How to Create a Partnership Marketing Plan That Drives Growth - Hinge Marketing (2023)

Partnerships are strange.

On the one hand, it is evident that we operate in a competitive world that values ​​self-sufficiency. Our customers, peers and peers expect us to work hard, carry our own weight and keep growing. No excuses. Fortunately, it's not all dog-eat-dog...

Charles Darwin, who famously developed the concept of survival of the fittest, is also quoted as saying: "It is the long history of mankind (and animals too) that those who have learned to work together and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

In nature, in life and now in business, there seems to be an essential need for partnership and collaboration. And we don't just have to rely on appearances... We have data!

According to HingeStudy on high growth 2022ranks partnership marketing as the 8th most effective marketing technique for professional services firms - putting it on par with more commonly implemented marketing techniques such as presentations in educational webinars and speaking at conferences and events.

So what to make of these findings? First, let's clarify what we mean by thispartnership marketingso we can understand exactly how they can help our business grow.

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Marketing partnerships defined

Partnership marketing can be defined as a mutually beneficial marketing relationship between one company and another organization. Well, that definition is admittedly pretty broad - but that's because most marketing partnerships will have their own unique characteristics.

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At the heart of a marketing partnership might be larger initiatives like running a powerful piece of researchwith another company, or something as small as asking a partner to retweet a certain thing on Twitter. It all depends on the companies involved and their current strategic goals.

Many marketing partnerships start small and grow over time as two companies get to know each other and figure out what works best for each party. We'll explore more details below, but here are some examples of partnership marketing activities:

  • Create do-follow links to relevant blog posts
  • social mediaExplosions sharing new content or upcoming events
  • Email swaps promoting your respective services or content
  • Co-produced and co-promotedwebinars
  • Live events targeting the same prospects
  • Conduct a new research together

However, you cannot afford to just work with just anyone. There are some important things to consider before entering into a new partnership with another company.


Choosing the right partners

When starting overStrategic MarketingPartnering There are two criteria you need to follow to choose the right partner - make sure they aren't your competitors and that they serve the same audience as you.

It may sound obvious... but you need to be sure that the company you are working with is not your direct competitor. Many companies continue to diversify their service offerings, making it more likely that partners will come your way. So do your research ahead of time by checking out their website, interviewing a member or two of their team, and possibly speaking to one of their clients. With any marketing partnership, you want to avoid creating confusion about what services your company offers. Partnering with companies that offer the same services as you is simply not an option.

The second criterion is that your partner must at least partly serve the same target groups as you. At Hinge, for example, this means that our marketing partnerships are built with other companies that serve or want to serve professional servicesmarketplace. We regularly receive messages from companies that want to "partner" with us, but whose target audience is different from our ideal prospects. If your company is like ours, then you don't have the time or resources to waste it on partnerships that don't put you directly in touch with your ideal prospects.

(Video) 5 Ways to Generate Quality Leads through Partnership Marketing

In summary, when considering a new marketing partnership, you should follow these two rules:

  1. Make sure your partner is not your competitor
  2. Confirm that you and your partner are targeting the same audience

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Marketing Partnerships and Growth

When you think about the connection between partnerships and growth, it makes a lot of sense. If you can partner with another organization that communicates with a segment of your audience that you haven't yet reached out to, your reach—your universe of potential customers—will expand. And if the company you work with is held in high esteem by its audience, some of that credibility can be transferred to your company by working with them.

The strongest partnerships not only give you access to another company's prospect list, they can also benefit your audience. How? By backing a reputable company that offers services that many of your customers and prospects need, you're exposing them to a quality provider. If they need to buy these services, your customers already have a great option (your partner) at hand. Of course, for this approach to work, you need to carefully screen your partners.

What goes in a partnership marketing plan?

Suppose you wanted to act on this information. What would a partnership marketing plan look like? The question to ask yourself is, "How can we use our most powerful marketing techniques in a marketing partnership plan?"

If we look at a list of the most effective marketing techniques, almost all of them can be incorporated into a partnership marketing plan. Here's one way you might approach such a plan:

lectures and conferences: If you have an annual conference, offer your partner atalking placeand exhibition space. This helps your audience learn more about your partner and puts a face to your partner's name. If your partner hosts an annual conference, you can swap these opportunities. But what if they don't? Consider inviting your partner to make a joint presentation at other conferences that target shared audiences. More and more conference organizers are looking for presentations that involve more than one speaker. So offering co-moderators can give you an edge when competing for a spot.

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Joint webinars:The popularity of webinars has skyrocketed as individuals around the world seek professional development opportunities in an inexpensive forum. Measurements of successful webinars include high registration count, attendance count, and engagement rate. It is often difficult to reach these higher numbers alone. Aco-hosted webinaris an easy way for two companies to leverage each other's audiences to increase the overall number of registrants and ultimately attendees while highlighting each other's expertise.

Publish original research:More and more companies are discovering the power of conducting original research. The benefits are many, but two highlights are how original research can strategically inform your company about your ideal prospect while providing your marketing team with material that can do soSupercharge your marketing strategy. However, original research can be expensive. So how about finding one of your marketing partners and researching together?

See also: Custom Research Studies by the Hinge Research Institute

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Downloadable Content/Email Marketing/Blogging:E-Mail-Marketing uGuest blogSwaps are common in partnerships. For example, you could agree to email each other's list every two months. Typically, in these agreements, companies do not exchange lists with a partner; Instead, each organization broadcasts for the other. You can agree to writing (and hosting) guest blog posts a little more often than you exchange emails — say, once a month. You can make the most of these golden opportunities in front of new audiences by adding educational content to the mix. Offer a free white paper or research paper in every email you send. End your blog posts with a link to download related content. And make sure you protect at least some of your content so you can acquire email addresses and grow your company's contact list.

Website & Online Advertising:You may want to offer your affiliate advertising, branding and marketing opportunities on your website. For example, if you sell advertising space on your website or in your newsletter, include free ads in your affiliate plan. Consider adding apartner siteor section to your website. Ask your partner to provide relevant text and graphics. On this page you can also inform your audience about special prices or packages they can receive as a benefit of your partnership.

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In this post, I've outlined an approach to a partnership marketing plan—one based on our recent study of high-growth professional services companies. You must tailor your plan to the realities of your business and industry. At Hinge, we've maintained strategic partnerships for a number of years, which have become an invaluable opportunity to expand our reach to new audiences. While building partner relationships and trust can take time, it is well worth the effort. In fact, this is one of the best ways to start growing your business!

Marketing Planning Guide – Third Edition

The Marketing Planning Guide for Professional Services Firms

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How Hinge can help

Hinge has developed a comprehensive, research-based marketing programThe Visible Company®to help companies market themselves for high growth. In fact, it's the #1 marketing program for increased visibility, growth, and profits for professional services firms.Find out today!

Additional Resources

  • Download our free bookspiral upwardsto learn how to create a high-growth, high-value strategy for your business.
  • Check out our free research-based bookIn the mind of the buyerto learn how your business development team can close more leads by understanding what the buyer really wants.
  • Get a copy of our freeMarketing Planning Guideto develop a strategy that will generate more leads for your business by building its visibility and reputation in the market.


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