In economically challenging times, it can pay for businesses to work together and stick together—and it looks like we’re certainly in economically challenging times in 2023.
The nonprofit research group The Conference Board publishes data on consumer confidence, a common proxy for how much spending versus saving we can expect from the economy. Their April report not only finds consumer confidence down for the month, but reveals a downward trend since the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel started to appear. Indeed, consumer confidence is at about 2015 levels, when the ghosts of the Great Recession were still haunting the market. The only difference is that in 2015 confidence was trending up.
With the business environment becoming increasingly shaky, now is one of those times where forging partnerships for marketing can be a great strategy to increase growth and bypass the slow sales stage many firms find themselves in right now.
Partnerships allow companies to save time and money in reaching their target audiences by avoiding duplicated effort and creating new value in their offerings. Where an investment’s already been made in reaching a particular audience, other companies can take advantage of that infrastructure to their mutual advantage. New value is created as both companies are able to offer an enhanced product or service by positioning their own offering alongside a complementary one.
For example, if a pencil manufacturer partners with a paper company, their shared customers are a step closer to getting enhanced value from each of their products (a pencil’s less useful without paper, and vice versa).
Not for boom times?
While there is a lot of power in partner marketing, it’s not always “low-hanging fruit.” For smaller and startup firms in particular, it can take time to establish credibility and trust with potential partners, and negotiating and navigating areas like shared messaging and strategy can be cumbersome, or in the worst case risky. For many companies, it’s not the kind of tool you pull out when reaching audiences is easy.
Although the pandemic created mass uncertainty and forced some innovations like remote work, it also inspired a lot of strategic conservatism, like a rethinking of just-in-time delivery in supply chains. In the heart of the pandemic, businesses weren’t as inclined to try marketing strategies they were less familiar with either.
As a result, many marketers are out of practice with the increasingly valuable tool of partner marketing. That’s why our webinar is focused entirely on creating a successful B2B partner marketing program.
Build (or rebuild) your partner marketing chops
In addition to eMa’s own chief Courtney Kehl, we discussed with Rajiv Parikh, CEO from Position 2, an integrated digital agency focused on demand generation and content marketing. Alongside their own peerless expertise in partner marketing, Position 2 is an eMa partner, which offered a springboard and case study for our discussion. Court and Rajiv covered key considerations to take into account when selecting a partner, the importance of developing a comprehensive partner strategy, and best practices for measuring and optimizing partner performance.
Court and Rajiv also laid out their Partnership Approach, how to differentiate between working with a partner and working through a partner, how to announce a new partner, and how to connect partner marketing tactics to your pipeline.
To watch the full discussion with Court and Rajiv, please click here to watch our webinar on demand. Even if you aren’t sold on the value of partner marketing for your business today, recent history has demonstrated these are perishable skills you’ll want ready in your toolbox when the moment calls for strategic diversification.
The Power of Partner Marketing & Tactics for Channel Pipeline
Courtney Kehl and Rajiv Parikh