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Partnership marketing is two or more companies working together in a mutually beneficial relationship with the goal of expanding distribution through one or more marketing channel.
If you’re trying to overcome a problem with a romantic relationship, you’re probably going to confide in a close friend or sibling. If you’re having an issue at work, you’re probably going to turn to a colleague and ask them for a hand. And if you need to move apartments next weekend, you probably already hired a moving company weeks ago. So it stands to reason, if you’re trying to increase distribution for your company through marketing efforts, you’re teaming up with other companies that have similar problems and a similar customer base that might be able to help...but are you?
For some reason, people as individuals are excellent at working together to solve any number of problems from moving apartments to putting a man on the moon, but when it comes to companies working together to solve problems that they have a shared interest in, they’d rather work in silos than team up with other businesses that have a vested interest in helping.
Part of the problem is a matter of education, so let’s go through a couple of ways that marketing organizations can and should be working together to gain added exposure in an efficient and cost-effective way.
Affiliates: There are hundreds of thousands of website owners out there that would kill to market your product. And many of them are willing to work on commission, meaning they only get paid when you get paid. Best of all, they tend to have massive distribution networks, and they conveniently all huddle in the same platforms such as Commission Junction and ShareASale. If you're not working with an affiliate platform, you’re most likely going at it alone in an area that you shouldn’t be.
Lead Syndication: There are dozens of lead brokerage companies out there that will do 90% of the demand generation for you and allow you to only pay for the finished product. Take Software Advice for example. Software Advice reviews thousands of products in the tech vertical (example), and then they prompt the visitors to their website to call them for a free consultation. If your product is a fit, team up with them! They’ll sell you perfect-fit leads at a rate oftentimes much cheaper & more qualified than you could have gotten at a conference or through paid advertising. Capterra (example), G2Crowd (example), and FinancesOnline (example) are other examples of great review sites that would love to work with your brand to increase exposure.
Influencer Platforms: For every product, there are dozens of “influencers” on the Internet with the same audience that would be more than happy to evangelize your product for a fee. Similar to affiliates, they tend to have reach in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of followers, and they all huddle in organized marketplaces such as Upfluence, AspireIQ, and Hypr to name a few. Best of all, similar to affiliates, many of them are willing to work for commission only.
Paid Sponsorships: Most people know about Facebook Ads & Google Ads, but there are dozens of other less common and oftentimes more effective places you can buy media from. For example, let’s say you have a product tailored to startups, you could reach out to “The Hustle,” a company with a massive newsletter that would be more than happy to team up with you. Or Content Recommendation Widgets such as Taboola, Outbrain, or Content.ad. Or Display networks such Adblade, Chitika, or Clicksor. The list goes on and on. All you have to do is look around.
Repixel: Last but not least, if you own a website, you by nature have a trove of extremely valuable data...the people visiting your website! And if you’re an advertiser, you by nature have a honeypot audience that you’d love to serve ads to...people who have visited a website that discusses content related to your product! Repixel.co is a marketplace that allows advertisers to team up with website owners and lets them easily “retarget” their visitors. For example, if you have a workout app and there is a website that reviews workout apps, or sells home gyms, or promotes pre-workout supplements, Repixel allows you to tag the people visiting those complimentary websites and serve them ads on ad network like Facebook ads.
Marketing is tough, and there are without a doubt companies out there that have a similar customer base to you, a shared mission, and/or problems they are trying to solve just like you are. There’s no reason to go at it alone.