What is partnership marketing?

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.

How does partnership marketing work?

  1. Sponsorship partnerships

    Companies that offer a benefit that is not directly related to their own product offerings partner with another company that can build its brand awareness. For example, AT&T sponsors the wi-fi network at McDonalds. Neither will lose business to each other because their core businesses are entirely different, but each benefit.

  2. Distribution partnerships

    Two companies come together not just to a better distribution of products but to co-market products and services. For example, a grocery chain might feature products from one of its suppliers in an advertising campaign to boost sales for both the supplier and the grocery chain.

  3. Affinity marketing partnerships

    A company might want access to another company or organization's base of consumers so the two entities work out a partnership that benefits both. A basketball team might give away coupons for a free hamburger at a fast-food chain if the home team scores 100 points and wins.

Why partnership marketing matters

  1. Broadens reach

    Smart partnership marketing opens up new market potential for participants. If a company has a difficult time reaching out to a particular audience it might look at a company in a different business sector that already has access to the audience and look for ways to partner.

  2. Low costs to get new customers

    Partnership marketing can be a low-cost way to acquire new customers. While traditional marketing approached such as advertising or seeking earned media can be expensive, establishing mutually beneficial b2b marketing relationships can be an efficient and cost-effective way to boost consumer numbers.

  3. The power of two

    Marketing partnerships bring additional creative minds to the table, which means more ideas and more opportunities for both partners to boost sales. If relationships are managed correctly, marketing partnerships can be a powerful way to build both brands and increase revenues.