Advertising, sales campaigns, and social media have been the go-to marketing strategies for almost every business out there –including businesses wanting to positively impact the planet and the people on it. But how effective are these strategies in today’s business climate, and is there a better or alternative option moving forward?
Here at Nadi Marketing –we’d say yes!
There is an incredibly powerful marketing solution gaining popularity across industries highlights the idea that we can make a greater impact as a collective working together rather than separately. Partnership marketing is a strategy that brings unique advantages to everyone involved and encourages collective action in achieving business goals!
Today’s marketing landscape encourages us to consider similar companies as the competition. What if instead, we as eco-businesses, chose to view each other as collaborators and partners?
As one of our core service offerings at Nadi Marketing, we’ve gone all in on partnership marketing because we know it works! And we want every impact-led business to understand why partnerships are the best way to grow and scale your business so you can reach more people and increase your impact.
To help you out, we’ve put together an ultimate guide to partnership marketing that will walk you through:
- What partnership marketing is
- The benefits of partnerships
- What types of partnerships are there
- Examples of marketing partnerships
- Expert tips to help you start your partnership marketing journey
What is partnership marketing?
Partnership marketing is when two organizations strategically collaborate to achieve mutually beneficial goals. Ideally, partners leverage each other’s strengths to open up new opportunities and bring unique advantages to the partnership.
According to Impact, “partnerships are not simply a part of marketing, but represent a completely independent third revenue driver, one that can stand alongside marketing and sales.”
What are the benefits of partnership marketing?
In a partnership, each partner has an individual goal they want to achieve. Some of these goals (or benefits) include tapping into new markets, increasing brand exposure, accessing new audiences, sharing costs and risks, increasing revenue, and much more.
Depending on where your business is at and what milestones you want to achieve, you’ll want to strategically align your business campaigns with an organization or brand that makes sense for your specifical objectives and goals.
Your first step is determining what goal or goals you want to accomplish. Here are four common partnership business goals that can benefit your socially and environmentally responsible business.
Gain access to new markets and customers
Teaming up with another business or brand opens up an entirely new audience to tap into. This new audience could provide access to new markets, geographies, or customer segments that otherwise would be inaccessible.
57% of organizations use partnerships to acquire new customers because it’s an advantageous way to capture market share quickly and before your competition.
Whether your partner’s audience is large or small, you can expect a higher conversation rate if your business is marketed to a curated and nurtured audience that has an established trust with your partner.
Build your brand value and brand awareness
Brand value and awareness play a crucial part in building a successful business. When you partner with reputable brands, their brand loyalty is automatically extended toward your business, thus building your brand value. Through partnership marketing, you can immediately tap into a loyal audience and increase your brand awareness using your partner’s brand loyalty and trust.
When you expand your business’s customer base through partnership collaboration, you expose your business and offers to more people, opening up the potential for high-intent customers to invest in your offers. This can increase conversions and increase revenue for your business. According to Wolfgang Digital, partnership programs contribute 28% of the company’s overall revenue.
Partnerships are a cost-effective marketing strategy that will save you money in the short and long term! By sharing resources, partners can extend marketing budgets and capabilities, thus reducing their overall marketing costs!
Saving money can be particularly useful for small businesses that may need more resources to invest in specific marketing strategies but still want to grow and scale a successful business.
10 Types of Marketing Partnerships
Marketing partnerships are an excellent way for businesses to engage with other brands and work together to achieve their marketing goals. Below you’ll find the 10 most common marketing partnerships for your business.
Event partnerships: when two or more brands form partnerships to sponsor events or co-host events like workshops, webinars, product demos, masterclasses, and more.
Influencer partnerships: when a brand partners with influencers or content creators to promote products or services and expand its audience reach.
Affiliate partnerships: when a brand provides discounts or incentives to their audience to share their offers or drive traffic to their products or services in exchange for a commission on leads or sales generated from their efforts.
Loyalty program partnerships: when brands offer joint loyalty rewards for customers purchasing or investing at both companies.
Sponsorship partnerships: when a business provides financial capital or in-kind donation for a partner in exchange for advertising their company or brand on a specified campaign or channel.
Content partnerships: when brands develop content to advertise on a partner’s content channels (articles, podcasts, promo videos).
Cross-promotional partnerships: when two or more brands often promote each other’s products or services to their audiences through joint advertising campaigns.
Co-branding partnerships: when two or more brands collaborate to create a new product or service that combines the best of both brands. This is also known as Joint Product Development.
Charitable partnerships: when a business and charity work together to raise money and spread awareness, usually by associating a specific product or service and having the percentage of the proceeds go directly to the charity. This can also be referred to as cause marketing.
Distribution partnerships: when two businesses or brands bundle their products or services at a discounted rate to increase sales.
The list above includes the most common types of partnerships across multiple industries. However, there are many other types of marketing partnerships, including joint advertising, licensing partnerships, ambassador partnerships, mobile partnerships, native software integrations, product placement, and more.
