Forming marketing partnerships with like-minded, non-competing businesses can be an intelligent way to quickly and cost-effectively kickstart your go-to-market strategy — so long as you follow these five tips. 

Launching a product without a solid go-to-market strategy is like trying to find your soulmate by blindly swiping on dating apps with no set criteria.

You might get lucky and stumble upon a potential partner immediately, but you’re more likely to waste years having forced small talk over costly cocktails with people who are very much not your ideal match.

Similarly, launch your product without demonstrating product-market fit, and you risk wasting valuable time, energy, and resources courting all the wrong people. 

But how do you quickly and effectively test your target market to find your perfect match early-on... while still generating revenue? 

Digital marketing partnerships. 

Let me explain. 

The benefits of marketing partnerships in a go-to-market strategy

You already know that people buy from businesses they know, like, and trust

The only problem? 

If you’re launching a go-to-market strategy, you might not have built trusted relationships with your target market yet. 

Even if you do have a pool of prospects ready to buy from you, chances are there is a new market that aligns with your go-to-market strategy — one that you have not yet tapped into.

When you team up with the right digital marketing partner, you leverage that business’s established market. Suddenly, you have immediate access to a loyal customer base and relationships that could take your brand years to develop. 

To put it another way...

The right partnership strategy is a powerful shortcut to target market access, product-market fit, and immediate sales. But there are other benefits to marketing partnerships, too. Advantages like:

Of course, the secret to successful channel marketing lies in selecting the right partners. These five tips will help you establish mutually beneficial marketing partnerships so that you can get started in a quick, cost-effective, and successful way:

5 Tips to forming successful marketing partnerships

1. Choose partners that align with goals, vision, and target market

Before you dive into partner selection, clarify your goals and vision for your overarching brand and each marketing partnership. Skip this step, and you risk crafting inconsistent messaging that confuses customers and dilutes the impact of your campaign. 

You might start with these questions:

  1. What are our values and company culture? How do they align with those of our strategic partners?
  2. What is our brand messaging, and how do we communicate it to our customers?
  3. Who is the target market that we want to reach?

Communicate your goals and vision with potential partners to guarantee alignment. You’ll also want to select digital marketing partners that offer non-competing yet complimentary services. 

Say you’re a SaaS company that specialises in project management tools for small businesses. A partnership with a marketing agency focusing on small business growth could be an intelligent collaboration: you share a target market and have like-minded goals (small-business success) without offering rival products. 

2. Know what you bring to the table

If you want to attract good marketing partners, you must know and — this is important — communicate the value you offer. Simple as that. 

If a relationship is not symbiotic, it won’t last long. Worse, you risk damaging your brand’s reputation, wasting time and resources, and missing out on otherwise profitable opportunities. 

So, get clear on your unique strengths, then use them to attract the right businesses and build long-lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships. 

Wondering what you bring to the table if you don’t yet have a large, established customer base? Here are just a few ideas:

  • Unique knowledge, skills, or experience
  • Innovative products or services (this is likely you!)
  • Access to new channels or platforms
  • Target market insights/research

3. Clearly define expectations and KPIs

I’ve said it before: If you want better results in your business, you’ve got to know and track your marketing KPIs.

Many businesses overcomplicate this step. 

You don’t have to go down a rabbit hole of metrics, but do define your goals and outline how you will measure the value of your marketing partnerships. Get specific, and communicate these expectations and KPIs to all parties involved.

When you’re crystal-clear on what success looks like, you’ll align your efforts and amplify your impact — which means successful, long-term channel partner marketing.

4. Put your customer’s needs at the forefront of your marketing partnerships

Every collaboration should start by asking: How does this partnership strategy enhance the customer experience?

To answer this question, you must understand your customers’ needs and pain points. Don’t skip this step. 

Imagine you’re marketing a fitness app that helps users shed 2% of their body fat in the first 30 days on the platform. Your research reveals that many users find it challenging to make healthy eating choices. 

What’s an obvious partner selection? Perhaps a whole-food meal delivery service that provides users with quick, healthy dinners. By offering a convenient solution to users' dietary struggles, you enhance your customer’s overall experience and drive mutual success for all parties involved.

Ensure the partnership’s value proposition is communicated clearly and convincingly to customers, ideally from the get-go.

5. Establish open and regular communication

Successful marketing partnerships don’t happen by accident. Open and ongoing communication is crucial to avoid misunderstandings and misaligned efforts.

Establish a communication plan from the get-go. Share insights and ideas. You’ll have a better chance of hitting your benchmarks and achieving sustainable growth when both parties are connecting. 

If you want to accelerate growth through marketing partnerships, you’ve got to do your research…

…to understand your target market's unique needs, identify non-competing players, and communicate your KPIs. It might take time to build a solid foundation, but it will allow you to leverage the right audiences (the right way) so you can catapult your success.