Common Questions About Partner Marketing

We understand that that starting and growing a partner marketing program can be a daunting task. Today we outline some of the most common questions about partner marketing.
Luke Swanek
Luke Swanek
April 3, 2018
Common Questions About Partner Marketing

Partners Marketing is the strategic collaboration between two or more organizations with the intent to develop mutually beneficial business goals. Sound too good to be true? It doesn’t have to be. When done correctly, partner marketing can yield exceptional financial and growth returns for your organization. So, how do you get started? Here are some of the most common questions about partner marketing.

1) What makes a good partner?

The most successful partner marketing relationships involve organizations that can leverage each other’s complementary strengths, while still pursuing a similar customer.

Find partners that have relationships with clients you want. They should be serving their customers with products or services that are not in direct competition with your offering, but rather add value in a way that’s complementary to yours.

GoPro and Red Bull’s 2012 “Stratos” campaign was one of most iconic and globally distributed partner marketing campaigns, reaching nearly 20 million views on YouTube. Both are ‘action packed, lifestyle brands’ that cater to a similar demographic but with vastly different value-added products.


2) How should I structure my incentives?

Majority of partner marketing programs are financially motivated and driven. Programs typically center around the sharing of profits that are garnered from new business as a result of collaborative efforts. So, how much profit should you give away?

Referral partner fees typically fall between 5%-25% of first year revenue from the new business. While that range is a great starting point, it’s more important that the gains from your partner marketing channels are worth the effort, relative to other channels. Have a look at your Cost Per Acquisition (total marketing spend plus total marketing resources divided by total number of new customers) from inbound marketing. Your referral incentive needs to be less than this, in order for the effort of partner marketing to make sense financially.

You can also motivate your partners further by creating tiered levels to acknowledge long-term success. This can create healthy competition amongst your roster of partners while developing stronger loyalty for your partner marketing program. Some examples can be found here.

3) What resources are required?

To succeed at scaling your partner marketing program, you need to find the balance between supporting your partners while reducing the operational hassle internally. The key is to automate the process to a turnkey solution, while having all resources required for partners to be successful, easily accessible to them.

Recommended solutions include:

  • Giving your partners access to a shared drive that’s updated with the latest sales and marketing resources including graphics, logos, copy and pricing. Make sure your partners know about it and encourage them to leverage resources you’ve previously tested in the market.
  • Integrate your referral program with a fulfillment / payments vendor that can be triggered automatically once the success criteria is met.
  • Provide real-time data on rewards earned and paid to your partners so they don’t have to come to you to confirm every sale and associated payout.

Keep in mind that partner marketing is a long-term strategy that should be iterated on based on the early outcomes of the program, as well as feedback you’ve received from partners. It’s not an overnight success solution, but one that can yield incredible results when conducted thoughtfully.

Luke Swanek

Luke Swanek

VP Sales, Cofounder at GrowSumo

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