partner marketing

Mastering Partner Marketing: The Do’s, Don’ts and The Reasons Why

Some things in life just naturally go together – fish and chips, tea and cake, sausage and mash. But it’s not just foods that combine well. Any good marketer will tell you about the benefits of joint marketing with partners – particularly if you align with a large complementary brand. Whilst the logic of working together may be a no brainer, it’s often the execution where things go awry.

Take Financial Services for example. There’s certainly no shortage of opportunities for education, engagement and conversion as digital transformation continues to disrupt markets and business models, but creating a targeted, well executed partner marketing proposition is easier said than done for some companies.

That’s why I decided to write this blog and share some of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to mastering the partner marketing model.

The Don’ts of Partner Marketing Activities

  • Don’t Assume It’s An Equal Relationship – Once you’ve found a symbiotic reason to partner with another organisation, don’t assume your counterpart shares your view of how the relationship is defined. Marketers often assume partner companies will want a 50/50 marketing relationship. The cost of co-branding with certain organisations may involve doing things their way, not yours. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but don’t say yes to things if it pushes you further away from your objectives.
  • Don’t Get Eclipsed – Don’t assume you can rely on the strength of just one brand to push your partnership. The smaller brand needs a very clear value proposition or it risks being eclipsed. Show why your respective offerings are of strength, both collectively and individually in their own right.
  • Don’t Try It Without A Compelling Proposition – I’ve seen companies spend a lot of time and money on joint marketing campaigns for all the wrong reasons. If you’re not solving a common problem or addressing a related business pain, don’t bother. Competing for attention and then fragmenting it, is not a good approach.

The Do’s of Partner Marketing Activities

  • Do Have A Clear Understanding of Your Target Audience – And by clear understanding, I mean down to the name, job title, division and specific company where possible. Your partner may have an existing relationship in a target account that you can leverage so do your homework.
  • Pick Your Channels – If you know your target audience, chances are you know their preferred channels. In Financial Services, for example, a consultative-based, informative face-to-face networking event aimed at specific individuals will generate greater interest than a standalone email campaign.
  • Deliver An Integrated Experience – Make sure each element of your partner marketing campaign is integrated to drive traffic to your digital assets. That could be a dedicated, co-branded landing page, online registration, or joint solution. Make sure you connect the dots.

A Good Example

By way of an example, we recently partnered with SAP on a joint Financial Services marketing campaign, choosing a topic (common business pain) that’s affecting almost every financial services organisation: A digital ready workforce.

Next we delivered a live debate for insight and networking (the preferred channel of our targets) – “Re-wiring Financial Services: Embedding A Digital Culture” . The debate comprised peer level, consultative speakers from banks, and digital disruptors, as well as our own respective industry experts. And of course, the event was broadcast for remote live viewing, as well as recorded for later viewing as a webinar – with these digital assets in mind from the outset.

Because we focused on our joint target accounts with a compelling proposition, and used the expertise and relationships of both SAP and OpenText, we attracted 222 target prospects to attend and engaged them for 40 minutes. No mean feat for the type of people we targeted.

The purpose of this blog post isn’t to try to impress you, but rather to impress upon you the benefits – and potential profitable rewards – of following a few simple, yet often overlooked, rules for successful partner marketing.

You can view the webinar and other assets I mentioned here on the campaign microsite.

About Sue Reynolds

Sue Reynolds
Sue is Regional Northern Europe Marketing Director for OpenText.

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