According to Hinge Marketing’s 2021 High Growth Study, partnership marketing
is ranked the 7th most impactful type of marketing for professional service companies. The same study suggests that high-growth companies are three times more likely to use partnership marketing as a part of their marketing strategy.
Let us look at what B2B partnership marketing entails, the types of B2B marketing partnerships that can drive your sales, and how you can create a great B2B partnership marketing strategy.
Defining B2B Partnership Marketing
Partnership marketing is a symbiotic marketing endeavor where two or more organizations benefit from each other. This may be a broad definition, but that is because every marketing partnership has its own set of unique attributes and requirements.
The dynamic of a marketing partnership depends on specific strategic goals like increasing revenue, reach, developing new products or expanding into different domains. Partnership marketing can be anything from working on a tough research project together to asking a partner to mention you on their social media.
When it comes to B2B partnership marketing, it involves associating with other companies to help sell your products or services. They are more complex as compared to B2C marketing partnerships.
Many times, B2B marketing partnerships start small and eventually develop into something big. This is because partnering companies get to understand each other and form a cohesive relationship that works for them.
Here are some B2B marketing partnership examples:
Co-produced and co-promoted webinars
Researching together on a new topic
Exchanging emails with your partner to promote content or services
Benefits of B2B Marketing Partnership
Here are some of the benefits of a B2B marketing partnership:
Helps You Branch Out into New Markets
You can market to your partner’s audience and branch out into new markets that would have otherwise remained untapped.
Provides You a New Perspective
It gives you clarity on the loopholes in your strategy. You can also adapt your partner’s strategy or get new ideas from it to enhance your marketing.
Helps You Drive Your Sales
You will notice a boost in your sales and an influx of new clients once you get into a partnership that is also a sales partnership.
As compared to other strategies, partnership marketing is cost-effective because the marketing expenses get divided among the partners.
With partners on board, you can get access to a bigger team and brainstorm campaigns with powerful outcomes with more people.
If you choose the right partner, you can leverage their brand trust to lift the value and perception of your brand safely and swiftly.
Types of B2B Marketing Partnerships
There are several types of B2B marketing partnership techniques that organizations engage in. No matter which type, they all aim to achieve growth in sales for both partners. Let us look at the most effective types of B2B marketing partnerships.
This type of B2B marketing partnership is a relationship between non-competitive companies whose products or services complement each other. An amazing B2B marketing partnership example would be the one between Starbucks and Barnes & Noble. Whenever a customer entered a Starbucks within the Barnes & Noble store, they browsed books, and whenever someone browsing the books saw the Starbucks in the store, they walked in to get a coffee. Both companies mutually benefited from this strategic partnership and saw their sales soar. A strategic partnership can develop into an integration partnership. An integration partnership is all about integrating your product or idea with another partner’s product.
Starbucks Coffee Was Served at Places It Had No Retail Presence as a Result of a Strategic Partnership with Barnes & Noble
As a part of a strategic partnership with Barnes & Noble, Starbucks served coffee in the Midwest, where they did not have a retail presence. This was possible because of a licensing agreement between the two partners. More than 400 Barnes & Noble cafes served Starbucks because of it, leading to a boost in Starbucks’ sales.
Let us look at what the numbers say:
More than 2,000 strategic alliances are formed every year. Their number is growing by 15 percent each year. (Source: Strategic Alliances: Three Ways to Make Them Work)
57 percent of companies say that they use partnerships to acquire new customers. 44 percent form alliances to get new ideas, insights, and innovation. (Source: BPI Network)
A channel partnership involves promotions that come from outside sources like affiliate partners, private sellers, distributors, and private sellers. They act as an intermediary between a business and its customers. This partnership not only expands your outreach, but also minimizes the effort behind promoting products or services. There is a sales effort distribution, which means external partners get a commission per unit or service sold. It facilitates promotion to a new audience by channel partners. Affiliates harness social media for promotions
, while third-party distributors increase brand trust by using their already established platforms and industry authority as trusted marketers. There are many kinds of channel partnerships, like channel value-added resellers (VARs), service delivery partners, technology alliance partners, high-velocity partners, cloud service providers, managed service providers, and global systems integrators (GSIs).
High performers allocate 17 percent of their total marketing budget to channel marketing (Source: SiriusDecisions)
A tech partnership enables two tech companies to benefit from each other. It is similar to a strategic partnership but is heavily dependent on technology. A great example of this type of B2B marketing partnership is the one between Apple and ARM Holdings. Apple phones and iPads are powered by processors designed by ARM Holdings. A tech partnership usually lasts a long time and involves the integration of a hardware or software product. It enhances both partners’ brand loyalty, awareness and trust. It is mostly implemented by software-as-a-service companies to drive their sales. These also include joint product partnerships where product mergers or white label marketing are done. Tech companies sell or lease their products or services to a partner, and the partner uses them under their brand name.
According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, 91 percent of B2B marketers implement content marketing. Partnering to create content with another popular brand that complements your services or products can lead to new engagement and leads. Content partnership also involves sharing or building links with another brand within the content so that both brands get exposure by using advanced search engine optimization. Content like whitepapers
, articles, blogs, infographics, podcasts, and videos can also be created collaboratively and marketed to attract the target audience of both partners.
Now that we have explored the types of B2B marketing partnerships, let us look at how to create a healthy B2B marketing partnership.
Tips to Creating a Healthy B2B Partnership
Here are some tips you can use while creating a B2B partnership.
Start with a Simple Partnership
If you are new to B2B partnerships, start with a simple partnership. If it works out well, you can scale it up.
Define your Goals and KPIs
Set clear goals and define your KPIs to understand the impact of the partnership on your sales and revenue. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
Research Your Probable Partners
Research your probable partners thoroughly to make sure they can assist you with your goals and that the partnership can be mutually beneficial.
Your Target Audience Should Match
Select a partner who has a similar target audience to yours. Whatever products or services you offer should match this partner’s brand audience, so you get good results.
Stress on Feedback
Get feedback on your prospective partner from a third-party (neutral source) so you have a good perspective on what you can expect from the partnership.
Summing It Up
B2B partnership marketing can scale your sales if you choose a great partner based on the goals and business objectives you have in mind. According to a Forrester
report and Wolfgang Digital
, high-maturity partnership programs generate 28 percent. So, it is safe to say that B2B partnership marketing strategies work tremendously well when implemented well.
What is channel partner marketing?
Channel partner marketing includes methods used for promoting products or services that channel partners sell. Channel partners act as an intermediary between the vendor and the end customer.
How can you design an effective partner marketing strategy?
You can create an effective partner marketing strategy by aligning business plans, building out marketing campaigns, and engaging dedicated partner marketing account managers and specialists.
What are some examples of partnership marketing activities?
Some examples of partnership marketing activities are holding live events that target similar prospects, creating content pieces together, and co-producing and co-promoting webinars.