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How to launch a partnership marketing campaign

December 7, 2021

Looking for a way to increase your brand awareness, boost sales, and meet your marketing goals faster? Are your paid advertising campaigns not returning what they once did? If you answered yes to the questions above, then your business needs partnership marketing. Partnership marketing is an accessible, high ROI, alternative to paid advertising and other forms of promotion. So in this guide, we will look at what partnership marketing is and the steps you will need to take to launch a partnership marketing campaign.

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What is partnership marketing?

Partnership marketing is a collaboration between two brands to create a marketing campaign that is beneficial to both parties.

The goal of the strategic collaboration between the partners is so that both brands can help each other reach their respective business objectives.

To illustrate how partnership marketing works, here's an example between Red Bull – an energy drink company, and GoPro – a camera company.

Red Bull and GoPro entered into a strategic partnership in 2016. The partnership allowed GoPro to become an exclusive partner to capture things like stunts and action sport events on video – from the athlete’s perspective at Red Bull’s events.

The partnership between both brands has allowed them to enter new markets, amplify their collective international reach, create new product lines, boost content promotion, and increase their influence.

Collaborations like this show the benefits of running partnership marketing. Not only is partnership marketing accessible to brands of all sizes, but it can also be an effective alternative to other forms of promotions.

Here are some stats to make a case for brand partnerships:

  • 54% of companies say partnerships drive more than 20% of total company revenue.
  • Roughly 11% of marketers say "partnership posts" are their brand's most engaging type of social media content.
  • 27% of brand leaders say their top priorities include finding more partners and also strengthening relationships with existing partners.

A step-by-step guide to running a partnership marketing campaign

To run a successful partnership marketing campaign, there are important steps you must follow. Let's look at those steps in this section.

1. Set your goals

The first step is to set the goals you want to achieve from the brand partnership. It's the goals you choose that will determine how you’ll measure success at the end of the campaign.

Also, your goals will determine the kind of brands you partner with and also how the collaboration will look like.

Here are some possible goals you could choose from. The goals will be divided into two categories:

  • Brand awareness – increase market share,  increase the reach of your marketing campaigns, grow your social share of voice, boost your social media following, etc.
  • Increased revenue – increase your sales activity, find new opportunities to drive revenue, lead generation, etc.

Once you have set your goals, record the metrics for each goal before the start of your campaign. So you can compare them with the metrics at the end of your campaign.

2. Select the type of partnership marketing to run

The next step is to determine the type of partnership you want to run.

Each partnership has its benefits, strategy, and will be effective depending on your business goals.

Here are some types of partnerships you can try out:

Channel partner marketing

Channel partner marketing is an alternative to the direct sales method. In this marketing model, you will work with third parties like distributors, agents, and dealers – instead of an internal team, to promote your brand’s product and services.

For example, let's say your company manufactures printers. You could choose to directly sell to customers or you can work with a channel partner who has a network of distributors to sell your product.

Strategic alliances (strategic partnership marketing)

A strategic alliance is an arrangement between two businesses that have agreed to share resources to work toward a common objective that will benefit each business while remaining independent organizations. It can also be called co-marketing or symbiotic marketing.

Two businesses may enter a strategic alliance to reach new audiences, gain an edge over their competitors, or improve their product line.

Strategic alliances allow businesses to see growth more quickly than if they have acted alone. But note that this partnership model is only effective if both businesses get equal benefits from the alliance. The partnership should create new perks and benefits to both businesses' audiences.

The Red Bull and GoPro partnership mentioned earlier is an example of a strategic alliance. Both brands partner to promote their products and events while remaining independent of each other.

Nonprofit partnership marketing (cause marketing)

Brands can also form partnerships with nonprofits. The nonprofit gains new opportunities to create awareness for their cause and also raise money. While the for-profit brand can improve their public reputation.

Nonprofit partnerships are most effective when you partner with nonprofits that align with your brand values.

An example of a nonprofit partnership is Uber and No Kid Hungry. Uber partnered with No Kid Hungry to “drive out hunger.” After a ride, Uber users have the option to donate $5 (USD) to the No Kid Hungry nonprofit. At the end of the campaign, the partnership raised $5 million for the nonprofit and generated a lot of goodwill for Uber.

3. Find suitable brands to partner with

After you have decided on the type of partnership you want to run, the next step is to find the best brands to partner with.

Depending on the amount of time and money you want to spend, there are two ways you can find suitable brands to partner with.

1. Manual research

This is the most affordable but time-consuming way to look for partners. While cheap, manual research is tedious and it can be difficult to find quality brands to work with.

Here are some examples of how you can perform manual research:

First, you can perform a Google search. Search for the keyword that matches the kind of brand you want to work with.

Google search list for keywords


You can also use social media to search for brands you can partner with. Just like in the Google search method, you can enter the keyword for the industry you want to partner with and use filters to narrow down the search results.

Results of a keyword search in Instagram


The problem with manual research is that it's difficult to have access to quality brands or even identify the brands that are looking for partnerships. Managing your outreach can also be difficult with manual research. This brings us to our next method.

2. Use a partnership marketing platform

The use of partnership marketing platforms will save you a lot of time and also give you significantly better results. It makes it very easy to run a partner marketing campaign – especially if you want to collaborate with multiple partners.

A partnership marketing platform like Intribe is essential for running a partner program, no matter what type of brand partnership it is. With the help of Intribe, companies, social enterprises, and nonprofits can easily collaborate to create amazing partnerships.

All you need to do is create your profile on Intribe. This will allow you to discover and be discovered by other brands that are looking for partners. You can easily search for brands in your area or industry.

With Intribe, not only are you sure that you are connecting with quality brands looking for partnership opportunities, but you will also have access to brands that would have been out of your reach normally.

Think of Intribe as the “Tinder for brands”. Get Early Access to Intribe.

4 things to consider when choosing a brand to partner with

To help you choose the most suitable partners to work with, here are some things to consider:

1. Does the partner have a similar audience to yours?

When choosing a brand to collaborate with, they must have a similar audience as yours. The partner might be in the same industry as you or serve a similar demographic as yours. A key thing to note is that the brand you partner with should not be a direct competitor.

It's also important that you partner with brands whose brand identity and value harmonize with yours. For example, a vegan shoe brand like Beyond Skin can partner with a non-profit like The Vegan Society because they have similar values.

2. Are they influential in your industry?

It's a good idea to work with brands that can help you reach your business objectives faster. Look at things like how many followers they have on social media, how engaged their followers are, their customer reviews and testimonials, etc.

3. What value will the prospective partner bring to the partnership?

Make sure that the brand you are about to partner with will offer benefits that you can't achieve on your own. Depending on your goals, you can ask questions like:

Will this partner

  • Help me increase my brand awareness?
  • Grow my social media following?
  • Expose my product to new audiences that will be willing to make purchases?
  • Help me grow my customer base? etc.

Likewise, you should also reach out to brands that can benefit from you. No brand will be willing to partner with you if they won't gain anything.