The idea of two or more businesses forming a marketing partnership is not new. Companies have been doing this for a long time. 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 lend 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, the partnership could operate in different ways.

First, the partners may create marketing materials together, they could refer prospects to each other and there are partnerships where companies have a joint project to build a new product together or to package their products or services together.

With joint marketing campaigns, 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.

The partnership will also provide the 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 raise 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.

Choose Partners Wisely

If you are looking to form a 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 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 partnership 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, but 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 provide a real financial benefit to their bottom line.

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. As an 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.

Partner With Non-Profits

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 Christmastime, 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.

In Closing

It does not take a marketing genius to form a good strategic partnership with another business. The big keys to success are to use some forethought and plan 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.



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.