Last updated April 27th, 2021 with new information. 

Today’s business environment is competitive and fast moving. So, whether you are selling ice cream cones, dongles or t-shirts, there is another company fighting for the same customers. Partnership marketing is a practical option for many businesses that want to get their brand in front of customers. Consequently, it can be an essential marketing tool to help get a leg up on the competition. You can reach new market segments, gain new customers and boost business.


What Is Partnership Marketing?

Partnership marketing, also known as partner marketing, means collaborating with one or more businesses to create a marketing strategy that shares resources. Therefore, this can make growing the company a cost-effective prospect. Small businesses often struggle with marketing strategies. They may know what to do, but they may not have the resources needed. For the “one-man show,” putting time and money toward marketing efforts is challenging.


What are the Types of Partnership Marketing Strategies?

There are many types of partnership marketing strategies that have proven to be successful for numerous brands. We’ll explain 10 different strategies below to help you better understand what’s available for your business:

  • White Label Marketing
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Content Development
  • Distribution Partnerships
  • Retention Marketing
  • Shared stores
  • Charitable Partnerships
  • Joint Products
  • Product Placement
  • Sponsor Partnerships

White Label Marketing

White label marketing is a partnership with a company that can help offer additional products and services in your industry you otherwise wouldn’t be able to offer. This creates a no-hassle revenue stream, and products can often be white labeled to carry your brand.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing partners promote your brand for monetary reward. The result is a direct alliance of brands that targets a mutual audience. Groupon is an example of this type of partnership marketing.

Content Development

This example of partnership marketing develops content such as podcasts, articles, and videos that includes partnerships. Each company shares these resources with its target audience. Link sharing and co-creation also help align the companies.

Distribution Partnerships

With distribution partnerships, you can bundle products and services. It can be in the form of discounts, coupons, in-store demonstrations, giveaways, or other types of promotions. This partnership is one of the most practiced and widespread types of partnership marketing.

Retention Marketing

Use retention marketing techniques for loyalty programs. They reward customers based on how often or how much they buy. You could also include partner discounts or products within your program and vice versa.

Shared Stores

Another partnership marketing strategy is teaming up with a partner for online or offline shared stores. For example, Starbucks locations opening within grocery stores is an offline shared store. An example of an online shared store includes businesses that have stores on Etsy.

Charitable Partnerships

Depending on your goals and industry, consider aligning your brand with a charitable organization. Partnering with a charity could include doing exhibitions, public events, award shows, news stories, and more. Licensing and product placement are also options for organizations looking for strategic partners.

Joint Products

Joint products go off of a partnership where two businesses alter or create a new existing product that creates more value for the customer. An example of this could be mobile phones powered by a technology provider such as Google or Microsoft.

Product Placement

You’ve likely seen product placements in every TV show or movie you’ve ever watched and never even realized it. Product placement partnership marketing includes things like a box on a shelf with a brand name, like Cheerios. Or something more direct like a mention of Tide while doing a laundry scene. Celebrity endorsements can also count as product placement partner marketing. 

Sponsor Partnerships

Sponsorship partnerships associate your brand with an event or team with the goal of overall improving your brand recognition and reputation. By liking a certain team or cause, it’s more likely that you’ll attract some of the same customers to your company. If they’re favorite sports team trusts your brand, why shouldn’t they? You see sponsorship partner marketing at sports, events, local causes, in the media, and several places. It’s a strong contender for effective marketing campaigns. 


What are the Benefits of a Partnership Marketing Strategy?

Increase Value Proposition

Partnership marketing is about more than promotions that connect multiple brands. Strategic partnerships can impact everything from advertising to merchandising and product packaging. Collaboration at this level can also kickstart joint distribution and sales opportunities. As a result, co-marketing combines the power of organizations, increasing the value proposition:

  • Deliver new content
  • Engage new audiences
  • Enhance customer experience
  • Broaden sales avenues
  • Gain shelf space

Expand revenue channels

Partnership marketing is a huge win for improving your revenue with minimal risk. When you partner with a company that has a specific expertise, they’ve already worked out the bugs and they have a product that works. So it’s easy to start bringing in an additional revenue stream when you partner with a company that already has the background, the product, the scalable solutions, and the marketing support for your business in order to make it successful. 

Increase audience reach and quality leads

Partnership marketing also improves your leads and audience. Because you’re offering a new product, that helps you reach a new audience and re-target those you already connect with or serve. And many leads will self-qualify because they know they need that new service you’re offering

Collaborate with other brands

Working with one or more businesses helps promote your brand and brings several benefits. By pooling resources, you can double your marketing budget and talent. So, this makes them more cost-effective than traditional marketing.

By collaborating with other brands, you don’t need to build a customer base from scratch. It helps you reach people interested in your products and who have proven loyalty. Marketing partnerships with products and services in the same genre provides a base that fits your brand. Partnering helps each company get an audience that wants their products and services.


Find the Right Marketing Partner

If you want to increase sales in your niche and access new markets, finding the right marketing partner is essential. 

It’s not a competition

A strong strategic partner is not a direct competitor but a complementary business. For example, Red Bull racing partnered with GoPro and sponsored a record-breaking balloon jump. The GoPro recorded the entire 24-mile descent. High adventure captured in stunning clarity thrilled and engaged consumers worldwide.

Identify your goals and KPIs

Start by listing your goals. What do you want to accomplish in a specific timeframe? A good marketing partner can help you reach those growth goals more quickly by adding a high-revenue product in a short amount of time without raising your overhead costs. 

Align the industries

Next, think about the types of businesses that help you get there. Are you a local landscaper? Partner with area home builders or renovators. Make sure your partnerships align with your goals and complement your business. 

Understand your audience

One of the biggest steps you can take is first identifying your audience. Who do you want to reach with a new product? How can you benefit from this new product? Can you reach new customers? It’s crucial to understand your audience, and your partner’s target audience as well. Where the two targets align, is where your growth can happen. 

Set the tone

Before you even start, see how partnership marketing will work. What do you need to provide to your partner? In return, what will they provide you? What are the expectations, and how will they help you accomplish them. This entire discussion involves setting up timelines, defining costs and responsibilities, and setting the expectation early to avoid conflict later. Make sure your marketing partners understand your objectives from the very beginning. That sets the entire significance of a partnership. 

Look for transparency

Above all, identify not only how you benefit, but what your partners could gain. Get unbiased feedback from neutral third parties. This helps ensure the benefits to both sides are tangible, not wishful thinking. Review the lists and approach the companies that stand to gain the most from partnering with you. 

And most importantly, be transparent with your partners, and make sure they are with you as well. Look for consistent communication, reporting, documentation, etc. They should be open with you about all actions taken on behalf of your company. 


Develop a Plan

Take the time to build a strong foundation between marketing teams. Thorough planning and communication are integral to successful partnership marketing. This helps boost brand recognition scale for your business and create relationships. Consumers love authenticity. When brands combine for content, services and products that speak to them, everyone wins.

Boostability offers affordable products and services and partners with small agencies and large digital marketing companies to offer SEO and website services. As an SEO Partner, we focus on small, local businesses, organizations with multiple locations and professional services. We collaborate with our partners to solve problems and innovate. From content marketing and link building to website creation, SEO and local search, our team of experts can help. Contact us to learn more about how we can provide value and help you grow your business without breaking the bank.



Matt Tennison is the VP of Partners and Business Development at Boostability.