only 99 cents a week and 20 percent off any single item at Bed Bath & Beyond. The Post avoids any sort of promotional copy to plug what’s so great about the daily paper. Instead, the test mailing highlights both offers four times—twice on the outer envelope and twice in the letter from Vice President of Circulation David Dadisman (Archive code #255-171604-0707B).
“We look for partners that have the potential for a ‘win-win’ for both parties. The primary consideration is what each partner brings to the table, such as budget dollars, prospect data, promotion incentives or alternative advertising vehicles,” says Rich Handloff, The Post’s director of consumer marketing.
A floor-plan theme dominates the 6˝ x 9˝ mailing and was developed by The Post’s creative agency, MindZoo, a Leesburg, Va.–based direct response agency specializing in direct marketing for retail and publishing. On the outer and letter is a detailed floor plan designating various areas of a house. In the letter, there’s a picture of the section of the newspaper that corresponds with each room. This theme underlines both marketing messages, and as Handloff notes, a partner program’s creative message must make an emotional connection with the targeted audience and be a reflection of both brands.