Today, we’re discussing a key marketing strategy that every company can use to increase brand exposure and drive revenue growth.

That opportunity is something we call partnership marketing. Partnership marketing is a strategy wherein two brands that offer products or services to a shared audience come together to drive growth through mutually beneficial campaigns.

Partnership marketing drives business growth from a variety of external channels, and can help you elevate your brand’s reputation and visibility among your target audience. The best part? It’s one of the lowest-cost marketing opportunities out there, and it’s been tested and proven by brands like Microsoft, Salesforce, and IBM.

Partnership marketing is not a new strategy. In fact, it’s been around for decades, and many of today’s global leaders have deployed partnership marketing strategies with great success. IBM’s PartnerWorld is a partnership marketing program that has helped them remain one of the dominant global forces in technology and technology services, while also helping thousands of IBM partners around the world grow their respective brands. Salesforce, the original software-as-a-service, has a sophisticated partnership marketing strategy that benefits them and their partners through the Salesforce AppExchange.

“Partnership Marketing has helped us close new business, build brand awareness, and forge new alliances in our target markets.”

Dan Levinschi

Head of Marketing, PandaDoc

Taking advantage of partnership marketing is a no-brainer for any business. By following a basic guideline, you can discover and leverage strategic partnership opportunities that will drive brand awareness, improve your reputation, and drive demand for your products and services.

Here’s our four-step process that your company can use to succeed with partnership marketing.

1: Talk to your customers!

The first step to introducing a partnership marketing program is to have candid conversations with the people that already use your products and services. Ask them what brands they use to complement yours, and how what you provide works relates to these other products and services. By performing a simple customer survey, you can quickly discover which brands you share a target audience with, and understand which ones complement the benefits that you offer to your clients.

2: Understand how your brand complements what others offer to your target audience.

Once you’ve got a list of brands that share an audience with you, take some time to research each one. Prioritize brands based on synergy with your products and services, reputation, and overall visibility. The ideal partner is one who offers a product or service that is complementary to what your company offers, has a strong positive reputation, and whom your target audience is generally aware of.

3: Discuss how your brand and a potential partner’s brand can benefit one another.

The key to partnership marketing is synergy. Approach the brands at the top of your previously-created list, and discuss how you can work together to mutual benefit. Create a shared value proposition that drives demand for both companies’ products and services within your shared audience.

4: Deploy campaigns in unison and share leads generously.

Once you’ve found an ideal partner, agreed to work together, and created a shared value proposition, it’s time to activate your partnership marketing strategy. To make the partnership a success, both companies will need to work in unison to develop and implement campaigns through their marketing channels that highlight the partnership and drive product and service demand. As campaigns are deployed, keep a steady flow of leads between one another. This allows each company to benefit from the reputation of the other, and doubles your lead generation as you generate leads from your own channels as well as your partners’ channels.

Partnership marketing can help you grow no matter how big or small your company is today.

It’s never too late (or too early) to use partnership marketing to grow your business. B2B and B2C brands are equally capable of benefitting from it, and finding the right partnerships can help you dramatically increase your overall visibility and generate new revenue. As you look for new growth opportunities in 2017 and beyond, consider the untapped potential of partnership marketing.

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