Marketing partnerships can unlock growth for your business.
When done right, marketing partnerships can generate greater value for your customers and subsequently expedite growth for your brand.
What is marketing partnership?
Marketing partnerships are strategic collaborations between different organisations with an overall goal to generate marketing benefits for all parties.
Marketing partnerships should not be used as marketing tactics to patronise consumers by being associated with another brand. Instead, it should provide greater value than what a brand could offer independently and aim at driving business growth and value for consumers. (If you need a refresher on determining business goals, click here. For a recap on defining consumer value on their journey, refer to this.)
Often, this can be achieved by identifying synergies with potential partners in the following areas:
1. Brand associations - How do consumers perceive your potential partner's brand? How might that collectively bring about greater brand association for your brand
2. Networks - What are the existing networks that you can offer your potential partner and what could your brand leverage the potential partner's networks? This might be distribution network or resource network for greater marketing work.
3. Information / data - What information / data do you or your potential partner own about the target segment that you are after? Are there first-party data that can be shared to arrive at richer insights for more meaningful work.
4. Investment - Does your potential partner already have investment in some areas that can help boost the marketing work together? There can be cost sharing to reduce financial for greater marketing effectiveness.
5. Expertise - Are there areas of expertise that your potential partner might appreciate from you? Are there areas of specialisation that you can benefit from your potential partner too?
In the best-case scenario, potential partners can offer synergies across all five areas mentioned. However, that is usually not the case. Depending on your objective(s), prioritise areas that will be most crucial for your business.
What makes for a great marketing partnership?
Before jumping into any partnership, you should be clear of the goal you want to achieve. Any successful and impactful partnership should benefit businesses and consumers simultaneously. Start with a clearly articulated business goal that you want to achieve. Since a partnership leverages another party's strengths, consider goals that would have otherwise been difficult for you to achieve alone.
After clarifying the goal, decide how your brand should be perceived with the partnership. In other words, do you and the potential partner have a good brand fit?
Once you are clear of your business goal and evaluated a reasonable brand fit, you can use the following 2x2 matrix to assess potential partners.
How to strike a marketing partnership?
- Be clear on your intended outcomes and perimeters of a good brand fit for your business.
- Research on potential partner's strengths and how will success look like to them.
- Set a meeting to get to know one another (e.g., getting to know their capabilities and goals if these are not immediately available on public sources).
- Evaluate the potential with the 2x2 matrix.
- Pursue the partnership if it falls under "Must do" category.
- Establish partnership goals and partnership period, agree on investment, and communicate ways of working.
- Set cadence for reviewing the partnership against goals so that both parties can optimise the partnership and get the best out of one another.
- At the end of a partnership, consolidate learnings to be taken into the next partnership.