Introducing the Newest Customer Acquisition Channel: Partnerships
- 08 February, 2021 09:16
Partnerships have been tipped by Deloitte’s annual Global Marketing Trends report to be one of the most influential drivers of marketing activity in 2021. And little wonder given that innovative partnerships can help expand revenue channels beyond sales and marketing, drive innovative customer experiences and deliver long-term sustainable growth.
With its roots in the affiliate world, the concept of performance-based partnerships has been around for decades (if not centuries). However, the digital innovation of the last few years has seen it emerge as a reinvented and stand-alone channel which is creating exceptional results for innovative brands. No longer confined to big brand tie-ups or traditional affiliate marketing, partnerships have exploded to include social influencers (micro and macro and all the ones in between), brand-to-brand, mobile apps, premium publishers, charitable collaborations, ambassadors and more.
As brands and retailers continue to re-evaluate strategies, channels and technology stacks in order to stay resilient no matter what 2021 brings, performance-based partnerships are becoming an increasingly important part of customer acquisition and growth strategies as a way to reach and connect with new audiences.
Australian brands like Booktopia, Westpac, Kayo Sports and Canva are embracing partnerships for three key reasons:
Generates incremental revenue
The partnership channel is extremely lucrative, with a 2019 Forrester research study revealing companies with high maturity partnership programs contribute 28% of overall company revenues. And critically, the technology now exists to track, measure and optimise revenue - no matter how big or small the partnership is. In fact, Impact’s Partnership Cloud manages the whole life-cycle of a partnership from discovering potential partners, through recruiting and contracting, compensating, managing, measuring and optimising. This makes determining ROI simple, scalable and 100 percent transparent.
One Australian brand that has been particularly successful at reimagining its partnership strategy is Booktopia. So much so that in just 18 months they increased the number of their partners by 275%, resulting in a YOY revenue increase of 219%. Listen to Booktopia’s CMO Steffen Daleng discuss their partnership journey in this video.
Builds trust and advocacy
The shift to digital commerce has had a significant impact on consumer purchasing behaviour. Consumers are becoming more distrustful of traditional advertising and increasingly turn to peer-to-peer recommendations, influencers and digital word of mouth to discover and evaluate what and where to buy from. When you factor in the disquiet caused by GDPR and CCPA, along with documentaries like Netflix’s The Great Hack, it isn’t hard to understand why digital advertising is increasingly distrusted by consumers. By entering into smart, strategic partnerships, businesses can build positive brand equity, drive credibility by aligning with like-minded partners and nurture and grow consumer trust.
Drives innovative customer experiences
The global pandemic and resulting uncertainty and financial impact means that customer loyalty, trust and confidence are under more pressure than ever. Creating genuine moments that matter for customers and thinking about their specific needs is now of vital importance - and where partnerships have an important role to play. As Deloitte’s Global Marketing Trends 2021 report notes, “organisations have an opportunity to completely reminage partnership strategies that open the aperture for solutions for the people they serve.” We saw some great examples of these in 2020 including Uber and Dettol joining forces to make rideshare journey’s safer, as well as The Iconic and Binge teaming up for a range of active wear. It’s all about thinking outside of traditional industry boundaries and really thinking about your customers’ needs and wants.