ELEVATING PARTNERSHIP MARKETING IN
MODERN TECH COMPANIES
Microsoft, Google, Apple, Atlassian all have one thing in common - they achieved rocketship scale through their integration, service and developer partner ecosystems.
Despite the huge impact Partnerships teams have in tech companies it is still rare to see a Partnerships or BD leader on the executive leadership team.
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Partnership marketing is simply defined as two or more businesses coming together to make something awesome happen. It’s the tangible result of successful networking with great business leaders. In the complex realm of today’s technological SaaS, simplicity is a treasured value. This is where having the right partnerships at the right times comes into play. We get it. You want to look for innovative ways to reach out to new audience demographics, right? Well, a partnership marketing strategy is a smart move. By partnering with the right brands, you will gain mutual benefit and insight into each other’s spheres of influence. You can generate partnership ideas and strong alliances, achieving new horizons not previously thought possible. All for one, and one for all. Let’s jump in.
What are the benefits of partnership marketing? There are many to reap, for certain. These mutual benefits include just a few of the following:
Savings on the bottom line. Who doesn’t like to save money? That’s the beautiful thing about partnerships. When your partners promote your products and services, you get instant savings in your advertising budget. In turn, the same is true for them. In other words, it pays to stick together.
Idea cross-pollination. Ideas are naturally exchanged between parties when you form alliances in your partnership marketing. This exchange is critical in forming a well-integrated ecosystem. As a result, long term relationships are forged, and new concepts are cultivated that could otherwise not have been made possible.
Broadened target reach. Your target reach broadens in the digital sphere with mutual partnerships. Their target audiences become yours, and vice versa.
Calibration of purpose. Ask yourself: what benefits do consumers receive from the service your organization provides? Why do you do what you do? With a marketing partnership, your vision will grow and become laser-focused. You’ll get constructive feedback from each other, and goals will shape into realities fulfilled.
B2B Partner Programs
It’s clear that coherency and structure are key to a winning B2B partnership strategy. But what does that look like, and how do you get there? Every relationship needs a solid foundation, and so does a partnership program. But what does that look like? How do you achieve it? The key to building a solid partnership program is similar to constructing a physical building. It begins with a strong foundation, and with B2B partnership marketing, that means everyone must be on the same page. A ‘kinda-sorta’ understanding basis is not enough. Everyone - and we mean, everyone - will need to have a clear vision of their role, what they do, and where everyone is going. These successful B2B partnership models are pillars that can help you visualize the framework of partnership marketing. These pillars are:
Clear expectations. All parties involved will need to have a meeting of the minds. If there are differences, acknowledge them to find out how they can be mitigated for the project. This helps to avoid future disagreements and strengthen your partnership strategy.
Establish team goals. Look at your partners as part of the team. Ensure clarity in your team goals with every business decision. Every detail is important to hammer out and examine, no matter how small. Going through this process together helps you learn other ways of doing business you might not have thought of before. Learn from them, and they will learn from you.
Highlight transparency. A culture of honesty is crucial in today’s business world. Establish an open door policy through your partnership ties. When trust is earned, this strong bond minimizes risk for your team and helps make your reputation and bottom line even stronger. Most of all, it’s simply the right thing to do.
Room to grow. It’s smart to think about growing room when you first establish a partnership campaign. Allowing room to grow ensures the partnership’s continued success and utilizes flexibility with changes to infrastructure that will not hinder operations.
No one is an island, and your brand doesn’t need to be either. A brand partnership strategy goes from good to great when everything clicks in your partnership relationship. Alliances are forged, strengthened, and profits grow. With a vibrant co-branding plan, you don’t need to build a brand new customer base from scratch. You’ll multiply the rewards with your collaborating organizations, and the benefits everyone reaps are further multiplied.
How is a co-branding strategy different from other marketing strategies? It’s an intuitive way to do business. The concepts combine to become brilliant hybrids that would otherwise not exist. These special campaigns can be put together for special events, or they can last for years in the long term. They may even be a combination of the two. Take the legendary partnership of Coca-Cola and the Olympics, for example. Though the Olympic Games themselves are seasonal, Coca-Cola has been a long term sponsor with them since 1928. That’s almost a whole century! These and other partnership marketing examples demonstrate the benefits of this innovative business model. Dow Chemical, GE Energy, and McDonald’s are other long term partners of the Olympic Games who remain loyal to this valuable partnership.
