This article was first published on February 15, 2017, and was last updated May 2023.

The idea of two or more businesses forming a marketing partnership is not new. Companies have been doing this long term. When done right, a marketing partnership provides each member with an expanded reach, and it allows them to mutually benefit from the resources of each other.

However, when done wrong it can lead to one company taking advantage of another. For this reason, it is important to approach marketing partnerships with discretion. In this article, we will look at how marketing partnerships work, how to choose partners wisely, and other helpful tips that can help you get into a great marketing partnership that will be beneficial for both parties involved.

Understanding How Marketing Partnerships Work

A marketing partnership is formed when two or more businesses agree to work together to achieve certain marketing goals. Depending on the needs of the two companies and the goals that they are trying to reach, marketing partnerships could operate in different ways. Here are a few examples of different types of partnership marketing:

Affiliate Marketing

An affiliate marketing partnership is a collaboration between a company and an individual or another business, where the affiliate promotes the company’s products or services and earns a commission for each successful referral or sale. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship that leverages the affiliate’s audience and marketing efforts to drive sales and increase brand exposure.

White Label Marketing

A white label marketing partnership involves one company providing its products or services to another company, which then rebrands and resells them as their own. This collaboration allows the white label partner to offer a wider range of offerings without the need to develop them in-house, while the original company benefits from increased distribution and brand expansion.

Distribution Marketing

Distribution partnerships are formed when two companies collaborate to extend the reach of their products or services. One company, typically the manufacturer or creator, partners with a distributor who has an established network and expertise in reaching the target market. This strategic alliance facilitates efficient product distribution, broader market access, and accelerated growth for both parties involved.

Joint Marketing

With joint marketing campaigns, the partnership involves companies having a joint project to build a new product together or to package their products or services together. The two companies can gain several benefits. Firstly, it divides the workload between the two companies. The partners essentially magnify their efforts by sharing the resources and expenses that go into the campaign.

Referral Marketing

This partnership will provide companies with access to the customers and contacts of the other partner. You can refer your customers to the partner, and they can refer their customers to you. Additionally, you have the other partner acting as a marketing channel that can increase brand awareness of your business among their consumer base.

The partnership will also benefit your customers. When you can refer them to a partner that you trust, they feel more secure in doing business with the partner and they value the advice. This, in turn, reflects better on you. Customers often expect a business to be able to refer them to other companies that provide related products or services.

Loyalty Marketing

A loyalty marketing partnership is a strategic collaboration between two businesses to enhance customer loyalty and engagement. By joining forces, companies can offer share:

  • Loyalty programs
  • Exclusive rewards
  • Joint promotions to incentivize customer retention and increase brand advocacy
  • And more!

These partnerships foster a sense of value and appreciation among customers, leading to long-term customer relationships and mutual business growth.

Sponsorship Marketing

A marketing sponsorship partnership is an arrangement where a company supports an event, organization, or initiative financially or through resources in exchange for promotional benefits. The sponsoring company gains brand visibility, association with the sponsored entity, and access to the target audience. While the sponsored entity receives financial support or resources to enhance their activities or event.

Co-Branding & Affinity Marketing

Co-branding and affinity marketing partnerships involve two or more brands collaborating to create a joint product, service, or marketing campaign.

By combining their respective brand strengths and customer bases, they aim to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes such as increased brand visibility, expanded market reach, and leveraging each other’s brand equity to enhance customer appeal and loyalty. A great example of co-branding is when Nike and Apple collaborated on the Apple Watch Nike +.

Product Placement

A product placement marketing partnership involves the strategic placement of a brand’s product or service within a popular media or entertainment content, such as movies, TV shows, or music videos. This partnership aims to increase brand visibility, create positive associations, and leverage the audience’s connection with the media content to enhance brand awareness and drive consumer interest.


A licensing marketing partnership is a collaborative agreement where a brand or intellectual property owner grants another company the right to use their brand, trademarks, or copyrighted material in exchange for licensing fees or royalties. This partnership allows the licensee to leverage the established brand recognition and market presence of the licensor to promote and sell products or services under the licensed brand.


Many nonprofits are in need of partners to help them raise awareness and to assist with certain goals that they may have. As a business, you can partner with a nonprofit to help them reach their goals, and in doing so, you can build the reputation of your business and gain exposure.

It could be something as simple as using your business as a collection point for different charities during the holidays. At Christmas time, nonprofits often need locations for people to drop-off donated toys, food or money. By accepting this responsibility, you are not just doing a good deed, but the charity may also feature you on their website or in print material to direct people to the collection point at your business.

Additional ideas include offering to make a donation based on the total sales during a particular month or challenging customers to donate with the promise that you will match the total donations for the charity drive. If you are a service company, you could also donate your services to a charity that may need assistance.

Choose Marketing Partners Wisely

If you are looking to form a traditional marketing partnership, one of the most important decisions will be the companies with which you form this alliance. Your choice of partner will reflect on your business, and it will have a significant influence over the potential reach of the project.

You want to look for a company that not only has a good reputation, but also a reputation that fits well with the identity of your own business. Further, you want to find a company that has a good reach, and a customer base that will work well for your own marketing needs.

The partner company should also be one that will be as invested in the effort as much as you are. The members of a partnership should be willing to bring a comparable amount of effort and resources to the projects that they will work on together. You don’t want a partner that you are going to have to carry, and you want to make sure that the partner has goals that are similar or complimentary to your own.

Identify What’s In It For Them

If you are thinking about proposing a marketing relationship to a specific business, then you should try to identify the value that the partnership will provide to the potential partner. When you have a company in mind for a partnership, that means that you have already seen what can be in it for you. However, you need to be able to show a potential partner what is in THEIR interest.

To start, it needs to be something more than a soft benefit. Simply asking them to send customers your way because it will increase the satisfaction of the consumer, will not be enough. It is a good additional point to sell the project on, but they need to see that the partnership is going to increase sales and be mutually beneficial.

A good way to do this is to have some plans ready when you approach the business that you want as a partner. Explain to them how you can reciprocate in the effort to promote as a team and how your business and its resources can be used for their benefit.

Look Up the Chain

Many businesses operate in an environment where their services are a part of a chain of purchases or events. If you are a business that is towards the end of one of these chains, finding a partner that is closer to the beginning can be advantageous.

For example, a moving company is a part of a chain that often starts with a person using a realtor to buy or sell a house. If the moving company can partner with a realtor, it can give them an edge over the competition.

Choosing a White Label SEO Partnership

It does not take a marketing genius to form a good strategic partnership with another business. The big keys to successful partnership marketing are to use some forethought and marketing strategies to find the right partner, establish goals that work together, and take steps to ensure that both partners put in the effort that is required.

With the right partnerships, you can expand your reach, build your reputation and put your business in a position of advantage over your competitors. If you’re looking for a trusted white label SEO marketing provider, Boostability is here to help! With our white label SEO services we can help your client’s succeed in search engines. Learn more today!



Kristine is the Director of Marketing at Boostability. She brings a decade's worth of communications strategy work to the company. Kristine has a Masters Degree in Leadership and Communications from Gonzaga University and graduated from BYU with her undergrad in Broadcast Journalism. She's worked in television news, public relations, communications strategy, and marketing for over 10 years. In addition to being a part of the marketing team, Kristine enjoys traveling, sports, and all things nerdy.