This article was updated in July 2022.
What is Partner Marketing?
Partner marketing is collaborative marketing with other businesses that have shared interests and goals. There are multiple types of partner marketing including:
- Co-marketing or co-branding
- Affiliate marketing
- Referral marketing
- Influencer marketing
An effective partner marketing strategy needs both companies to be aligned on the campaign's goals and committed to hitting their KPIs.
Banzai’s webinar, Driving Demand with Partner Events, features an interview with Adobe’s Senior Partner Marketing Manager of Events Meagan Dollins. Meagan offers valuable insight on the ins and outs of running a successful partner marketing program. Meagan and Banzai’s VP of Customer Success Ike Nelson discuss the power of a great partner marketing program in spreading awareness and driving sales pipeline.
Below are some of our key takeaways from the interview. You can watch the full webinar on-demand.
How to Create a Successful Partner Marketing Strategy
Launch in 90 days
Setting up your partner marketing program in 90 days is possible! Meagan breaks down the first 3 months with realistic goals that can get your program up and running within a quarter.
The first 30 days should be about identifying 1-2 potential partners you can go-to-market with. Spend time researching them, getting to know them, and learning whether or not it will be a valuable relationship for both organizations.
Within 60 days, you should establish a thorough marketing plan with documented KPIs and goals. Both organizations need to be on the same page when it comes to your key differentiators and your target audience. Marketing strategies need to be locked down and sales plans ready to launch. Use this time to establish quarterly meetings to review goals and metrics.
Finally, by 90 days you should start to see some results. You have started to run your partner marketing programs and can see whether or not you are moving towards your agreed-upon goals.
Quality over quantity
When it comes to launching your partner marketing program, it’s important to remember that it’s the quality of the partners--not the quantity--that matters. Trying to do too much at once can end up hurting your program. “Opening the floodgates and trying to sign on as many partners as you can upfront isn’t going to be valuable for anybody,” said Meagan. “A lot of times you end up promising the world to each other and then just don't have the bandwidth to really be strategic on how you're going to market with those partners.”
Instead, focus on a few partners whose offerings complement your program and your product and have the potential to be a long-term fit. Spend the time getting to know one another, build your relationship, and learn how you can best work together. Establishing this from the beginning will create a strong foundation for your partner program, and will allow it to grow and scale.
Partner vs. company events
The partner marketing team at Adobe focuses on two types of events, Adobe-led and partner-led. Both are vital to the success of their program but are approached with different strategies and measured by a different set of goals.
For Adobe-led events, it is all about advocating for their partners. Meagan and her team are “plugging partners into [the event] every way that we can.” Partner-led events are different. Instead of focusing on producing the event, the Adobe team is working hard to drive registrations to their partner’s event. They get creative by using channels such as social and/or industry-specific communities. They also use Reach as a way to invite net-new prospects to partner events.
Measuring event success
When it comes to measuring success for partner marketing events, Meagan and her team look at:
Together, these metrics can tell a story and influence how you remarket your content on-demand. Meagan explains that with virtual events, “you know how many people watched the video, how many questions were asked, and how many polls were answered. These are really good metrics, because even if those registration numbers and those attendance numbers aren't there, if you have a high level of engagement from killer accounts, it was worth the investment made.”
The future of partner events
The focus is on virtual events and planning quarter by quarter. Meagan and her team know the need for demand gen is not going away. They work hard to be flexible and creative in developing new and unique ways to engage their audience, create valuable opportunities for their partners, and align with their internal teams.
Partner marketing programs are a powerful channel for creating and advancing pipeline. Watch the full webinar on-demand to hear how Meagan and her team at Adobe enable their partners and use events to drive demand.