Partner Marketing: Building Trust for Successful Collaborations

man and woman shaking hands

by Chrissy Jones

Partner marketing is more than just forming relationships to bolster revenues. Companies that implement successful partnership models build mutual trust and collaboration among diverse groups that provide distinct experiences and services. As the 2022 Channel/Partner Marketing Benchmark Survey indicates, nearly 96% of companies consider such collaborations an essential component of their overall business strategy. The concept of partner marketing involves forging strategic alliances with like-minded businesses or organizations in order to expand your reach or customer base. Under this scenario two (or more) brands work together by leveraging each other’s unique capabilities in mutually beneficial ways without one “owning” the other. It’s no surprise then that estimates suggest nearly 54% of companies are now reporting partnerships to account for over 20% of their total yearly revenue.

The Value of Genuine Trust  

Here’s what it comes down to at the end of the day; partner marketing is all about building relationships that are rooted in deep and unwavering  trust. That’s the only way to ensure that collaborations are successful and working towards a mutual/shared end goal: growing your business. It has been reported that around two-thirds of executives in the B2B industry characterize their channel policy as just moderately successful, and 20% assert that it is not working well. It’s no wonder then why 75% of world trade flows indirectly — showing just how important it is for businesses to carefully develop channels, partnerships and alliances. Having strong relationships with your partners means both parties understand each other’s needs more easily and can draw insights from each other. 

The Apple and Nike Collaboration: A Case Study in Brand Partnerships

The case study of the Apple Watch Nike+ is a great example of how effective partner marketing can be in building trust and creating successful collaborations. When Apple partnered up with Nike in 2016, it opened up the opportunity to pursue mutually beneficial success for both companies. By merging two iconic brands together, these powerhouses were able to create a product that truly tapped into an underserved sector: it helped runners who needed help tracking their time, distance, and pace data but wanted something more personalized than other options available on the market. The combination worked–the result was Apple Watch Nike+, complete with exclusive Nike Sport Bands in signature colors and styles as well as special watch faces to complement each band. Since its introduction, it has become one of the most well-loved sports watches the world over due to its technological high quality features like GPS navigation capabilities, water resistance up to 50 meters waterproofing ability plus, enhanced dual-core processor powered battery life and many more perks bundled inside an attractive design hard shell frame casing body. 

Even more impressive is the fact that in early 2020 alone more than 15 .4 million users downloaded Nike’s running app–indicating just how much customers embrace this concept despite there being so many other traditional alternatives. One thing that can be said for sure is that when you get strategic about partnering with another company outside your own field/niche–regardless if they’re direct competitors or not–it pays off big time from both a financial and loyalty standpoint.

It’s no secret that implementing a successful partner marketing plan takes effort, but when done correctly it can pay off exponentially for everyone involved. By establishing trust amongst all parties involved and using empathy to understand all areas that are influencing collaboration efforts – success will surely follow suit! The Apple/Nike example goes to show just how powerful collaborations can be if executed properly – leading not only to beneficial outcomes for both collaborators but also large earnings from increased sales and revenues across both brands.

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