I see this on a daily basis…Marketing Partnerships that under perform and as a result, looks of disappointment on the faces of key online marketing personnel.
Why? Well, there are usually many reasons:
- Promoting an offer that is far from compelling
- Lack of compliance
- Having virtually no metrics on hand to measure the success of the partnership against and, ultimately, not being able to calculate that all important ‘ROI’.
So, there you have it; the Partnership underperforms. What’s even more amusing is how companies choose to partner with others without thinking of who they are trying to market their products/services to. We have all heard about demographic and behavioral segmentation and the importance of it (note: their importance will vary, depending on what you are trying to sell), yet somehow those very important aspects of targeting fly out the window when it comes to inking a marketing partnership.
Over the past few years I have analyzed Marketing Partnerships backwards and forwards from Brands that sell watches and jewelry to those that promote e-learning courses and the one aspect that can be clearly linked to an affiliation gone sour is the fact that the parties did not think about who they are targeting? Sounds silly, but it’s one of those cases of believing more in the relationship because “someone knows someone at that company, so that is why we did the deal…” versus understanding who you are trying to target and if the brand that you are partnering with can actually bring those customers to you.
Obviously, that is not the way toward successful marketing partnerships, yet funnily enough; many senior marketers seem to think that it is. It’s not about knowing someone at Company XYZ, it’s about introducing yourself to the right partner that can deliver on a promise. A promise that starts with them having the right online communication vehicles, brand assets, people and systems to turn the relationship in to a profitable one for both parties.
Having said that, I think that targeting and the ability to target is key, but in order to effectively target, you need to know who your best customers are, so that you can go out and get more of them. Don’t go around thinking that another brand that has built hundreds of thousands of online customer relationships can deliver those to your doorstep. Hey, if that were the case, there would be no reason to do anything else but partner! So, as it’s not the case, you really need to understand who your best customers are before forming a marketing partnership with another company. By the same token, you need to ensure that your prospective partner understands who their best customers are so that you can determine if there is a fit.
Without a behavioral and/or demographic fit at the customer level - the partnership will fail, and that is the one thing that I can promise you.