Performance Marketing

Out-of-the-Box Strategic Partnerships You May Not Be Considering

Lyndsey Fish

Strategic partnerships for brands
Photo by Christiann Koepke on Unsplash

In affiliate marketing, not all partners are created equal. Long gone are the days when an affiliate channel was made up of only coupon and cash back partners. Today, the affiliate world overlaps with many other channels. Partners have become savvy at operating on a performance model, which is attractive for both brands and publishers. Below, we’ve outlined four strategic partnership opportunities that have grown substantially in this market that your brand may not have considered for the affiliate marketing channel.

CLO, aka Card-Linked Offer Partners

CLO partners are businesses that collaborate with credit card issuers to provide cardholders with discounts, rewards, or cash back offers based on their spending habits. Strategic partners like these use technology to link offers or promotions directly to the customer’s credit or debit card, eliminating the need for physical coupons and promo codes.

card-linked offer partners
Card-linked offer (CLO) partners include Dosh, Drop, and Figg.

These partners are highly attractive because of their capability to granularly target a specific audience or demographic to gain net new customers, and to re-engage customers that have lapsed. Consumers receive personalized discounts and rewards, retailers attract more customers, and financial institutions enhance customer loyalty and card usage. Card-linked offer partners are a great test to add to your program to learn more about your consumer’s behavior and what offers or products they respond to.

Think: Drop, Dosh, Figg

BNPL, aka Buy Now, Pay Later Partners

We’ve seen an influx of traffic to these strategic partnerships due to a popular and evolving consumer payment option that allows shoppers to make a purchase and defer payment for the goods or services they acquire. Instead of paying the full amount upfront, buyers can split their payments into multiple, often interest-free installments over a period. In other words: buy now, pay later.

strategic partnerships include buy now, pay later (BNPL) partners
Some examples of buy now, pay later (BNPL) partnerships.

BNPL services have gained prominence in marketing efforts for e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail environments, and are often offered by third-party providers or integrated into the checkout processes of online stores.

Think: Affirm, Klarna, Afterpay

CUGs, aka Closed User Group Partners

Closed user group partners are business entities made up of large exclusive groups that are only accessible through a closed portal via login. These strategic partners work well for brands who have an appetite for testing within specific market segments and who have margin for offering an exclusive discount to consumers, whether that be evergreen or for a short duration.

closed user group strategic partnerships
Strategic partnerships with closed user group companies are great for testing market segments with exclusive discounts.

Strategic partners like CUGs can work with you on your program goals to curate an offer that would resonate best with their audience and give directional feedback for what’s worked with similar verticals. Popular closed user groups include employee benefit programs, student portals, military benefit sites, airline rewards, and others.

Think: EBG Solutions, Student Beans,

Technology Partners

We don’t have a fun acronym for this one, and it’s a bit more broad. However, there are unique technologies that operate within an affiliate payment model that can bring high-value, incremental revenue to your partnership program.

strategic technology partners
Technology partners cover a wide range of solutions and offerings, but can be just as strategic as any other partner.

These strategic partners offer solutions that help manage, optimize, and track affiliate campaigns, making it easier for both advertisers and partners to achieve their goals. For example, you may want a partner to suggest product add-ons or schedule reminders for users in real time or after a certain amount of lapsed time on a webpage.

Think: UpSellit, RevLifter, Katalys

In Conclusion

The changing economy and recent market trends have opened the doors to new opportunities for performance-based partnerships, including the four we’ve listed above. What other partnerships have you recently discovered or think are flying under the radar? Let us know in the comments below!

The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Partner Marketing


Discover how to expand your affiliate program to new partners and channels in our Ultimate Guide to Mobile Partner Marketing. It’s everything you need to know to combine the power of performance-based partnerships with the focus and reach of mobile user acquisition efforts.

Lyndsey Fish

Lyndsey Fish is the Director of Partnerships at TUNE. Before joining TUNE, Lyndsey worked for a leading partner marketing agency, overseeing a diverse portfolio of clients. Her career has focused on growing affiliate partnerships, utilizing data to make strategic decisions for consumer brands, and driving incremental growth.

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