9 Benefits of partnership marketing
Very few companies can afford to buy growth these days. Paying for keywords on Facebook or Google is getting more expensive every year. It can be too expensive for some smaller companies. This is where partnership marketing can really help.
The benefits of partnership marketing are many. You can share resources, create a new customer base, and get your company's brand more exposure.
Let's have a look at 9 key benefits that will inspire you to create a partnership marketing strategy.
1) Gain access to other people’s audiences
One of the greatest benefits of partnership marketing is getting access to the audience of another brand. By partnering with another brand you effectively borrow some or all of their audience for the campaign.
When you partner with a company that has the audience you want to target, it is cheaper and easier to get access to that audience because they already have it. Saves you having to build it from scratch using traditional methods that can take a long time.
Also, when people think of types of partnership marketing they tend to think a partnership is long term like a marriage. Whilst GoPro and Red Bull have been partners for over a decade, they started off with much smaller collaborations initially. Just like with a marriage, you can date a little first.
Even a small short partnership marketing campaign can build brand equity with new audiences and those new audiences are a great opportunity for lead generation.
2) Higher conversion rates
Traffic from a partnership marketing campaign tends to come from a highly relevant audience that are more likely to convert.
When you run a campaign at the right time you can also tap into strong buyer intent. A great example of this is when you are presented with the option to buy travel insurance or to rent a car when you're booking a flight. It seems obvious when you think about it but if you can tap into a partners buyer flow you can often reach an audience at the perfect time to buy your product.
This isn't just true for a point of sale transactions. It can also be true for top of funnel traffic.
An example of this might be a surf-wear brand that supports an ocean charity that you're passionate about. When the time comes for a new pair of board shorts you'll think more highly of the brand that supports your favorite cause. Same goes for sunglasses and your favorite sports team.
3) It is more cost effective than most other forms of marketing
There are a number of reasons why partnership marketing is so cost effective.
When you bring two or more brands together you have access to the joint talent pool lessening the need of paying for outsourced services. One organization may have an inhouse designer and the other might bring video editing skills to the party.
Good partners also bring a whole fresh set of ideas and experiences that can be a real lift to your marketing efforts.
Some examples of how a good brand collaboration can bring about substantial costs savings are:
- A local hairdresser, cake maker and nail salon partnering for an ad in a wedding magazine, splitting the costs three ways.
- A law firm and an accounting firm setting up an event to explain the new tax laws to local businesses. They split the cost of the venue hire and promote the event to each other's email lists and social media for free.
- Partnership marketing is particularly cost effective when you’re entering a new market. Usually when entering a new market it costs a lot to build your brand awareness initially. By partnering with another brand that is already trusted in that market you can bask in their halo and leverage their credibility.
- 5 consumer brands coming together to host an online sweepstakes. 5 products contribute to a bigger prize pool and 5 brands cross promoting the competition on all their marketing channels, makes for a great brand partnership.
4) You are adding value to your existing audience
Making your audience available to a partner isn’t just about the quid pro quo required to access their audience. When you choose the right partners you genuinely add value to your existing audience.
Let’s say, as an example, that you sell products to digital nomads. You decide to partner with an innovative InsureTech brand and introduce them to your audience through an email blast.
Introducing them to a partner that solves their unique challenges in new and innovative ways adds real value. This will build more loyalty for your brand in the long run.
5) You get access to a bigger team
Whether you’re a bigger company or small nimble startup it’s almost always better to have more resources. If you are a really small business with only one person doing the marketing, collaborating with other brands can be a real game changer.
Firstly, you get out of your own echo chamber. Having more people involved in brainstorming a campaign can create powerful outcomes.
The old saying that many hands make light work is very true when it comes to larger campaigns. By partnering with other companies you really share the load and get more done.
If you happen to create a partnership marketing campaign with a larger company you might get access to people with dedicated skills. Rather than just a digital marketing generalist you might find they have a video producer, dedicated copywriter and an SEO specialist in house.
