Partnership marketing has been around in some form or another since the beginning of marketing itself. Like other marketing strategies, it has changed and evolved over time as technology advances.
With faster advancement comes more competition. And in order for businesses to thrive, many of them turn to collaborating and sharing resources to the benefit of each party.
You may be ready for partnership marketing, one of the fastest growing marketing strategies, if you are ready to boost sales and increase brand awareness.
What Is Partnership Marketing?
Partnership marketing involves a mutually beneficial collaboration between two businesses to create a marketing campaign. These marketing campaigns enhance the marketing strategies for both businesses to help them meet their set objectives.
There are various forms of partnership marketing that makes growing your business cost-effective.
10 Types of Partnership Marketing
The type of tactics you choose should align well with your business needs and goals.
Here are 10 partnership marketing types for you to assess:
Loyalty partnership marketing leverages the use of rewards through partner websites, apps, and other methods. Essentially, loyalty programs provide rewards to consumers for taking some desired action. For instance, a consumer might sign up for emails, purchase a product, or accept free trial offers.
Some forms of loyalty partnership are:
- Advocacy: Brand advocates are consumers who are so loyal to a brand that they choose to promote it and support it, and a brand offers them some sort of reward.
- Frequency: This form of loyalty is based on how frequently a customer uses or buys your services and products. Once they take desired actions a certain amount of times in a given period, they are rewarded.
The reward may be a partner brand discount. Some brands personalize the reward by assessing consumer profiles and spending habits.
These loyalty types invite partner brand involvement when they include rewards and discounts for other brands within the loyalty program.
This technique allows you to align with another brand to improve customer retention rates.
Influencer marketing resembles product placement, except it takes places with influencers through social channels. Influencers are people who have a large following and who have influence over their audience.
Often, people who follow influencers appreciate their lifestyle and want to buy products the individual recommends.
When a brand partners with an influencer, they provide them with a specific product or get them to use a service. The influencer posts about it and sometimes provides their following with a unique link for customers to use when they make their purchase.
Affiliation partnership marketing strategies allow brands to collaborate with publishers such as websites, bloggers, or other brands. The publishers promote the product to their target audience.
The partner typically receives a commission of some sort for gained revenue, leads, or clicks. This makes it mutually beneficial for both parties involved, since the main brand gains traffic and sales, and the publisher gets a percentage of the sale or paid for each click.
Executing affiliate marketing provides you with the opportunity to access new customers for your brand.
There are several ways to conduct an affiliate marketing campaign. For instance, some brands provide links in content, and others may take advantage of banner ads, social media, or newsletters.
A charitable partnership takes place when a brand endorses or works with a charity.
Partnering with a charity can provide your business with multiple benefits. Two of the main benefits include brand leverage and cultural influence. This partnership allows your brand to offer a moral contribution, while improving your public reputation.
Charitable partnerships come in the following forms:
- Award shows
- Public events
- News stories
If you want to secure your status as a socially responsible brand, then associating your brand with a charitable cause is a great way to secure that status.
Sponsorship has been used by businesses since the early days of marketing. It is a highly successful way for you to create a brand identity for your business. Sponsorship as a partnership marketing strategy has these three objectives:
- Awareness – Most often, sponsorship involves aligning one product with an event in order to gain mass exposure. The goal of this objective is to expand the reach of your brand to new and existing customers.
- Association – When you link your product with a cause, event, or person, you increase your chances of being associated with those things.
- Consumer understanding – Sponsorship is often a way to teach consumers what a product can do, and the partner brand relates to the product or service in some way.
Here are some of the sponsorship types that large and small brands participate in:
- Sporting sponsorships
- Media sponsorship
- Event sponsorship
- Local sponsorship
- Seal of approval
Large worldwide brands like Coca Cola and Red Bull have spent billions of marketing dollars on sponsorships over the years for good reason. Their sponsorship efforts have helped them increase brand reach, brand awareness, and improve brand trust.
This partnership marketing method involves one brand bundling another partner brand’s product or service with their own product or service. Some brands may even choose to cross-market both products to each of their target audiences.
Distribution provides value to the customer and to both brands. A customer with loyalty to one brand may increase their trust with another brand if they see them together.
Many brands partner this way by using mobile coupons, in-store coupons, email vouchers, QR codes, and magazine coupons.
7. Product Placement
Product placement involves placing one of your products using some media outlet or channel. This increases exposure and brand recognition.
Here are two types of product placement:
- Subtle placement – Your brand logo, product, or a mention of your product or services is placed throughout TV shows and movies.
- Direct advertising – A direct product placement example would be product demos on a daytime TV show.
Product placement is usually one of the least used forms of partnership marketing. However, placing your product into the hands of the right person can increase sales overnight depending on the show or celebrity who is placing or endorsing your product.
Content marketing partnerships involve collaborating on content projects with other brands and marketing the content to each respective audience.
There are a couple of ways you can participate in content partnerships:
- Co-creation – Both brands create content together and share it on their respective platforms.
- Link sharing or link building– One brand creates the content, and another brand shares the links within their content. This helps both brands gain exposure, advances SEO, and partners both brands together.
You can partner on many content types, such as:
- Articles and blogs
- Videos and podcasts
9. Joint Products
Joint product partnerships are developed when two brands agree to come together to create one product.
