A smart collaboration of two or more organizations with the intent to develop a mid-term or long-term marketing program designed to meet each of their respective business goals.
The need for a Partnership Marketing program exists when one organization can accomplish their goals more effectively by leveraging the complimentary strengths of another organization pursuing a like customer base.
Partnership Marketing can contribute to increase brand awareness, product distribution, customer acquisition and program funding.
You can't do it all on your own
If you look at some of the companies that have transformed the way we live, you will see that they've all had significant help from their marketing partners to get to where they are today.
eBay needs their auctioneers (the public) to provide products and services for auction to users or visitors to their site. They also need distribution (partners) to get people to visit their site and they need licensing opportunities with cause-related marketing programs to power their online auctions and allow them to leverage their platform in return.
What Partnership Marketing Does
As I am sitting at a table at my local Starbucks to write this post, a Marketing Partnership was communicated to me as soon as I opened my lap top computer.
The Retail Coffee Giant has partnered with Bell to offer two hours of Free Wireless Internet Service per day to anyone who opens a Starbucks-Bell Wireless Account at the Starbucks website.
Those that know me well know that I am not one to fuss over the brand of coffee that I drink so this type of added value offering from Starbucks just might be the thing that keeps me coming back here.
I am not all that particular about my coffee and I could just as easily go to McDonald's across the street and be just as content. But given that they are not offering Free Wireless Internet Service, they're not putting them in a better position to lure me over.
For the brand loyal coffee customers the Partnership can meet a different objective. Instead of acquiring new customers, the Partnership may be keeping existing customers in the store longer by having them use Free Wireless Internet Service during their stay and gaining more opportunities to increase the number of transactions that they make at the counter. As a result, they are increasing the transaction revenue per customer, per store visit.
Partnership Marketing: A Core Strategy
The reality is that if you look around you and take a deeper look at your favorite brands and what they are up to, you will see that for many of them, Partnership Marketing is at the core of their strategy.
Would Microsoft have become who they are today without a successful Marketing Partnership with IBM back in the day to power the operating system for the Personal Computer?
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that without the IBM Marketing Partnership, or Distribution Marketing Partnership to be more specific, Microsoft very likely wouldn't have become the brand that we know today.
Practical Example of Partnership Marketing
Although not a 'destination brand', MBNA are leaders in the Affinity Credit Card market and have built their business over years and years partnering with other brands to power their Credit Card offerings.
Through three-way Marketing Partnership with MasterCard and any one of their Partner brands in the Pro Sports, Auto, Education, Travel and Hospitality verticals, MBNA has developed hundreds if not thousands of Marketing Partnerships over the years.
With partner brands like Major League Baseball's New York Yankees MBNA encourages fans of the famous baseball team who sign up for the 'no fee' Yankees credit card an opportunity to obtain special offers on merchandise, memorabilia and other unique experiences for being a cardholder.
MBNA brings the full turn-key solution, along with their partner MasterCard, to the table as an added value offering in exchange for access to customers thru various customer communications vehicles like the Yankees websites, home games, and direct mail campaigns.
It's a powerful relationship that drives revenue for both parties and is much of the reason as to why traditional banks offering Credit Cards have recently jumped in to doing Affinity Credit Card partnerships of their own in an effort to claim their fair share of the available market.
That's Partnership Marketing. That's how brands collaborate together and work to leverage each others' assets to do more with less and provide a greater return on their marketing programs.