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  • Ben Cornett

Partner Marketing: An Explanation my Dad Would Understand

Every now and then during a round of golf or a visit with my dad, he would ask me...what is it that you exactly do Ben? I used to tell him I'm in Partner Marketing, I've now moved on the lead our organization's marketing team including Partner Marketing. He ponders for a few moments and then asks, what's that. Trying to explain the role of Partner Marketing isn't always an easy task so I decided to pull together this explanation so that I can explain what I do more efficiently and so my dad would understand.


The bottom line is that Partner Marketing is the act of telling stories to sell products and/or services through, with, or on behalf of business partners. An example is seen in City, County, or State fairs happening this time of year around the United States. A City, County, or State entity put on a fair. The venue is in most cases is owned by the City, County, or State, but they use a partner to do the work such as an event management or production company. The production company is hired to organize the event and is tasked with bringing on vendors for the fair. The vendors are part of the drive to bring people and revenue to the fair. Local vendors typically have first grabs for space at the event as they are partnered with the City, County, or State already from previous years and buy local political initiatives. The production company then outsources or "partners" with an entertainment firm to bring high-value talent "aka Garth, Alan, Tim, Reba" to increase the foot traffic. This provides value (ROI) to the vendors, City, County, or State entities, the management company, and the community. Partner Marketing is the act of communicating the value of the event to the public with the intent of driving purchase behavior, tickets! Now that isn't really simple at all, right? Not really.



Another example is McDonald's and Coke. Have you ever seen a McDonald's sell Pepsi products? Someone in the partner value chain, including Partner Marketing, authorized one of the longest-standing partnerships between McDonald's and Coke in the fast-food space. In this case, Partner Marketing's role might simply ensure brands are being protected and used in accordance with each other's brand guidelines.


So in a nutshell...in a way, my dad can understand. Partner Marketing is a mixture of science and art. Partner Marketing is the science of gaining exposure to a larger audience through business partners and the art of communicating value through, with, on behalf of those partners. Partners might be distributors, resellers, agents, alliances, or many other types of third-party companies. At the end of the day...Partner Marketing is focused on communicating value.


"Partner Marketing is the science of gaining exposure to a larger audience through business partners and the art of communicating value through, with, on behalf of those partners."


Personally, I am grateful that my marketing career was born within the partner ecosystem's specialized field. As someone who has consulted for and lead marketing for some of America's fastest-growing SaaS brands, I get to witness the power of marketing strategy which is always connected to a partner ecosystem. I'd love to brainstorm about your marketing efforts and share some ideas of how you can extend your reach. Book me and let's start a dialogue.

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