Partnerships can play a key role in your marketing strategy. For all of the effort you’re putting into paid ads, direct outreach, and digital presence, you could be vastly improving awareness of your brand by growing your network—and then letting your partners and affiliates do the heavy lifting for you. In fact, it looks even better when someone else is promoting your brand, rather than when your own ad is making the claims.
But there is an art to enhancing your partnerships and using them skillfully in a way that is equally beneficial to all parties. And there are different kinds of partnership marketing. Below, find a brief overview.
What Is Partnership Marketing?
When two or more companies work together to reach their respective business goals, that’s partnership marketing. Before formalizing any agreement, companies can discuss what time, labor, and other resources are available to their prospective partners in service of helping them achieve those goals.
For example, “Company A” might agree to promote the new services from “Company B” on social media if Company B offers Company A a keynote at their upcoming conference. In this case, Company A’s strength is likely digital presence, and Company B’s strength is probably live events—and working together can allow both of them to benefit from one another’s strong suits. Both companies might agree to list one another as Preferred Partners.
But not every partnership is quite as transactional. Sometimes, companies align because their mission, vision, or values align—and formalizing a union further establishes both companies’ allegiance to those statements, allowing them to support one another in achieving and staying true to their commitments. This is more of an accountability and representative partnership.
How Do You Form a Marketing Partnership?
The first and most important step when considering if a partnership is right for you is doing your homework. It’s important to research companies and learn who their current and past partners are, how their brand is perceived by the public, and how their work and purpose complement your company’s. You likely don’t want to work with someone if your clients/customers have a grievance with that company or if their values conflict with your own. They also might be a nonstarter if they work with one of your competitors.
The next step is gauging interest. Some companies have specific individuals whose job it is to assess and manage external partnerships, but with others, it might take a little guesswork to learn who you need to contact. When reaching out, be sure to state your intentions clearly and showcase everything that your company brings to the table to benefit the partnership.
Finally, the most important thing to do when negotiating a partnership is to establish the terms and length—which should include regular touchpoints to make sure both parties are continuing to get everything they’d like from the arrangement. Mutual benefit is the key to sustaining quality partnerships and renewing them in the long term.
This should also include periodic touchpoints with your target audiences; is the partnership received and perceived in the way it’s intended? Does it make sense to those outside of your respective organizations? When you think a partnership “goes together like cheese and pickles” your stomach might do a few flips—but when you add “on a cheeseburger” suddenly it all makes sense. How can you make sure that the vision you and your partner share is equally transparent and clear to everyone else?
For more insights about creating and sustaining mutually beneficial partnership marketing opportunities, ask the experts at Mad 4 Marketing.