WTH is “Partner Marketing” 

No one can deny that the pandemic has changed the way people are consuming information and making purchases. Customers have new needs, and it’s up to businesses to meet those needs if they want to break even, let alone boost their bottom lines. To meet those needs, more and more businesses are quickly learning the benefit of partnership through partner marketing.  

A big chunk of business happens through indirect channels — according to the World Trade Organization, a whopping 75%. “Indirect channels” basically describes the third-party companies you partner with in various ways to market and sell your products. Those third-party companies are the different marketing partners you employ to advertise and promote your products.

Whether you’re new to the game or an old hat at this, a brush up on partner marketing never hurts.

So what the hell is partner marketing, you ask? Think of partner marketing as a high-level marketing strategy built from a diverse collaboration of partners. In other words, you’re basically partnering with various levels of marketers to share skills and resources to create amazing, targeted marketing campaigns.

Partner Marketing vs. Affiliate Marketing

Let’s get one thing straight. “Affiliate” isn’t a dirty word. There’s a fine line between “partner marketing” and “affiliate marketing,” and the true meaning of each differs depending on who you ask. Some consider partner marketing a facet of affiliate marketing and vice versa. Both are cut from the same cloth, so to speak, but partner marketing possesses an important element missing in affiliate marketing — relationships. 

Partner marketing puts heavy emphasis on securing strong partnerships through building and maintaining beneficial relationships. On the other hand, affiliate marketing is more about quick money by any means necessary. Partner marketing is about cultivating long, lasting relationships and strategically targeting customers to build loyalty, resulting in greater ROI, increased market share, and a robust consumer base. Affiliate marketing is more performance-based. Both will bring your brand money. The differences lie in how they bring your brand money. So let’s just leave it at that. 

Business has always been an ever-changing entity, and the pandemic has revolutionized the way we do business. With millions sheltering in place, keyboard warriors have the world instantly at their fingertips.

The competition is stiff, and brands need to stay ahead of their consumer and the competition. Today’s focus is much more on engaging your customer during each step of their purchasing journey. This is where your partners’ skills and resources come into play. 

And not to confuse you, but affiliates are just one type of partner. Marketing partners come in all shapes and forms: distribution, affinity, influencers, affiliates — basically any third-party business that can help you more efficiently and effectively get your product in front of customers. In digital speak, any entity that has a hand in creating a conversion is a partner. 

Because all partners aren’t created equal, you must do your research to find the right marketers with the right channels to push your products. The whole point of partnership is to create a relationship that is mutually beneficial. Ask any married couple. If one partner isn’t pulling their weight, the entire partnership will definitely suffer. Partners support one another, share best practices and find new and innovative methods for everyone to ultimately reach success.

About The Author

Michelle Henson

Michelle Henson is a content & marketing professional at Partnervana, a partner marketing agency that helps companies attract visitors, convert leads, and close customers.