Unfortunately, simply co-writing or exchanging blog posts doesn’t constitute a true partner marketing strategy. Partner marketing can, and should, be so much more!
Blogs are to partner marketers what leads are to demand-gen marketers — an activity-based metric. While important, certainly, a partner marketing effort can be more.
Instead, partner marketers can learn from the ABM discipline of driving fully-fledged, targeted campaigns to make the most of a co-marketing partnership. When two partners come together on full campaigns that articulate the value of the partnership to their audiences, their impact doubles.
In this blog, we’ll break down the challenges and payoffs that come when you adopt an ABM mindset to partner marketing.
The Why & How of Teaming Up for Partner Marketing Campaigns
Adding two logos on a piece of content and calling it good isn’t the best partner marketing strategy. However, if this is you, you’re not alone. A recent survey of marketing leaders found that a lack of strategy is the greatest challenge to making partner marketing work for 25% of teams. Given that 15% don’t even have a documented partner marketing strategy at all, well, you see the problem.
An effective partner marketing strategy requires much more. It requires you and your partner to put on your ABM hats and get down into the details of your shared audiences, how a campaign might engage them, and what mutual benefits you can take away.
In short, it’s identifying a common story you and your partner are qualified to tell together, crafting a theme, identifying the programs and tactics you’ll deploy to get the campaign to market, and then creating joint goals to evaluate success. In essence, it’s an ABM campaign.
Is this hard to pull together? You bet! You’ll face hurdles such as:
- Identifying the right partners to begin with. Then, getting all the stakeholders on board to support the budget, resources, and promotion.
- Leveraging collective data, ensuring mutual benefits, and maintaining clear and concise communication for the duration of the campaign.
- Managing partner expectations regarding outcomes. Some 22% of marketers don’t pursue a partner marketing program because they couldn’t establish mutual growth goals with partners in the past.
However, that doesn’t mean going all in on a partner marketing campaign isn’t worth it. We know from experience! In a future post, we’ll break down the behind-the-scenes process of pulling together five industry-leading technology partners with us into the year-long campaign Martech Masterclass Series.
Payoffs of Great Partner Marketing Campaigns
We aren’t the only ones who’ve experienced great success from treating partner marketing more like an ABM campaign. A 2022 partner marketing benchmark report found that 56% of partner marketing programs have resulted in success over the past year, and 88% of marketers see partner marketing as a necessary tactic that yields value.
Whether you’re a tech partner or a services partner, combining your knowledge and expertise with a partner can multiply your efforts. Indeed, a well-crafted partner campaign can have a 1+1=3 effect.
Let’s break down the benefits of partner marketing for tech and service partners to illustrate how this can work in practice:
- Two Tech Partners: When two tech partners collaborate, they can talk about the power of their combined solution. After all, a campaign dedicated toward their joint customers can be much more successful than if they had one or the other product in a silo.
- Tech Partner + Services Partner: A campaign between these two is a little trickier since it can give the perception that the tech is so complicated it needs a service partner to interpret it. However, if done well, the service partner can provide the value of an “impartial opinion” to give credence to the claims of the tech partner. Meanwhile, it sets the service partner apart from competitors by demonstrating their specific knowledge and expertise associated with that particular technology. Win, win!
- Two Services Partners: Lastly, a partner marketing campaign between two service partners helps demonstrate a united solution where two partners can work together to solve related issues a potential client could have. Each focuses on its area of expertise, and each benefits from and augments the work of the other.
Next Steps: Transforming Your Partner Marketing Approach
As we’ve mentioned, the traditional approach to partner marketing is often very transactional. You sponsor my conference, let’s co-sponsor a field event, I’ll write you a blog post… sigh. The strategy behind it is all but absent.
So, how can you start to solve this? By hiring solid campaign marketers who have a sales mindset for generating revenue, just like ABM marketers do. THEN your partner marketing efforts can take on their strategic destiny and start to work as an arm of your company’s demand gen efforts.
At Inverta, our experts jump right into your team to cost-effectively optimize your strategy, campaigns, and more — including for partnering marketing. Learn more about what we offer here.