Inside the Growing Partnership Economy

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Did you know that partnership marketing is one of the fastest-growing marketing strategies out there? In fact, it’s expected to grow by more than 50% in the next three years! Partnerships have dramatically changed the way consumers interact with brands and make purchasing decisions. That’s because partnerships can help you meet your business goals by:

Increasing brand awareness and reach.

Generating more website and social media traffic.

Growing your number of conversions.

Customer acquisition and retention.

There are many terms we use today to describe the term ‘Partnership’ such as cooperation, association, collaboration, coalition, alliance just to name a few but essentially the meaning behind Partnership is a union that is formed to mutually benefit two or more parties. Or as John F. Kennedy said: “And a partnership, by definition, serves both partners, without domination or unfair advantage.”

Partnership marketing is collaboration between parties that benefits both entities and helps them achieve their business and marketing objectives. These objectives range from increased brand awareness, recognition and credibility, to lead generation, sales and business growth.

“Shifting consumer behaviors have impacted how business leaders drive revenue, and we have seen that partnerships have succeeded where traditional sales and marketing have not,” said David A. Yovanno, CEO of impact.com and Author of The Partnership Economy. “The partnership ecosystem is more important than ever for brands looking for ways to engage with the right audiences, so we created The Partnership Economy to be an actionable guide to help businesses learn from our experiences, better engage with audiences, and scale in the process.”

Partnership marketing can be conducted in a wide variety of ways. Some of the most effective forms of partnership marketing include affiliate partners who promote a brand on their own platforms in exchange for a commission on the sales or actions they generate, and influencers who promote a brand on their channel in exchange for payment or a sample product that they can unbox, test and review – creating valuable content for their channel.

The main goal or objective of partnership marketing is for two entities to join forces in a strategic marketing collaboration that benefits them both and helps them reach their respective objectives.

When you think of the best partnerships in the business world, you probably think of those that are forged between two brands who complement each other rather than directly compete with each other. This avoids any potential conflicts of interest and ensures that you don’t accidentally give away some of your market share.

Research the broader sectors in which your target market operates, and find businesses whose products are complimentary to yours.

For instance, a cosmetics business might seek to form an alliance with another company in the hair or fashion industry while targeting the same market.

Your partner doesn’t necessarily have to be in the same industry as you; it’s enough if you share some common ground.

Take GoPro and Red Bull, two brands that were built to appeal to entirely different sets of customers—one focused on action shots while the other provided a caffeinated rush. Their values and target audiences overlapped, making their collaboration an effective means of reaching both crowds.

Today, many marketers are choosing to manage their affiliate programs directly. While in the past most brands relied on middleman-managed affiliate networks for this type of partnership, today’s partner marketers often choose management tools that enable direct relationships with partners.

The drive for transparency in modern marketing has altered the nature of partnerships. Now, businesses seek relationships that are built on clearly defined goals and metrics to ensure both parties benefit from their collaboration.

The partnerships channel can be whatever you make it. The more data you pass back, the more reporting opportunities you have. Before you decide on data parameters, formalize your key objectives by asking yourself the following:

What is your benchmark for success? Sales? Net new customers? Repeat purchases? Specific basket size? Do you have specific revenue goals you want to achieve? Which metrics do you need to report back to internal stakeholders? You need to know this before you even get started.

What type of Partner Marketing is there?
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 guest blog posts, social media shout-outs, and even having them as guest speakers at an event. For example, one of the top-ranked articles about referral marketing is a collaboration between Oberlo and ReferralCandy.

  1. 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 about your latest collaboration together—and in return, you do the same for your partner too!

  1. 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 generated over 25% of the revenue for their brands.

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 then labelled as a “reseller” or “distributor”. Through campaigns of their own, these resellers hold the potential to create even more value for their customers to purchase your products

The partner marketing industry is growing rapidly, and will continue to do so.

Setting clear objectives is crucial to achieving success in this channel. It’s important to remember that the customer comes first here: brands will only succeed if they provide value for their customers by delivering what they want, when and where they expect it

While this may seem like common sense, building relationships with your partners is an important and often overlooked step in driving profitable results.

With ecommerce expanding rapidly, it’s more important than ever to build relationships with brands that share your values and appeal to your customer base. Doing so will boost sales while also enhancing the reputation of both parties involved.

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