Our purchase decisions are largely based on affinity. People like me buy this brand. People like me pay more for this coffee. People like me use an iPhone. People like me join this organization. People like me support this cause. People like me speak at conferences like this.
Using the lens of affinity, marketing becomes more about amplifying shared experiences than proving value. Perhaps the best analogy is the marketing department of an organization is like the host of a dinner party. The host of a party invites the right guests, orchestrates the environment, welcomes guests, introduces guests and helps them start a conversation. Great hosts work hard to make sure everyone got something out of the party and they thank everyone for coming.
Great marketing is about sharing not proving
The best parties are those where we all enjoy sharing the experience. At a party where the host or a guest has something to prove the atmosphere becomes more strained, perhaps feeling artificial.
Many of us marketers feel we have to prove something. We have to prove our organizations are the oldest, the best or the most authoritative. Our benefits add the most value, we beat the competition and our members love us. We have more members, cheaper prices and the best events. The proving, though, gets in the way of the sharing.
Does your marketing help create a feeling of affinity?
When you look at marketing through the lens of affinity we can see that claims like ‘since 1956 we provided…’ may not work. Instead what members (prospective and existing), customers and attendees are deciding is; do people like me buy, join or contribute to an organization like this?
Is this the party I need to be a part of?