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Marketing Partnerships: 5 Tips To Achieve Balance And Success

April 18, 2019 Kathy Bryan

Dove

According to 2018 data, Dove is one of the most loved brands in the U.S. So what reason would Dove have to form a strategic marketing partnership, like they did with Dunkin’ last year to promote morning necessities? For starters, Dunkin’ has almost 10,000 stores across the U.S. and was named the “most transformational brand” by QSR Magazine last year. Dunkin’ has also been the top out-of-the-home coffee brand for customer loyalty for more than a decade. Leveraging the audiences of two strong brands, the #DoveXDunkin “running on coffee and dry shampoo” promotion of 2018 garnered immediate fan and media attention and likely achieved more than Dove could do on their own.

Successful Marketing Partnerships Are Balanced

Strategic marketing partnerships come in all shapes and sizes. On the surface, strategic partnerships can be shocking, expected or something in between. But almost all successful partnerships are built to achieve balanced objectives for both sides of the equation.

Here are some recent strategic marketing partnership examples:

  • 529 College Savings + Daniel Tiger: A savings program and a children’s entertainment brand united to give parents a jump start on financial planning.
  • Outdoorsy + Liberty Mutual: A monetization pioneer connected with a well-known insurance brand to overcome innovation hurdles.
  • Arby’s + King’s Hawaiian: A bold fast food chain partnered with a bread company to create luau-themed sandwiches launched with an attention-grabbing $6 flight to Hawaii promotion.

In each of the examples above, both brands brought value to the partnership table and both brands were positioned to win. For instance, when Daniel Tiger partnered with 529 College Savings, they supported the Daniel Tiger mission of helping “families learn fun and practical strategies and skills necessary for growing and learning.” After all, learning doesn’t end when kids grow too old for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

5 Tips For Creating Successful Strategic Marketing Partnerships

Fostering strategic partnerships that benefit both brands while achieving defined marketing objectives can be challenging. Here are five tips to help you get started.

1. Define Your Marketing Objective

Every marketing exercise should start with a defined objective. After all, every step should be in the direction of your end goal. Objectives that benefit from marketing partnerships are broad, but increased exposure is a common target because partnerships can leverage the audiences, brand equity and marketing budgets of both parties.

2. Identify How A Partner Can Help You Achieve Your Marketing Objective

Not every marketing objective warrants a strategic partnership initiative. Before deciding to build out a partnership, make sure you know how a partnership can scale your marketing success. If increased exposure is the goal, perhaps a partner can help launch your brand into a new audience. If the partner already has strong brand awareness within that audience, it may be easy to generate buzz from a partnership announcement.

Tightly Define Your Target Audience

3. Tightly Define Your Target Audience

Make sure you know exactly who you want to be communicating with to achieve your marketing objective. Define the demographics of your audience, but also dive deeply into the behavioral attributes. Any brand you partner with must align with your audience’s wants and needs as they relate to your products or services.

4. Identify A Brand With A Target Audience That Overlaps Yours

Once you feel like your road to marketing success is mapped out, it’s time to find a brand to take the ride with you. Because the brands on parallel paths are often competitors, pay close attention to brands on intersecting paths. Look for brands that will be advertising to your audience when you’ll also be advertising to your audience. The Dunkin’ x Saucony partnership for the Boston Marathon is a great example. Though Dunkin’ and Saucony don’t typically run in the same circles, both brands are targeting racers and their fans in the lead up to one of New England’s most competitive events.

5. Determine How A Partnership Can Benefit Both Brands

There are many ways to create a win-win partnership. In some cases, both brands labor equally toward a joint objective. In other instances, there is an exchange of money, product or media space. As long as the objectives and audiences of both brands align and the interchange is equitable, the partnership should be set up for success.

Strategic Partnerships Can Create And Expand Marketing Achievements

In many areas of life, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When it comes to strategic marketing partnerships, this holds true. From expanding brand awareness to sampling and from overcoming hurdles to creating buzz, strategic partnerships built for success often lead to victory.

Reimagining Your Strategic Marketing Win?

Contact Digital Media Solutions today.

About the Author

Kathy Bryan

Kathy Bryan is the Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. In this role, Kathy is responsible for all aspects of marketing and communications for DMS and its subsidiary brands. Since its inception, DMS has evolved into an award-winning, full-service performance marketing company demonstrating incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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