Whatever the partner company brings to the table you’ll almost always be able to achieve more than you could on your own. Pull together three or four partners and you might be able to rival the campaigns of some of the world’s leading brands.
6) You might get access to useful or unique resources
All companies are built differently. Different personalities, different histories and experiences, different locations. Different ideas on where to invest their money.
Over the years some of the value partners have brought to a collaboration are things I would have never specifically gone looking for.
I’ve partnered with businesses that had their own in-house video editing studio. I’ve worked for a startup that had an in-house movie studio with three separate sound stages. Some partners provided large conference rooms, one had a screening room where we created amazing seminars and presentations.
Others brought trailers that were great for selling products at outdoor events and yet another had a mobile billboard. Access to ski-lodges or beach houses bring fond memories of some creative partnership activations.
7) Brand Trust
They say you can judge a person by the company they keep. The same applies to a commercial brand.
Edward Thorndike, a psychologist in the 1920s, coined the term, “Halo Effect” which is the tendency for positive impressions of a person, brand or product in one area to positively influence one's perceptions in another .
By choosing the right partner you can leverage this halo effect to lift the perception and value of your brand. Startup brand Mose attribute raising a $1 million funding round to the quality of their early partnerships.
"Most businesses actually get zero distribution channels to work. Poor distribution - not product - is the number one cause of failure.” - Peter Thiel, PayPal co-founder and investor.
8) Improved Product Distribution
Peter Thiel is really talking about the Placement P from the 4Ps of marketing. In other words, you can have the greatest product in the world but if you can’t get it in front of the right customers you will fail. Partnership marketing can help a lot with that.
There are many ways partners can help with distribution but one of my favourites right now is shared locations. Shared locations aren’t new but at the same time they haven’t always been mainstream.
A shared location is where a partner provides an agreed area within their own space for the other partners brand. A store within a store is the classic example of this but it isn’t the only way to share space.
We’ve seen a mini grocery store with specialist products inside a restaurant. An art gallery partnering with a cafe to display some of their artwork in front of hungry diners. A more established small brand might have a regular tent at a farmers market and you might be able to negotiate setting up a small stand to display your products with them.
A distribution partnership isn't always about physical spaces or products though. Having your product or service listed on a partners website or on an online store increases distribution. Integrating your software with another software product also increases distribution.
The ways of expanding your distribution via partnerships are endless. Just get creative and ask. All they can do is say no.
9) It helps cut through the noise
These days we're constantly bombarded by advertising, notifications and Tik Tok videos that a lot of people have an automatic blindness to ads. Ad blocker use has sky rocketed, even on mobile phones now. Brands either have to spend more money on paid ads for a lower return or find alternative ways to reach prospective customers.
Successful partnership marketing strategies are often very creative, product placement in a local theatre production can have a really high ROI. People still like to receive messages from the brands they trust and when you form a marketing partnership with a brand that has the right audience you will cut through the noise for mutual benefits.
As you can see there are many ways that partnership marketing can help your business grow. You don't need to chase all of these benefits with each campaign and not every campaign needs to be a complicated arrangement. Sometimes you might partner up just to create a piece of content and cross promote it.
Also, partnership marketing isn't something you do in isolation. You still need to create content, strengthen your SEO and drive a referral program. When partnership marketing is part of your marketing strategy it acts as a strong multiplier to increase brand awareness and deliver new customers.
Large corporations have been taking advantage of strategic alliances for decades. Not all types of strategic partnerships are accessible to smaller businesses and startups but strategic marketing partnerships are something to incorporate into your marketing strategy as soon as you can.
Not all partnerships go perfectly though so check out these slip ups to avoid.
As marketing partnerships are becoming more popular we’re seeing them get more creative. Check back regularly to see breakdowns, case studies and interviews of some of our favourite partnership examples.
Click here to see our epic list of partnership marketing examples
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