The world of digital marketing can be a difficult one to navigate if you are just starting out. So why do it alone?
For decades, partnership marketing has been a fantastic way to build your brand image in front of a whole new audience by associating with another business! With over 90% of UK businesses being SMEs, being seen to stand out can prove to be tricky, but by teaming up with another business, you can create a unique opportunity to produce content that boosts your marketing game in front of your target audience.
What is partnership marketing?
A marketing partnership provides mutual marketing benefits for two businesses’. This covers a wide range of partnerships, and complexities, and often each partnership is unique to the companies involved
However, there is one single aim in mind; to bring two companies together to create a marketing campaign or long term plan that targets both companies' goals as one.
With this in mind, it is important of course to pick a partner who is aligned with your own business’ goal. After all, a fast-food restaurant and a B2B Coms team have very different end goals, audiences and needs. A partnership with them would not provide the best results. Think about who you would work best with, and who your audience would react well to when you start working with them. You want to be able to see results, so your values and your audience values need to line up and appear natural - not forced or contrived.
Bdaily, for example, look to partner with companies who have an interest in regional B2B advertising in the UK. Our audience is often business owners or influences who want to see B2B news from the UK. This means a partnership between us and a children’s clothes shop might not provide the best ROI, but working with a local IT solutions team might align with us perfectly. Our children’s clothes shop may be better connecting with a mum’s advice blog, where they will find a better audience to connect with.
Types of Partnership Marketing
Your type of partnership marketing will depend on a number of factors; end goals, company types, time and money. Each business and partnership is different, and whilst some might involve a number of different marketing aspects, others may only be able to fit one into a partnership. Here are some examples of Partnership Marketing types
Affiliate Marketing is where a brand or business partners with a publishing platform to host their marketing content on their website. This could be a blog, news site or social media account. The brand pays a commission, and in return benefits from boosted revenue, leads and clicks. This is a great way to introduce your business to a new audience whilst receiving a ‘seal of approval’ through association with a brand they already know and trust.
- In-content links (that relate back to your business from their website)
- Website banner ads
- Social Media Sharing (whether that is retweets or social media partnerships)
With Distribution Marketing, one company provides another with exclusive opportunities for them to then share with their audience. In return, the company then get access to the audience by guiding them to wherever the exclusive content is - whether that's a website, social account or email sign up list. This is a great way for companies to create long term customers, by giving them a taste of what they have to offer.
Businesses that are shown to have trust and association with a company resonate with both audiences, which has a positive effect on customer loyalty and retention. Distribution marketing is considered one of the most popular partnership marketing tactics due to its physicality - placing a brand directly on a product and with an audience creating visibility for both companies.
- QR Codes
- Exclusive offers
Joint Products see two businesses come together to work on a joint venture. Whether that is creating a brand new physical product together, or collaborating on a marketing campaign, joint products provide additional value for both party's customers. This works especially well with two very similar target audiences as they can appeal to both their own audience and that of the other company.
- Product mergers
- ‘Powered by’
- Brand collaborations
Content Marketing is the creation of relevant content that appeals to a business's target audience. Partnership marketing brings together two businesses with similar target audiences in the hope that the content will be seen and enjoyed by both parties.
There are two main ways content is used in partnership marketing. Firstly, two businesses’ may co-create a piece of content, meaning they both equally take part in the ideas and creation of the content at hand. For example, two businesses’ producing a podcast together, or writing a whitepaper that will appeal to both audiences (and give them a voice of leadership and authority). The second is link sharing. This is when one business primarily creates the content, and the second provides links back to their own pages within it, as well as helping to promote the content elsewhere. This could include a specific blog post or article and goes well with sponsorship marketing too.
Both of these are great for SEO as they boost a company’s association with specific topics, increase backlinks to a business and see website links being shared further across online spaces than before.
Sponsorships are probably one of the quickest ways to include partnership marketing into your marketing campaign. One business pays to see its logo or advertising appear as a ‘sponsor’ of another's events/content. Its future events and content then include your logo wherever it is seen. This is a great way for a smaller brand to use a known business’ influence to get a ‘seal of approval or alternatively, build your image in front of an established audience. The longevity of sponsorships also helps build up long term association and notability with the audience too.
- Event Sponsorships
- Newsletter Sponsorship
Pros and Cons of Partnership Marketing
Like any marketing tactic, the success of partnership marketing all depends on the business, resources, and time you have to put into it. The results can be unique to each business, so what has worked for one might not work for another. Testing and trialling your partnerships can be a good way to then look at your results and decide where to go next. There are, however, a number of pros and cons to consider.
- You can associate with well-known faces in your industry, increasing your relevance and authority in front of target audiences
- Both parties involved can see results out of the campaign
- It is a low-risk marketing option, as it places you in front of an audience who are guaranteed to connect with you
- Linking your business to another can end up doing damage if that company then goes on to make a mishap in the eyes of the consumer (so picking a good partner is important!)
- Creative conflict can result in disagreements between the partnership if neither of them can settle on how your partnership should playout
For SMEs, partnership marketing can be a great way to expand your audience, connect with similar businesses and save time and money on big marketing campaigns. With lots of choices, there is room for most businesses to involve partnership marketing in their next campaign. Hopefully, we have given you the info to guide your next steps in partnership marketing, and expand your audience horizons
Looking to start your partnership here? Bdaily offers several partner products to introduce you to our active business audience. Download our free media pack to find out more.