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You’re a marketer—you thrive on finding solutions. The audience you want to reach is out there. How do you get access? That’s where partnership marketing comes in. Effective partnership marketing is often the secret weapon a brand has in its marketing mix.
Just ask Nicco Mouleart, Vice President, Group Account Director of Vertical Marketing Network in Tustin, CA. He’s been part of successful partnership marketing programs for several Vertical Marketing Network clients. “Partnership marketing is a smart collaboration with a wide range of benefits,” he says. “Partnership marketing delivers an extended reach to your core target audience in new channels, helps you garner new customers, and allows you to stretch your marketing budget and even save money. The partnership also provides greater relevance of your brand to your target.”
A Win-Win for Both Parties
“The just completed partnership marketing program implemented on behalf of our client, TV Land, with Sally Beauty, is a perfect example,” adds Mouleart. The program supported the launch of the edgy new comedy-drama series Younger about Liza, a newly divorced 40-year-old who needs to turn back the clock to qualify for a job. Thanks to a miraculous makeover, she “becomes” 26 again so she can rejoin the workforce, leading to all sorts of opportunity for fun and misunderstandings.
The video below highlights one of the components of the Sally Beauty-TV Land partnership, a makeover by a Younger stylist.
“The partnership program included an amazing integrated marketing mix of on-air promotion tags, product placement in the show, a custom makeover video with a celebrity stylist from Younger, along with database and digital marketing assets that benefitted both parties,” Mouleart says. “The promotion also featured an umbrella sweepstakes to win a Sally Beauty $100 gift card every day in April,” he adds. “A true win-win for the Younger show on TV Land and for Sally Beauty!”
Big, Small: Partnership Marketing Works
Another notable example of a successful marketing collaboration is the three-way partnership between Fuel, a popular video game, Yamaha ATV, and Oberto Beef Jerky. The partnership created by Vertical Marketing Network joined the three for a promotion surrounding the launch of the Fuel video game. It was an ideal partnership: all three partners shared the same target audience, all three had similar brand images, and all three wanted increased exposure in each other’s channels.
These companies are all large, with a national presence. Partnership marketing works just as well for smaller brands, says Phil Saifer, President of Vertical Marketing Network. “Smaller brands can benefit greatly from well thought out partnership programs,” he points out. “You can post links on each others’ websites, share a booth at grassroots events, or jointly participate in promotional advertising. Whatever works best considering your goals, your target audience, and your budget.” He adds: “Each brand benefits from wider exposure, greater interest, and more efficient and cost-effective marketing.”
Choosing the Right Partner
When you’re considering which company will make the best partner, you need to make sure the promotion that links the companies is relevant and builds on the existing essence of the brand. Put yourself in your target audience’s position and ask yourself, “Does this make sense?”
Take Home Depot and the Weather Channel. Home Depot conducted research and found that when the weather is bad, consumers buy products that would help protect their homes, gardens, and tools. So what did the Home Depot do? Partner with the Weather Channel! Now, there is a line of Weather Channel products available at Home Deport stores, as well as a series of how-to videos.
Also, you’ll want to carefully evaluate the company you’re considering partnering with. There’s an old saying that goes, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are.” It’s true for partnership marketing. Careful selection of partners can help establish a brand’s reputation within a category. The opposite holds true as well—partnering with the “wrong” entity can cause all kinds of headaches down the road. Remember Kobe Bryant’s endorsement of Nutella as his “favorite spread”? The backlash coming out of his sexual assault charges caused endless headaches for the Nutella brand.
Share Your Experience
Do you have any partnership marketing successes (or failures) that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments section below.
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