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Partnership Marketing 101: What Is It & How Can It Drive Growth

Ler Jun Sng
Ler Jun Sng
May 21, 2021
2 min read
Partnership Marketing 101: What Is It & How Can It Drive Growth

Sometimes overlooked, partnership marketing strives for fruitful collaborations between businesses. In the process, it aims to drive growth and leads for the collaborating companies.

For many business owners, hatching an apt marketing strategy can be challenging. There are many questions to mull over: Who are my target audiences? What are the messages I want to drive across to them? How can I drive sales and leads for my business? And more importantly, who should I partner my business with? Considering that marketing tactics are ever-evolving, there are plenty of options to choose from and a lot more yet to learn.

Of the diverse types of partnership available to choose from, you might be surprised to hear about the oft-glossed over “partnership marketing”. Valuing strategic collaborations above all else, you can consider partnership marketing as a form of brand partnership that gives your business a competitive edge when attempting to reach a new group of audience.

In this article, we’ll go over what is partnership marketing, what types of partnership marketing are there, the benefits it has, how you can reach out to companies for digital marketing partnerships, as well as how to facilitate a marketing partnership.

What Is Partnership Marketing?

Partnership marketing is all about collaborating with an individual, firm, or organisation because they possess an area of the market or a pool of target audience your business can benefit from by tapping into.

By collaborating with another entity, you expose your brand to a new group of people, driving leads and conversions in the process. Of course, the collaboration must be mutually beneficial to all parties and help them reach their business goals as well.

“Partnership marketing strategy is a natural move for many businesses,” says Raul Galera, Partnerships Manager from ReferralCandy. “If two companies are working in the same industry and are not offering competing products, there will always be a natural fit for collaboration.”

Types of Partnership Marketing

There are a ton of great partnership marketing examples out there. Here, we have curated a list of common partnership marketing types that you might be interested in.

1. Content Sharing

This is one of the simplest examples of partnership marketing. The goal is simple: your partner promotes you to their audience. And this can take the form of a guest blog post, social media shout-out, and even have them over as guest speakers at an event.

For example, one of the top-ranked articles about referral marketing is a collaboration between Oberlo and ReferralCandy.

2. Cross-Promotion

Cross-promotion is kind of like “word of mouth marketing”. Instead of relying on your customers to share their love for your brand to their social circles, you collaborate with a partner, have them give you a shoutout of the latest collaboration, and in return, you do the same for your partner too.

Back in 2004, Volvo partnered with LEGOLAND theme park in California to become the official car of the theme park (which saw 1.3 million annual visitors then). On this unique collaboration, the family-oriented car manufacturer wanted to educate children about automobile safety and driving safety through its “driving school” attractions.

3. Affiliate Marketing

Widely practiced, affiliate marketing is a type of marketing where you pay a commission to existing customers whenever they bring in new customers to your brand. According to Insider Retailer Australia, a report by Authority Hacker reveals how affiliate marketing programs now generate 23% of revenue for brands.

It’s a mutually beneficial approach and if things are done right, businesses can scale and you may even end up having better and healthier relationships with your partners.

In Singapore, ecommerce giant Shopee has launched a popular affiliate marketing program, where selected affiliates (often those with strong social media following) are given monetary rewards every time a user uses the affiliates’ referral link to purchase goods.

4. Agency Marketing

As the name suggests, businesses can consider partnering up with marketing agencies to boost sales and create greater leads. If you’re selling a marketing tool, having marketing agencies recommend your product to their customer base can help you generate new clients.

Wanting to do away with printing its product catalogues and save costs in the process, Tupperware APAC engaged marketing agency Construct Digital to spearhead a marketing campaign to increase its visibility via smartphone technology. The mobile application saw 100,000 mobile installations and Tupperware APAC’s latest product lines can now reach out to even more resellers in a matter of minutes.

5. Reseller Partnership

Otherwise known as channel sales, reseller partnerships often involve a third party hired to sell your products or services on your behalf. Suppose you have a favourite brand of detergent and you head to the nearest supermarket to purchase it, the supermarket is, thus, labelled as a “reseller” or “distributor”. Through campaigns of their own, the reseller holds the potential to create even more value for their customers to purchase your products.