As mentioned above, partnership marketing collaborations are being held all over the world every day. Take a look at more of these real-world business partnerships examples for inspiration.
Business Partnership Examples
Classic partnership marketing examples are shining stars that reveal the hidden value behind this innovative marketing strategy. Take a look at these partnership examples below:
The Kid Power Campaign - If you want to do good and reap valuable benefits at the same time, partnerships with charitable organizations are a natural fit. This brilliant campaign in 2015 between UNICEF and the retail chain Target encouraged young consumers to enjoy the great outdoors. The program involved performing various fitness goals with a kid-sized fitness tracker available for purchase at Target. The sales provided funds for UNICEF to help fight global malnutrition in underserved communities. Needless to say, the response was a hit.
The Apple Pay App - Believe it or not, the Apply Pay app is the result of a beautiful partnership with Apple and MasterCard. Recognizing the opportunity, MasterCard became the first credit card company to facilitate a private credit service in a completely digital format. The app continues to enjoy success to this day as a revolutionized way for consumers to shop and make purchases.
Star Wars Makeup - Product promotion in the movie industry is one of the more common examples of partnership marketing, but this creative partnership between CoverGirl and Lucasfilm was special. With Lucasfilm’s help, CoverGirl launched a fun “Light Side” and “Dark Side” product line by the famous makeup artist Pat McGrath to get audiences excited for the movie release of “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.” Long story short, the campaign reaped significant benefits with over $2.066 billion box office revenue for the movie.
Where will your partnership marketing ventures take your company? When it comes to the power of together, the sky's the limit!
Partner Marketing Strategy
Whether it is between two companies or aligning multiple companies, a partnership marketing strategy is always on-trend. Increasing brand awareness and expanding revenues are common benefits enjoyed by the participants involved. Marketing partnerships have a great deal of flexibility based on the joined entities. The workflow, in turn, can be fluid from one group of businesses being allied at the start of a project, then evolving to a different group of businesses that are needed at the conclusion of the project.
The strengths of each business create a seamless flow of specialties and resources that are greater combined together than each company could deliver on its own. These B2B partnership strategy types can be facilitated through affiliation, sponsorships, and/or content.
Affiliation - This partnership tactic brings together publishers and brands. A great example of this includes the publisher of a blog or website. Said publisher collaborates with the brand to promote it to their audiences. It may be funneled with the brand providing a link through a banner ad, eNewsletter, or social media. Oftentimes publisher partners are paid through commissions measured by leads, clicks, gained revenue, or the like. The brand garners traffic which converts into new customers and sales.
Sponsorships - This classic type of partnership marketing provides high-impact exposure which builds awareness and reaches for building your brand identity. It is commonly incorporated during public events, whether live or broadcasted.
Content - There are several ways businesses can engage in content type partnerships. They can collaborate in content creation for the campaign and host it on both of their websites or platforms to audiences. Or, they can form a link building alliance in which one business develops the content while the other shares the designated links in the content to relevant areas such as social media. As a result, all partners involved gain the benefits of SEO and build exposure to their brands.
A successful alliance in your strategic partnership in digital marketing is key for a seamless experience. In order for this to work, business decisions will need to be symbiotic in timing and action for added value. Companies in every industry can benefit from a partnership marketing strategy. An excellent type of example is digital marketing partnerships between software and technology companies. These partnerships generate a flexible ecosystem designed to adapt to growing trends and business climates, especially within the cloud.
It is imperative for the successful partnership model to be flexible. Mutual business decisions will need to complement a partnership framework that aids in identifying the roles, tasks, and time frame involved if there is one. Accountability is also important to consider. The relationship between the two business partners itself will act as a guidepost. Both parties can learn their strengths and shortcomings, thus reaping the strategic partnership benefits of combining their qualities together to succeed in the campaign. This is where the functionality of a strategic partnership becomes a shining example, as each party can provide transparency in their feedback as a team.