What is partnership marketing?

My take on partnership marketing is one of those vague terms we as marketers are supposed to know inside out. Being honest, I had my own idea of what is was but I think it is one of those concepts that is open to interpretation.

I think partnership marketing is two brands working together to promote themselves without money changing hands. Last week I went to the CIM event where Tara Honeywell explained in a bit more detail what it means. Her presentation solely focused on B2C but I have decided to give an example of my own for B2B.

Before I move on to B2B here’s an image Tara used of David Beckham for H&M.

Now to me, this isn’t partnership marketing. This is what I would describe as a celebrity endorsement. Yes, you could say Beckham is partnering with them but in reality the only thing he is getting from doing this is money. He already raises his profile with Calvin Klein in similar campaigns which as a brand, is more aligned to his image.

Moving on from David in his underwear (sadly), what I took most from Tara’s presentation was partnership marketing is really two or more brands working together to boost sales or profile.

Last year I created a piece of content marketing for the solicitor’s firm I work for. Like most law firms I have spoken to, our local databases of contacts were few and far between. I knew if I was going to be able to get the content out to the local community I was going to have to partner with local bodies who had strong databases of engaged individuals.

The content was a survey of south London businesses so I needed local bodies like Chambers of Commerce to send it out for me. In order to get them engaged with the survey, I spoke to them beforehand to find out what their objectives were and incorporated these into some of the questions. That way they were happy to circulate the survey to their members because the information they would receive back would be invaluable to them.

Tara said it is important to “clear objectives and ambition from the outset.” For me, it was very important to get these organisations engaged and make sure there was some sort of written agreement to confirm what they would do for us and vice versa. Being clear and organised for the outset was very important. Especially since I was relying on these people to circulate the survey content for me.

To me, this is how firms can use partnership marketing to their advantage. No money exchanged hands and by offering the results of the survey and adding the local bodies to the survey it provided them profile building in return.

I suppose this is a bit dull compared to the wine and cheese partnerships Tara spoke about but for a law firm this was a fantastic way to get our brand out in South London and produce a strong piece of content for the press, our website and a hard copy to circulate to clients.

If you’re interested you can view the survey here http://businessinsights.anthonygold.co.uk/business-survey-download.php