The collaboration choices for joint partnerships include:
- White label – Various successful technology companies offer white labels. They essentially sell their services or lease their products to their partner brand. The partner brand uses it for their own purposes under their brand name.
- Product merger – A product merger, often referred to as a product extension merger, takes place when two businesses that sell the same products come together. They group together their products to gain access to a larger market.
- Powered by – Software providers typically use this collaboration choice when they provide their solutions for partner brands. For instance, mobile phones are typically powered by a technology provider such as Microsoft or Google.
This partnership results in innovative product solutions that work for a variety of audiences.
Licensing involves one business giving permission to another business to manufacture their products using their brand image. Most often, brands that license their products sell it to their partners for a specific price.
Here are some options you have to participate in a licensing partnership:
- Logo – One brand’s logo can be used with another brand’s product to enhance it.
- Brand image – A brand image can be shared between partners including colors, font, and brand voice.
- Reputation – Purchasing a brand also means adopting its reputation. You can use this to your advantage if the brand you partner with had a good reputation, which can help your offering sell.
- Culture – Company culture also comes along with brand reputation.
It is difficult to build a brand. The easiest way is to buy a brand and offer partnership. This way, your product can reach sales success quickly if the right brand is licensed and used properly.
Pros and Cons of Partnership Marketing
Before you decide whether or not partnership marketing is right for you, review a few of the pros and cons to help you decide.
It Allows You to Branch Out into New Markets.
This is one of the top reasons why brands choose to engage in partnership marketing.
Partnership marketing can help your brand target a whole new market that you haven’t been able to reach on your own. You may provide value to another audience that can greatly benefit from your offerings.
Partnering with another brand allows you to enjoy the great perks of their exposure.
It Gives You a New Perspective.
Along with branching into new markets, partnership marketing may help you identify some gaps in your current marketing strategy. You may notice things about your partner brand’s marketing strategy that is really effective and consider adopting it.
This can help you to reinvent your business and try out promotional strategies with minimal risk.
Partnership programs may offer support for your marketing efforts. This means some of the money you pour into marketing your own products can be saved and used for something else.
You Gain a Support System.
If you are unsure of some aspect of marketing your business, you have a partner to ask that is there to help support you. The marketing campaigns you do together are mutually beneficial, so in essence your success is their success.
Partnering with an established brand can provide you with great insight into marketing effectively.
It Improves Sales.
Partnership marketing can provide you with an immediate boost in sales and with an influx of new clients. More sales is great for businesses that are prepared to handle the increase in activity.
If you are just starting out, consider forecasting your sales and include partnership marketing as a factor to see your future projections.
You May Have Potential Disagreements.
Your partner may get involved in different initiatives that you may not support, or you may disagree on the direction they wish to take marketing campaigns. This may cause friction and potential disagreements.
You may realize that they aren’t the right partner for you and wish to split ties, or you may come to an agreement and work it out.
Profit Sharing Can Be Complicated.
Profit sharing may be something you have to consider when you enter a partnership. Thoroughly review the terms of your partnership to ensure it is an amount you are comfortable with.
It Will Require More Time and Effort.
Being responsible for the thorough and successful execution of a marketing campaign may take a lot of time and effort when it’s just for your business.
However, it takes considerably more time and effort when you work with another brand since the planning, execution, and approval process may change dramatically.
7 Tips for Finding the Right Partnerships
If you want to increase sales in your niche and access new markets, finding the right partners is essential. A strong strategic partner is not a direct competitor but a complementary business.
List Your Goals.
Before you choose a partner, you need to decide what you would like to achieve by engaging in some form of partnership marketing.
Write down the goals you have and any additional goals you’d like to reach as a result of the partnership.
Research Businesses to Partner With.
Once you know what you’d like to achieve, begin researching businesses that you believe will help you reach your goals.
Pick a Partner With a Similar Audience.
Sometimes opposites attract, and sometimes they don’t. When you are selecting a partner, make sure they have a similar target audience. Your offerings need to be useful to your partner brand’s audience for you to see a good return.
Research their target audience and ask to see a buyer persona, or create one of your own to see how your ideal customers match up.
Ask for Feedback.
After you review all the facts and benefits of partnering with a brand, get feedback from a neutral third party. This way, you can ensure it will be mutually beneficial, rather than wishful thinking on your part.
Steer Away From Direct Competition.
A direct competitor usually offers products or services that are similar, if not exactly the same, to yours. Partnering with them would likely create more competition and confuse your audiences. Potential customers may see no real difference in choosing one product over another.
Instead, aim to go for a partner that is complementary to your brand to provide more value to your customers so you can enhance their experience.
Assess the Company’s Content Reach.
If you are going to engage in content partnerships, it is essential to know how your partner performs. Analyze how successful their posts are to see if it benefits you to conduct business with them.
Check Out Reviews.
Partnering with a brand is a big responsibility, and the things they do or do not do can reflect on your brand as well.
Check reviews to make sure they treat their customers and clients right. You wouldn’t want to partner with a brand that is known for its bad service, cheap products, or an overall bad reputation.
There are many types of partnership marketing to choose from. The selection may be difficult at first until you assess what you hope to achieve from partnering and growing with another brand or partner influencer.
Consider partnering with an agency to gain insight and access to partners that will help your business grow.