What Partnership Marketing Needs To Truly Amplify Brands
By Alex Song, CEO and Founder, Innovation Department
This article originally appeared in AW360 on March 4, 2019.
Building brands from the bottom up is never an easy task. And with competition to build brand awareness and loyalty tougher than ever before, reaching new customers can feel like an uphill battle. Yes, the industry has been revisiting outdoor and experiential marketing channels to grow audiences, but these efforts come with hefty price tags. Brands, especially those starting up or on a budget, should consider a highly cost-effective strategy that’s taking the spotlight: Partnership Marketing.
A partnership with the right company on the right project can go a long way in helping you acquire more customers and enhance your brand identity through association. Partnership marketing can help you deepen market share and tap into a bigger pool without building an audience from scratch or making a big investment. Of course, partnerships work better and last longer when both parties discover ways to highlight and cross-promote their offerings rather than just giving each partner access to the other’s clients.
Although there are a wealth of marketing strategies available, the time is now to explore the benefits of partnership marketing. This is because of the increased disruption the sharing economy is playing in brand-building. At its essence, the sharing economy is about the customer experience and making things as convenient as possible. This is where partnership marketing comes in. By allowing brands greater reach, positive brand association and more customer choice, partnership marketing is able to deliver on many of the promises of the shared economy. Airbnb’s partnerships with hotel-booking platform SiteMinder to list traditional hotel rooms on its platform and Flipboard to provide its users with lifestyle content tailored to their interests are two good examples of this concept in action. Uber and Spotify’s partnership that allows riders to create a soundtrack for their ride was also successful in bringing new users to both brands.
More Transparency And Data Needed For Marketing Partnerships To Flourish
In this time of collaboration and sharing, the partnership marketing model needs to fill in some of its gaps. The same kind of trust and transparency that underpin the sharing economy need to be front and center in today’s partnerships. Brands need a system of record that protects the marketing partners involved and validates return on investment. For example, LYFT has done a solid job sharing driver and rider ratings while Airbnb has created disruptive waves by establishing expansive trust through their Host and Guest Reviews.
Knowing the right partner to select can be a stumbling block. Right now, many partnership decisions are based on brand perception when they really should be based on data and analytics. As partnership marketing plays a bigger role in brand strategy, more tools and resources are needed to help streamline decision-making and provide richer data. On our platform, DojoMojo, we have seen more than 7,000 brands leverage the opportunity to more efficiently and transparently find marketing partnerships. For example, WellPath, a nutritional supplement company, grew their email audience from 4,000 to over 1.4 million through partnerships alone in the past 2 years. This expansion in email addresses led to positive sales conversions and proven ROI, which would have been much more challenging to generate without tapping the power of partnership marketing.
Creating and building brands can feel daunting, especially in the absence of large budgets. But cost-effective solutions like partnership marketing offer brands real opportunities to gain market share and extend share of voice. By adding more transparency and analytics to the process, this marketing channel is well-positioned to make a big difference for brands without requiring a big investment.