What Is Partner Marketing + Types, Benefits and How to Form a Marketing Partnership

Digital Marketing
What Is Partner Marketing + Types, Benefits and How to Form a Marketing Partnership
Article by Bisera Stankovska
Last Updated: June 24, 2022

With marketing, fast-paced changes are inevitable, and marketers have no choice but to implement those changes for businesses to keep up.

With the ongoing changes, the way digital marketing agencies promote products globally has changed too!

Scaling a business to new heights can be difficult when you plan on doing everything in-house. However, fostering strategic external partnerships for more significant insights can substantially help.

Let’s dive straight into discovering what partner marketing is and how it can help:

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What Is Partner Marketing?

The business world is fast expanding and needs different deliverables to scale. Adopting new modes of marketing allows us to keep up with the changing phases in the current times. And here’s where Partner marketing is used:

Partner marketing refers to a strategic collaboration between two businesses. This collaboration is done for businesses to reach their respective goals, with a mutual set of values that benefit both parties.

Apart from businesses, this collaboration could also be between an opinion leader and an influencer.

While implementing a Partner Marketing strategy, both firms need to be similar in operations but different enough to add a diverse value proposition to the audience.

Partner Marketing can help increase visibility, brand awareness, and lead generation and help you reach a wider audience with less time and resources.

You can incorporate partner marketing in your workflows in the following ways:

  • Hosting a joint webinar
  • Exchanging content with your respective audiences
  • Conducting research and sharing research findings
  • Producing premium and exclusive content like eBooks together
  • Referring prospects to one another

Marketing Partnership vs. Business Partnership

From a bird’s eye view, there isn’t much difference between a marketing partnership and a business partnership since these ideas imply collaborating with another entity. However, certain minute factors make both these models different from each other.

With a business partnership, every partner must pay business tax on the income they have earned, which is not the case with marketing partnerships. Content collaborations are also similar to marketing partnerships, as the social measurability and impact of content aren’t always measured in terms of money.

A business partnership is a legal relationship with a written agreement between two businesses.

General, limited and limited liability are the different types of business partnerships which are officially registered associations.

Since marketing partnerships are less formal, those collaborations can be agreed upon verbally, and legalities need not be involved in this kind of partnership.

Differences in these models are based on legalities, purpose, and duration.

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Types of Partner Marketing

Partner marketing is an umbrella term that encapsulates other models of marketing too. Now that we’ve understood what partnership marketing is let’s check out what the other different models have to offer.

Affiliate Partnerships

74% of companies say partnerships and affiliate marketing campaigns are a high priority for their business.

The publishers market the links to the brand partners’ sites to drive their website traffic. When anyone clicks the link and makes a purchase, the publisher gets paid as per the decided amount.

These publishers can be other websites, blogs, and brands whose target audiences have similar tastes and preferences to yours.

Affiliate marketing can be done in multiple ways — hyperlinks, banner ads, promotional pages, and newsletters. It can also be done as part of a strategy developed by social media marketing specialists.

Referral Partnerships

Referral partnerships are based on the referrals made by the partners who have had first-hand experience with your products.

Your partners recommend your services to their existing business prospects in exchange for a commission or a sale.

Recommendations can be compelling, as the referrals come from trusted industry players, and the audience is more likely to trust their opinion.

This model may be a bit slower compared to the other models and may generate fewer leads. But as they develop over time, they can snowball, eventually impacting your sales.

Joint Partnerships

Joint Partnerships involve two companies getting together to create a product or service that none of them could be able to produce on their own. SaaS companies typically do this to offer complementary services to the users.

Content Partnerships

Brands create content together. Sometimes a project is a collaboration. And often, one brand produces the content, and the other distributes it.

Distribution Partnership

A company agrees to bundle up the other companies’ products with theirs and decides to distribute them. As the name suggests, distribution partnership involves cross-distributing each other’s products, often with discounts applied.

This can be done with ways such as magazine coupons, in-store coupons, mobile coupons, QR codes, and email vouchers.

Some other types of partner marketing include:

  • Event sponsorship
  • Partnering with charities
  • Product placement
  • Joint product partnership
  • Licensing agreements
  • Content marketing partnerships
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Benefits of Partner Marketing

The primary reasons for partnering up include monetary benefits, increased customer base, and boosted sales. However, looking at the bigger picture, partner marketing can also help with an enhanced market share, gain visibility, and increase market performance.

