Brand Ambassadors Vs. Affiliates
A very basic and common question which crosses a brand manager’s desk is the following, “Is an affiliate a brand ambassador?” Outwardly, both opportunities help promote and scale a brand and look quite similar in their tactics and online marketing strategies. While there is some level of overlap with their high-level descriptions, there are key differences which we’ll highlight below.
Basically, an affiliate earns commissions based on product sales which come from their personal marketing efforts that are aided by leveraging a referral code associated with the sale of a product or service.
The affiliate’s general responsibility is to inspire customers to buy the products. Commitment to a brand, product, or service is often determined by the monetary reward for making a sale, and loyalty to the brand generally ends there. In this way, affiliate marketers gain some percentage of profits based on sales.
A brand ambassador, on the other hand, cares deeply for the brand’s product or service and has a genuine desire to share it with their close family and friends because they have received genuine value and want others to benefit as well.
While brand ambassadors often are also motivated by product discounts, freebies, early access to new products or services, or monetary rewards; they are personally motivated to endorse the products or services because they love the brand.
Key Differences between Ambassador Marketing and Affiliate Marketing
Brand ambassadors focus on promoting products or services for brands they love. While brands support their brand ambassadors with ideas for marketing to their family and friends, ambassadors create user-generated content and share the content they create themselves with their close network of friends.
Many other marketing tactics are used to assist the brand ambassadors such as the usage of referral codes, campaign details, etc., but the focus of a brand ambassador is to spread the word about a brand, product, or service they believe their close friends should use.
On the other hand, affiliate marketing is primarily driven by money and those affiliate campaigns that offer larger financial benefits are often more enticing to affiliates or marketers who simply want to sponsor a product or service for which they’ll receive a high commission.
Brands prepare professional marketing materials for their affiliates who then use the materials for paid and organic marketing purposes. These marketing efforts are largely promoted through marketing channels which focus on the general public.
The key differences between ambassador marketing and affiliate marketing are thus, primarily, two-fold, affiliate marketing promotes products or services because there is a high commission for the affiliate and the target audience largely doesn’t consist of close relationships to the affiliate.
Ambassador marketing leverages genuine passion and love for a product or service and is driven by an ambassador’s desire to share the product or service with their family member or close friend.