Forget survival of the fittest. When it comes to boosting your revenue, it’s all about collaboration. That’s the goal of partner marketing: generating brand awareness, leads, and sales – on both sides.
Many of us mistakenly assume Charles Darwin focused solely on the more competitive aspects of nature. In reality, the truest Darwinian concepts center around the idea that, “those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”
This is as true of evolution as it is in business. But it’s not merely anecdotal. It’s backed by data.
According to Hinge’s 2022 High Growth Study,
partnership marketing is ranked as the 8th most impactful marketing technique for professional services firms – ranking at the same level as more commonly implemented marketing techniques like presenting in educational webinars and speaking at conferences and events.
As we’ll see, partner marketing proves that two heads are better than one for a variety of goals. This primer is designed to help you identify your individual aim and find the right vehicle for your partner marketing program. That way, you can definitively see whether you’re achieving those objectives and growing your business.
Defining Partner Marketing
“Partnership marketing is an effective way for two or more businesses to combine forces and reach a broader audience. These campaigns allow your business to collaborate with a complementary business with a similar target market for a big mutual benefit” explains Forbes.
They caution that for partner marketing to be effective, you need to engage with non-competing brands who have shared goals and vision alignment. We’d add that you also need a way to measure the results of your partner marketing program. But more on that in a bit.
The Goal of Partner Marketing
Partner marketing is particularly effective for technology vendors looking to engage and educate the end-customers that purchase their products or services. It’s about expanding your in-house capacity and defining value for both entities to help each one reach their individual goals.
Though the goals and objectives can vary with each partnership, you’ll need clarity on what your overall aim is to get the most out of any strategic collaboration.
Some mutual partner marketing goals often include:
- Market expansion into new regions or verticals.
- Brand trust that’s reinforced by the inroads your partners have already made.
- Scaled growth without overextending your resources or input.
- New perspectives on content that might resonate with your target audience.
- Cost-effective strategies that produce two-way lead generation.
- Shared responsibility and support, giving campaigns double the chances of success.
- Cross-promotion with well-timed product tie-ins and recommendations.
- Brand building via key associations that help you tap established audiences.
- Solution amplification that combines multiple products and/or services for innovative use cases and turnkey options to solve customer needs.
- More revenue and an opportunity to grow both businesses while pocketing more of the profit.
Brands who engage with like-minded businesses in the right type of partner marketing program have the best opportunity to nail these reciprocal objectives.
Why Through Channel Programs and Partner Marketing Work So Well
A through channel marketing (TCM) program can be a crucial part of your partner marketing ecosystem. These portals grease the collaboration wheels, offering your strategic partnerships an established and effective framework in which to collaborate.
Whether you’re partnering with a vendor, distributor, reseller, or service provider, through channel marketing programs provide resources for creating and sharing low-lift, high-impact sales and marketing materials with your shared audience.
The best TCM programs offer more than just automation software and a generalized content library. Those with the highest utilization rates give your partners access to onboarding and ongoing technical support in the form of campaign managers, as well as an easy-to-navigate repository of customized thought leadership content, co-created promotions, product info, etc.
In other words, it’s not just about quickly sending vast amounts of content through a designated channel. An effective partner program is about sending the right content to the right segment at the right time – and providing tangible insights on its performance.
How Do You Know If a Partner Marketing Program Has Met Its Goals?
Partnering up can get you in front of previously untapped audiences with clear crossover. But you need clues to tell you whether or not the time and energy investment has been worth it.
Before you start thinking about tracking your progress, go back: what is your partner marketing goal? This is the objective that will guide your data collection and evaluation.
Looking at your goals, you’ll see there’s no one single metric that can definitively tell you whether your partner marketing is successful. However, if you want the ability to accurately measure and easily assess its performance, you need a comprehensive, results-focused through channel marketing solution with features that clearly demonstrate:
- Program Activity. This helps you determine which areas of your program are performing well. See which of your partners are the most engaged and when they’re most likely to utilize your program.
- Campaign Engagement Data. You want to see real-time engagement metrics as well as historical comparisons to previous campaigns and other customer segments.
- Lead and Partner Qualification Data. To keep customers moving through their sales journey, look for software like Extu that scores leads and automatically labels them as sales-qualified (SQL), marketing-qualified (MQL), high-value, low-value, etc.
- Attributable Sales. At the end of the day, it’s all about revenue performance, but you need insights that tell you more than a simple dollar amount or number of leads in your pipeline. Invest in a TCM software that helps you drill down on data like partner sales per quarter, regional sales metrics, overall most profitable partner types, and even which assets are your biggest asset.
Want a well-utilized TCM program that helps you get more data, insights, and revenue from your partner marketing?
Our all-in-one software boasts an effective triumvirate of technology, services, and data that can turn your co-branded campaigns into quality leads and attributable sales.
It’s so powerful 80% of the partners enrolled in the program are utilizing it every single month. Welcome to a better way to execute your channel marketing. Reach out to start improving your partner participation levels – and boost your ROI at the same time.