2 Examples of Marketing Partnerships
Co-Branding Partnership Example: UNICEF + Target
UNICEF and Target entered a co-branding partnership campaign called Kid Power, which “committed Target to one of UNICEF’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) by selling kid-friendly fitness trackers encouraging the wearer to complete various fitness activities, which ultimately helped deliver food packets to underprivileged children worldwide.” This ongoing partnership “generates awareness of global malnutrition, helps UNICEF meet its demanding SDGs, and opens up Target to a demographic of families they might otherwise have had access to and generate awareness of.” (HubSpot)
Event Partnership Example: SurveyMonkey + Fitbit
SurveyMonkey and Fitbit joined forces for a ‘deminar’ event (a webinar format with a product demonstration) to cross-promote their offers. During the deminar, SurveyMonkey demoed their new Enterprise subscription level and gifted attendees with a free Fitbit! This partnership allowed SurveryMoney to use an incentive (a free Fitbit) to boost attendance while Fitbit got more exposure for its product.
Partnership Marketing Tips
How can you find the right partners to collaborate with? What’s the process of starting a partnership? And what should you do before you even start your search? These are all questions to consider before beginning your partnership marketing journey. To help you prepare, follow our simple three-step framework.
Step 1: Identify your goals
Before you even start looking for a marketing partner, you need to identify your marketing goals and objectives to determine what type of partnership you need and what you want to achieve from the alliance.
Step 2: Identify the right partners
Once you know your goals around this partnership, you can research potential partners that align with your values and objectives. Make a running list of partners that align with your values, match your possible marketing campaign goals, have complementary products or services, and have similar target audiences.
Step 3: Reach out
Once you have solidified your partnership marketing list, start contacting brands and businesses via email, social media, LinkedIn, or a mutual acquaintance (if applicable). Introduce yourself and your business and explain why a partnership between your two companies would benefit them. Be sure to highlight what they will get out of this partnership and make sure to follow-up.
Why Partnership Marketing Strategy Is More Important Than Ever
Partnership marketing is proving to be a key player in scaling successful businesses no matter what industry. And let’s be honest, it’s getting harder for companies to cut through social media noise, brand messages are getting lost in the constant stream of information, and paid ads aren’t giving the returns they used to.
But if we develop and nurture pre-existing relationships with our audiences, (no matter how small or niche) we can leverage that trust we’ve built with them and partner with other like-minded business owners to open up new opportunities and tap into new ones audiences through partnership marketing.
Partnership marketing can become your business’s biggest growth driver! If you still don’t believe us, here are some stats to back us up:
- 74% of surveyed companies reported that partnerships and affiliate marketing campaigns are a high or very high priority for their businesses (Partnerize)
- 82% of B2B leaders plan to add to their roster of partners in 2022 (Demand Gen)
- By 2025, nearly a third of total global sales are predicted to come from ecosystems (cross-industry players working together to create solutions) (McKinsey & Company)
- 81% of brands run affiliate marketing programs (AWIN)
- 55% of marketers say partnerships are important for driving growth and increasing revenue. (Impact)
- 42 percent of surveyed businesses said partnerships improve their customer retention price. (Impact)
- 71% of consumers enjoy partnership marketing campaigns (Visual Objects)
Hopefully, this guide explains why partnership marketing is a highly effective strategy for tapping into new markets, building brand awareness, increasing engagement, and driving revenue growth. The key to partnership marketing is to combine the right resources and leverage each other’s strengths to create mutually beneficial opportunities that drive growth for your business so you can continue to positively impact the planet and the people on it.
Have questions about partnership marketing? Reach out! We’d love to answer any questions about this marketing strategy.
Are You Considering Outsourcing Your Marketing Partnerships?
If this sounds out of your comfort zone or too overwhelming to add to your to-do list, consider outsourcing your partnership marketing!
Nadi Marketing supports socially and environmentally responsible businesses in identifying, building, and fostering key brand partnerships to reach target audiences and create new customers one partnership collaboration at a time.
Our packages include partnership reach out, execution, and tracking, a partnership tracker, monthly updates and strategy call, and a Co-Marketing Agreement for non-monetary partnerships.
At Nadi Marketing, we aim to bring business owners together to collaborate on one central goal for maximum potential. From social media lives to co-hosting an event to an affiliate partnership, we’ll help you add partnerships to your marketing strategy.
Article References & Links
Demand Gen Report: 2022 Channel/Partner Marketing Benchmark Survey
BPI Network: A Report on the Strategic Value of Business Alliances and Compatible Partner Matching.
HubSpot Publication: 21 Examples of Successful Co-Branding Partnerships (And Why They’re So Effective). August 18, 2022.
Impact Publication: Ultimate guide to partnership marketing.
Impact Report: 14 Top Benefits of Partnership Marketing.
McKinsey Publication: McKinsey Quarterly 2018 Number 1: Overview and Full Issue. March 23, 2018.
AWIN Publication: What is the True Value of Affiliate Marketing? (15 Key Statistics) December 7, 2018.
Visual Objects Survey: 4 Essentials for Co-Branding Success. May 2021