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Promotional Offers Are The Goal Of Most Partnership Marketing Arrangements
Matching up two great offers to attract more customers and build activity, for all partners, will expand your business, when done right.
I have created marketing partnerships for major brands, small start-ups and my own businesses. In most cases the process is about identifying a market segment, uncovering a problem and offering a different solution that people want, now. The goal is to create a win-win-win offer for you, your partner and the consumer.
Metrics Are The Key To Success
While we often define the process as “brand partnership marketing”; consider applying direct response thinking into creating ‘co-promotion’ partnerships. Ideally you want to generate an immediate response, where every response or purchase can be measured and attributed to your unique offer.
Your goal is to have both partners, and their shared target prospects, take immediate action based on something they experienced, saw or read. With measurement, promotional offers can be refined and growth segments can be identified and expanded upon. Often there is a test market component to a partner marketing offer to see what consumer response may be.
What Do You Have To Offer A Marketing Partner
There are many types of arrangements when you are getting into bed with a new partner. Consider these suggested categories when you consider the value you have to offer a potential partner:
- Product features (the consumer need that you satisfy)
- Positioning (what consumers perceive when they think of your product or brand)
- Audience, database, market segments
- Place (retail locations and/or the different ways you get your product in front of the customer)
- Affiliations and Sponsorships
- Other marketing activities unique to your brand or product
Examine each of these attributes to consider what products would compliment your efforts to build new customers and/or increase awareness and sales. Doing a mini SWOT analysis on each of these elements will uncover all kinds of strengths you can offer a potential partner, and help you identify opportunities where you can benefit from a marketing partner.
Examples of Partner Marketing Programs To Inspire
Create A Nice Package
I worked in the travel industry for many years and packaging was our thing. As a provider of rental cars we needed to break out of the commodity mindset and offer something different and economical to attract the leisure segment.
For Golfers we developed the THREE PAY FOUR PLAY Package. Aside from the catchy, provocative name, the offer included a free round of golf for one member of a foursome to renters of a premium car for their vacation.
Once we pitched the depth and reach of our marketing campaign to golf courses and resorts, they were eager to participate. Golfers/customers appreciated the value of the added bonus, golf resorts appreciated the extensive media campaign and the increased visitor spending at their property, and we rented lots of cars. A win-win-win.
For skiers we packaged a free one-day lift ticket to popular ski resorts, along with a free ski rack for weekly car rentals. The price of the free lift tickets was a miniscule investment for participating ski resorts when they considered the extensive media program developed to promote the packaged offer and the skier traffic we drove to their resorts.
Think Out-of-the-box when you create a package. In both examples we did preliminary research about the impact of the investment we were asking from our potential partners and the expected ROI they would achieve. Both programs began small and grew over-time, as we were able to measure results and improve on the elements of the package and the supporting marketing campaign.
Associate With A Cause
This strategy is both good for business and the community
Levi’s Water Campaign – Levi’s created a partnership with water.org, to celebrate World Water Day. They had over 9 million fans in their social media space and they generated 50,000 visits for the Facebook WaterTank app, within 72 hours of launch.
The sponsorship arrangement benefited water.org by dramatically increasing awareness, visits to their site, and a consumer inspired donation of $250,000 from Levi’s.
By aligning with a globally responsible organization, Levi’s improved their brand image as a socially responsible company, inspired their fans to alter their water-consumption habits, and associate the effort with their blue jeans product, which just happens to use 96% less water to manufacturer the popular pants.
A Festival Brings Sponsors Together – To support the local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF,) my business partners and I created a Food & Wine Festival, with a portion of the proceeds going towards the worthy cause. In the process of selling sponsorships to corporate sponsors, we created multiple cooperative marketing campaigns for the event, and as ongoing campaigns for our agency.
A ski resort, a car dealership association and a resort hotel offered sponsorship dollars and prizes for the event. We packaged some of the prizes to create attractive auction items. We kept the conversation going to create a winter ski and stay package that was promoted through the car dealer association’s ad campaign for a trade deal providing car buyers with free ski and stay packages. An altruistic sponsorship campaign turned into a lucrative marketing partnership program that provided measurable results.
Break through the clutter and connect emotionally. It’s up to us as marketing pros to be visionaries as we put the pieces of the sponsorship puzzle together. At the end of the day associating with a cause and inviting brands to come together to be good corporate citizens, is good for business, the cause, the brand and the community.
Tap into the emotional energy of the cause related marketing event to pitch direct response campaigns that benefit partners and their customers. The cause is a great door opener to get brands communicating around issues that improve the world and the customer experience.
Create A Merchandising Opportunity
Years ago I created an Olympic themed sweepstakes for the VISA credit card brand. The promotion was to be featured at the point-of-sale in member banks across the country. Coincidentally, a major car manufacturer had produced an official USA Olympic version of their popular brand, as part of their official Olympic USA sponsorship.
I pitched the extent of the in member bank POS campaign to the Auto Manufacturer’s Brand Manager, and secured a free car as the top level sweepstakes prize, based on the unique advertising exposure at the retail level. The opportunity to reach potential customers in banks, while promoting their Olympic sponsorship, provided value that exceeded anything the auto manufacturer experienced before. They jumped on the opportunity.
Merchandising today happens at the retail level and online. When you can cooperatively promote your brand with a partner, using a brick and mortar store or online space that you would not normally be in, it is a great opportunity. By placing your product in front of new audiences you can build new customer segments. Co marketing with a sponsorship partner provides an opportunity to do something that had been unprecedented for your product before you created the opportunity.
Opportunities To Partner are Limitless
Cash is not the only currency when it comes to co marketing campaigns. Your database, media campaign, loyalty program, or even a quirky product attribute or brand positioning are some items partner brands may seize upon. Out-of-the box thinking and a direct-response mindset will open doors to the limitless world of marketing partnerships.
What can you leverage to offer a potential partner?