Check out some of the benefits that Partner Marketing helps with:

1. Boosts the Marketing Aspects

Companies are no longer limited by their marketing budgets or the number of people working on these operations. Joint efforts such as in partner marketing involve companies paying for the marketing expenses.

The conventional models that operate with the help of digital marketing consultants can cause money, performance, process, products, and services to fall short - and partner marketing can fill these gaps

2. Allows You to Reach a Wider Audience

57% of organizations use partnerships to acquire new customers.

Partner marketing refers to companies supporting each other, similar to a referral program.

The alternative use of one-sided marketing can make brand trust and following difficult, which is why using partner marketing (particularly with another reputable brand) is recommended.

Once you reach a wider number of audiences, you can expand to different verticals and markets with an omnichannel marketing approach in a quicker timeline as compared with the conventional methods.

3. It is a Low-Risk Marketing Model

Another benefit is that it is a comparatively low risk. You can have your products displayed to your target audience in exchange for a small fee or commission.

With little at stake, partner marketing can be an ideal model for small businesses or startups.

4. Allows You to Add More Value to Your Business

Firms usually cannot allocate the right resources and hence need to join hands with other firms to find the missing piece of the puzzle.

These partnerships may also offer certain unique services or products that can create a unique value proposition. By adding more value to each other’s work, collaborations are more likely to add value to the customer.

How to Find the Perfect Marketing Partner?

1. Put a Plan into Place

Before you finalize your ideal marketing partner, you must pen down the goals you wish to achieve with the relationship. A plan can help you with a streamlined search. However, it is also essential to ensure that there is no conflict of interest when joining hands with a similar business to yours.

Find the ones with similar target audiences and the same industry that can offer complementary services.

Opportunities and requirements can differ significantly, and that’s why there isn’t an ideal template for finding the perfect marketing partner.

2. Take the First Step in Building a Relationship

Identify the right fit for you and reach out by taking the first step.

If you are taking the first step with an email, make sure to keep it short. Ensure that you are clear about the partnership's scope and offerings.

Ensure you are doing enough research. This shows the other firm that you are genuinely interested in joining hands with them.

The communication to follow will include a brief call to get to know each other up close and personal.

If the concerned person isn’t a a good fit, consider communicating the issues or simply move on. Ensure that both sides don’t rush into the collaboration since it can be a significant investment for both sides—more on that in the following points.

3. Make Sure that Collaboration Economics Makes Sense

As mentioned above, both firms should appeal to the same demographics. Ensure that the partner is not a direct competitor; otherwise, your customers could soon be their customers. Likewise, it is vital not to partner up with firms with offerings that are poles apart from your products. If so, your audiences might soon lose interest in your offering, resulting in a completely dwindled customer base.

Highlight what you can offer and what the other firm can offer to your firm.

Here are some ways your partner can assist you:

  • Help you grow a customer or membership base
  • Assist in increasing brand awareness
  • Boost your social media following
  • Shed light on the audience who are unaware of your offering

Make sure to have a partnership agreement to highlight branding rules and guidelines so that they know what the other business can say about your business. You can refer to these agreements so that you can refer to them for future references.

Set measurable goals for the partnership and keep the communication ball rolling. Ensure to tap into specific tools to track the progress of the alliance too.

4. Begin with the Partnership

It is vital to ensure that you set apart the right set of partnerships upfront so there is no confusion.

With multiple parties involved, it is best to keep the process crystal clear are some of the fundamental questions that you need to have the answers to:

  • Who are the presenters and the main points of contact for the firm?
  • Which firm will be the host?
  • Who will work on the editing process?
  • Which firm will work on the promotions of the webinar and when?
  • Any follow-up activities that you need to conduct?

5. Ensure Consistent Communication

Communicating each other’s requirements, strengths, and weaknesses and ensuring that the other firm can provide the solution substantially helps. This will give you a brief idea of how both companies can complement each other.

Laying down the guidelines just right from the beginning can ensure that the process is smooth for all and ensures that the collaboration turns out to be a fruitful one.

What Is Partner Marketing: Takeaways

Partner Marketing collaborations can take multiple forms, making it crucial to find a suitable business case for you. Make sure to communicate the needs to your partner and provide them with details you need to give to the other party.

If done right, the right partnership can help save time, effort, and resources for your firm and prove fruitful in the long run. Further down the road, it can also lead to the creation of products that could be the solution to the long-standing problems that our audience might be facing.

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