The most common partnership models:

Sponsorship Marketing Partnerships

One of the most common types of Marketing Partnerships is Sponsorship. We see it every day in the events that we attend in person or view online or on TV. Sponsorship can be found at the Olympic Games where companies like VISA are positioned as the official credit card of the Olympics or Coca-Cola as the official soft drink. In Canada, CIBC (a leading financial institution) sponsor a yearly event called Run for the Cure where citizens across the major urban Canadian cities take part in a 10km run and obtain sponsorship donations from family, friends and colleagues for participating in the event and monies collected are then amassed and distributed to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Distribution Marketing Partnerships

The key difference with Distribution Marketing Partnerships versus a traditional Physical Distribution transactional relationship is that in a Distribution Marketing Partnership, the parties are typically working together in a greater capacity and are more integrated in their efforts beyond the transaction. Examples of this can be found where the partner brands are:

1. Leveraging co-marketing and co-advertising opportunities across select media and marketing vehicles in an effort to increase sales traction.
2. Making unique or compelling offers available to customers as an added value proposition to support and supplement their core offering.
3. Leveraging complimentary brand assets and core competencies to bring an aspect of innovation to an existing business that has the target customers that you are after.
4. Developing new products and planning for product launches together and leveraging input from each other from concept to execution.
5. Analyzing customer data together and looking for new opportunities to meet wants and needs.
6. Working together on your primary and secondary market research initiatives and sharing your findings with each other.
7. Servicing your customers more effectively by leveraging any insights you might have gained together.

Affinity Marketing Partnerships

Affinity Marketing Partnerships enable the participating partner-brands that are offering the discounts with a highly targeted group of segmented individuals or businesses that have a high propensity to buy products in their respective categories because they are relevant to the brand that owns and operates the program. Furthermore, for the partner-brands, these types of programs are very cost-effective and they typically need not do more than fund a special offer in return for placement in marketing vehicles. The downside is that the offers are grouped together with several other marketing offers making it appear like clutter and there are typically no guaranteed marketing commitments being made by the brand that is running the program (without paying for them) and they furthermore dont guarantee that they will be promoted at a certain frequency and reach to the member or customer base at a given number of times throughout the year. Therefore, the returns are not always that great for the partner brands and as a result, participation in the program must be continuously evaluated as highly compelling offers in the market that are not creating sales traction for your organization is likely not a good thing to be doing.

Affiliate Marketing Partnerships

amazon affiliate
Link Share, Commission Junction, Share a Sale are some of the more common online Affiliate Marketing Partnership Programs. These types of programs allow e-commerce or online sellers of goods and service the opportunity to tap in to their partner network of thousands and thousands of websites where the relationship is based on paying a commission for a referral from one site to the other. Still, be careful of the additional fees. Some Affiliate programs will allow you to participate, yet they will charge a monthly maintenance fee where they assign a point person to your account and integrate you in to their program and that person helps you to maximize your program and sell more. Thats all good in principle and I am yet to meet a business owner that was not willing to pay someone a handsome commission for selling something on their behalf, yet what if you dont sell many at all?

Added Value Marketing Partnerships

press to add value
A question that I often get is whats the difference between Added Value and Distribution Marketing Partnerships? Added Value Marketing Partnerships are typically free to the end-customer. Surely, there is a component of distribution in developing the Added Value Partnership, but the end result is that the partner-brands are getting together to offer an added value offering at no extra charge to the person or business that is buying it. Distribution Marketing Partnerships do not provide the end-customer with a free added value offering from a given partner-brand. Distribution Marketing Partnerships typically have a re-sale or customer/member acquisition mechanic to them as opposed to adding value to an existing proposition to enhance the actual product and make it better in any way. The tactics and strategies are similar, yet what the end customer is ultimately buying is different.

What type of Partnership Marketing Models have you used and how have they worked for you?

Ron Kunitzky, an expert in strategic business affiliations and partnerships and founder of Geyser Marketing Group " the Partnership Marketing Firm, and has successfully brokered partnership marketing programs for companies as varied as Coastal Contacts, Dell Computer, NASDAQ, and 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.