What Are The Benefits of Partnership Marketing?

When brands begin employing partnership marketing benefits, they may see significant benefits that conventional marketing practices cannot provide. Here are some of these benefits:

1. Potential To Generate New Leads & Drive New Customers

One of the main benefits of partnership marketing is its potential to gain new customers and drive leads. By bringing two or more brands together, the strategy combines the collaborating businesses’ brand equity and their equity strengths. Doing so allows these companies to increase their marketing potential and tap into one another’s customer base.

2. Exposing Brand To New Audiences

Partnership Marketing can generate new leads
Photo by Ryan Plomp on Unsplash

Through fruitful collaborations, the marketing strategy also helps expose your brand or business to other companies in the industry. “Partnerships have an incredibly high upside for the investments that they require; it helps you get in touch with a lot of different companies who have not heard of your business before too,” Raul adds. In other words, partnership marketing can open up new opportunities to market your products and services.

Case in point: Last year, the Estée Lauder Companies partnered with a top retail partner in the U.S. to promote their designer fragrances and the retailer’s digital presence. According to Google, their average ad click share rose by 70%.

3. Expands Marketing Budget & Save Resources

Interestingly, another benefit of partnership marketing is how it can help expand your marketing budget and save money. This is because expertise and resources between the collaborating companies are shared. If done right, an expansive and strategic partnership marketing tactic could also improve margins too.

How to Identify A Good Strategic Partnership?

Having better access to the market and increasing sales by means of partnership marketing are some of the many benefits to the strategy, but how do you go about finding the right partners?

For starters, you should look out for brands or companies that offer complementary product offerings. For example, if you are selling shoes, consider partnering up with a lifestyle label that offers quirky socks. The goal is to cross-market each other’s products by tapping into their respective consumer bases. In other words, if Company A chooses to bundle its products with Company B, loyal customers from Company A are more inclined to trust the products from Company B.

Raul also recommends investigating what your competitors are doing. Pay heed to the types of partnerships or marketing projects your competitors engage in as well as the types of partners they collaborate with. In other words, be inspired by their approaches.

How To Reach Out To Companies For Digital Marketing Partnership?

Photo by Stephen Phillips - on Unsplash

Reaching out to companies for digital marketing partnership is a straightforward affair. You can drop the company an email or simply slide into its social media inbox via direct messaging.

You ought to keep the initial outreach, whether it’s through an email or an Instagram DM, professional while striving to create an engaging conversation. If you are reaching out to companies on social media, avoid using your personal social media accounts. Instead, use your company’s social media account to do so.

Raul, however, emphasises how the first touchpoint should drive interest, be casual, and be as open-ended as possible. Here’s an example of how the partnership marketing manager used to reach out to others:

“Hey, I happened to come across you guys recently. We are operating in the same industry and targeting the same audience. I think it would be good for us to get in touch and explore some collaboration options!”

Then, you can consider scheduling a call or a meet-up.

In the subsequent interactions, look to steer the conversation to highlight what your company can do for them in return.

How To Facilitate A Marketing Partnership?

Partnership Marketing, Discussing deals
Photo by Dylan Gillis on Unsplash

While facilitating a marketing project, remember that good communication can forge strong partnerships. “Make sure you are available to help your partners out in any stage of that process,” Raul says.

If you happen to partner with a reseller, it is paramount to educate him about your products and how to sell them. You may see yourself liaising with the support and sales team to come up with effective methods to get the reseller trained.

The success metric for a successful collaboration is extensive and somewhat ambiguous. It can run the gamut from the revenue earned from a project or even webinar leads and sign-ups. Raul suggests for both brands to agree upon an ideal metric that can be measured.

At the end of the day, the collaboration ought to deliver value. Partners should bring something to the table. “Most partnership marketing initiatives fail because one of the partners failed to deliver,” he explained. “You should think of it like establishing a relationship. Think of what you can do for that person!”

The Bottom Line

With customer acquisition cost rising, especially in traditional channels (such as advertisements), brands should explore ventures that have the potential to be successful. Partnership marketing, for the most part, is under-rated. However, with its potential to reach even more people and generate growth, it is here to stay.

Ler Jun Sng
Ler Jun Sng
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