Partnership Marketing: What is it Exactly?
The first thing that came to mind when I first heard the term was an old adage. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” When two companies that are remotely in the same field as one another, then the odds are they most likely compete with one another for the lion’s share of the profit. However, not everything is about competition in marketing. If you think about it, if everything was in competition, we wouldn’t have a lot of the products or customization that were born out of cooperation in the first place.
So, what makes two or more companies cooperate in a partnership? What are some of the intricacies that are involved, and what makes them so successful?
The Definition of Partnership Marketing
Partnership marketing, at least according to econsultancy.com, “…is meant to be a long-term coming together of two brands, whether it’s integrations, interesting sponsorships, innovative attractions, a series of marketing campaigns, or utilizing another brand as a reward mechanism.”
In plain English, that means that two companies join to create a series of marketing campaigns. Usually for the benefit of profit for both brands.
Why do Different Companies Partner Up?
The reason behind any partnership between two people or groups is the achievement of a common goal. However, these goals vary from company to company. In fact, it varies so much that people who have studied on the subject have found 10 reasons for partnership marketing. These reasons are not rigid. In fact, it can often change according to market response.
This includes but does not limit to:
- Affiliation – “Affiliate marketing is a performance marketing technique where websites otherwise will promote your product or service in return for a monetary reward.” An example of this is youtube playing 10-second ads for another company’s product for some of the revenue.
- Distribution – One partner agrees to attach a sample or giveaway of another company’s product for revenue. An example of this is a textbook company sending out a Starbucks instant coffee packet with book rentals.
- Charitable – A primary brand sponsors or markets itself with a charitable organization or cause. Their primary motivation is publicity through those charity channels. An example of this would be a brand of dog food sponsoring an event for the ASPCA.
- Joint Products – “When two companies agree to create a new product or alter an existing product in order to provide additional value to the customer.” This is done to create something that would address multiple audiences. An example of this is a line of Star Wars makeup was advertised by Cover Girl.
- Product Placement – This is the most common form of partnership marketing. This when the presence of a brand is made clear in any media channel. Examples of this are littered everywhere, but the biggest example that was the most blatant was the replacement of the famous dry martini in James Bond movies, for a Heinikin in 2012’s Skyfall.
- Shared Stores – This is when two products that are often associated with one another share the same location. An example of this would be a coffee shop and a bookstore sharing the same building.
What Makes Successful Partnership Marketing?
There are brands who have succeeded in this tactic, and there are those who have failed altogether. And that makes sense, there is always a degree of risk that goes with a partnership involved with two businesses. So, if you are thinking about partnering your own company with another on a marketing campaign, you might want to consider these factors.
- Is this Company Compatible with my Brand?
When a group of people decides to work together, they almost always need to be on the same page. That doesn’t mean agreeing on absolutely everything, but you at least need to share the same priorities, company values, aspirations and target audience.
- Am I in it for the Long Haul?
Marketing campaigns and promotions take a while to conceptualize, gather resources, and execute. What’s more, there is a certain level of transparency that is a requirement in this type of business partnership. If you think you are not comfortable with the possibility of months or years of coming up with a campaign with this other company, you might not be compatible with one another.
- Are Both of your Brands Compatible?
People tend to like things that make sense in combination with one another. For instance, if you are an outdoor paint company, you might want to partner with someone in a related industry. A furniture company comes to mind. If you partner up that same paint company with a daycare, you are not going to get a lot of people to think about either business.