Unpacking the differences between influencer and affiliate marketing can be tedious and confusing. But, we are here to simplify the conversation, and help you determine which option fits your brands’ current needs.
Defining Influencer and Affiliate Marketing
Influencer marketing is defined as “involv[ing] a brand collaborating with an online influencer to market one of its products or services. Some influencer marketing collaborations are less tangible than that – brands simply work with influencers to improve brand recognition.“ – Influencer Marketing Hub
Affiliate marketing can be defined as “the process by which an affiliate earns a commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products.” – Big Commerce
Affiliate and Influencer Marketing Are Not Mutually Exclusive
These two forms of digital marketing are not inherently exclusive to one another. In most cases, it is smart for a brand to have both an affiliate marketing program and an influencer marketing program. But for those business owners who need help determining which form of digital marketing they should invest in first, here are scenarios that can help you understand which of the two best applies to your goals.
- Influencer marketing is a powerful avenue for building brand awareness. If your brand is new and has yet to establish a loyal customer base, or any base for that matter, we recommend influencer marketing as a foundation for building brand recognition.
- In the event you are rebranding, influencer marketing would be a great option to begin spreading the word.
- If your brand is established with a loyal customer base and you’d like to introduce a new product collection, we recommend using a content focused affiliate marketing strategy to build awareness and deliver sales.
- How about when your brand is entering a new vertical? Let’s say you had exclusively produced backpacks and you are now offering duffle bags, fanny packs, etc. Affiliate marketing would be a smart way to spread the word to new potential customers who already consume media that often feature accessories like fanny packs.
Depending on your brands’ needs, some campaigns are more likely to succeed if you partner with influencers while other campaigns lend themselves to affiliate marketing. The big takeaway here is both digital marketing techniques are worth incorporating in your brands’ marketing scheme. You do not need to choose one over the other.
We love chatting about the power of affiliate and influencer marketing. If you are curious how we can elevate your brand and meet company goals through either of these modes of marketing, contact us today!