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Partnership Marketing

A few thoughts about how marketing and work with business development & the partnership team.

According to a Google snippet taken from topagency.com, "Partnership marketing is based on shared interest between two companies or entities and seeks to build brand awareness for both through product offerings or provision of other benefits to consumers. Google sponsored wi-fi at Starbucks is an example of partnership marketing." That's a good definition, but what about the strategy? Below I've outlined one such strategy that can be used as a framework for others.

 

Ideal Partner Profile

I have used ABM-like strategies to attract corporate partners. Both strategies follow the TEAM framework. The first

step is understanding the Ideal Partner Profile (IPP) which is similar to an Ideal Customer Profile in ABM. The simplified description of an IPP is to understand which data points are relevant to a good partnership. Both the firmographic data such as company size, ARR, target market, etc. and psychographic profile information like their favored customer type, how are they looking to grow and expand. Forrester has a great article by Stephanie Sessler about channel partners.

 

one-to-one strategy revolves around targeting a specific high value company such as Nike, Walmart, CVS Health, and Costco while a one-to-few strategy centers around specific industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, entertainment or CPG.

Hierarchy map

Using a tool like ZoomInfo can make this easier but the information can be found on LinkedIn as well. It would be more difficult to ascribe relationships but adjustments can be made along the way.

Content & Conversion Funnel

Part of the strategy revolves around creating a content map which targets specific job titles/levels and different points in the conversion funnel. Of course the one-to-one strategy centers around creating very specific content which addresses how your service can help with their specific wants, needs and pain points while the one-to-few content strategy is similar with the exception that it needs to address more general wants and needs of an industry rather than the needs of a specific company.

Content would then be needed to be created at each level of the conversion funnel for each position in the IPP, starting with bite-size content to entice interaction which then leads to more long-form content to provide an in-depth look into how your company can help resolve their needs.  


This content conversion funnel would lead to a micro-site specifically targeted at that company or industry with all the contact information they would need including phone numbers, email addresses or a request for more information form. 


Additional form of content include: 

  • Support documents for the partner company (how to respond to concerns, step by step guides, best practices) 

  • Sales tools like PowerPoint documents to help the partnership and sales teams. 

  • Videos and recorded demos which show the product in action. 

Measuring Progress

KPIs would need to be considered when expanding the scope of outreach. Initial partner outreach can be measured by KPIs like the number of conversations being held with target partner companies and other engagement metrics like page views, content downloads and emails opened. 

Engage

Once the assets are in place engagement can begin such as email outreach, remarketing and outreach on platforms like LinkedIn. As the campaign progresses the targeted company persona are scored and graded based on implicit and explicit data. The partnership team starts calling when the account has shown interest by engaging with our content as determined by score, calling us, or filling out a contact form. 


Activate

After initial engagement the partnership, marketing and sales teams work to create win/win products and campaigns with our partner to increase value for their customers while generating more revenue for your company. Late stage KPIs can be track via leads and revenue generated. 


Existing Partner Support

As the assets are created to help entice new partnerships, they can be repurposed to help support existing partners. A video showing how to sell a particular feature can benefit all partners. A document that addresses common resistance issues would be helpful to all partners. These assets can be added to a drip campaign and sent automatically to keep your company engaged with its partners. 


Attract More Leads 

Aside from staying engaged with our partners through added support documents, we can engage with them in content creation including webinars, agency case studies, co-branded blog posts and upsell/cross sell email outreach. 

"Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning."
- Bill Gates

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