Have you ever reflected on how rainforests take shape? Rainforests are built on synergies; no one single plant or animal can survive without the other. It’s nature’s perfect example of an ecosystem.
That’s applicable within the technology world as well. The partner ecosystem thrives on alliances with complementary technology and marketing partners.
The ecosystem economy
Companies have always forged partnerships and alliances, but because relationships in ecosystems are on such a large scale and are evolving so quickly, traditional approaches no longer fit the purpose. Successful companies are finding new ways to choose and manage partners.
Let’s go back to the analogy of the rainforest and translate this into economics. The partner ecosystem is based on a platform that serves as a supporting infrastructure for all of its users to coordinate and shape their customers, partners, technologies and business processes.
All important ingredients for successful partner marketing are built on top of this base. In addition to the well-known benefits of the Ingenious Partner Marketing Platform, participants of the partner ecosystem also benefit from other participants. A partner ecosystem can serve as a network and a pool of data, information and know-how. The more each individual participant shares and integrates, the greater the information pool and thus the overall success of the ecosystem.
It doesn’t matter which business model the individual participant operates on. In fact, there are even advantages to having many different business models represented, since it allows different perspectives to be taken into account. As in all areas of life, the following therefore also applies here: the more diverse, the better.
Drive growth, foster innovation
The focus is growth – plain and simple. The advantages for the parties involved can be briefly summarised with the two keywords symbiosis and innovative strength.
For example, a merchant can cooperate with merchants from other industries with a similar target group, e.g. in the form of joint discount promotions (when shopping at store A, the customer receives a discount code for store B). Since the two merchants are not direct competitors due to their different products, there is no risk of losing customers. Instead, they can support each other and form a symbiosis to generate new customers.
Due to the platform connectivity and the associated technological compatibility, such collaborations are very easy to implement in a partner ecosystem.
The data approach
The importance of data is undisputed. Let’s imagine getting access to data beyond one’s own. Participants in the ecosystem could also have access to far more concrete industry data beyond their own, thus benefiting from a great data pool.
In the future, thanks to data warehousing and business intelligence, the data pool will be interpreted in such a way that company B is automatically recommended to company A as a potential partner. This process is already taking place with great similarity at Amazon: After completing a purchase, customers receive suggestions on products that customers have looked at after purchasing the same product.
Unfortunately, too many companies are still sceptical about new technologies and shy away from any potential complexity and workload. ‘Business as usual’ is therefore the biggest enemy of innovation. Within a partner ecosystem, however, the barriers to entry are enormously lower because the company does not have to worry about the integration itself. Thus, connected partners can benefit from programmes within the platform that they would have shied away from if integrating as a standalone company.
Introducing Ingenious Technologies’ partner ecosystem
When it comes to managing their affiliate or partner marketing activities, companies are faced with a key decision: in-house management with the support of a SaaS provider, or handing over responsibility and thus the (decision making) power to a network.
Within the partner landscape there is a huge difference between SaaS providers and traditional affiliate networks in terms of their business model. SaaS providers differ enormously from networks. The focus of a SaaS provider lies on self-service, thus making technology and support available to its customers. Users of SaaS technology are given immense freedom to shape and make their own decisions. This looks very different with affiliate networks. Networks are often in a position to dictate and make decisions for their customers. In short, a network represents a closed system.
In addition, the platforms of SaaS providers are often system-open through an open API. This means partners can plug in their own familiar programmes and technology, and don’t have to bother with other processes, thus saving tremendous time and effort. Within a partner ecosystem, the more third-party systems are connected, the better the added value for its partners.
Beyond the platform
The Ecosystem reaches much further than the technological infrastructure. Ingenious Technologies made it its mission to connect the right partners in business as well as technology.
Therefore Ingenious Technologies takes the channel sales and services approach, adding value for its customers and partners through professional services.
What will the future of partner marketing look like?
In the future, the focus will no longer be on advertising media/creatives alone, but on SKU level. The SKU is a code with which each product is precisely recorded and can be excellently located or traced, as it has a unique identification. This allows more accurate information about each individual creative to be captured. It will no longer count whether or not a creative was seen. Instead, compensation will be differentiated according to who, where, and on which device the ad was displayed.
Let’s take, for example, an online bank. In the future, customers will probably implement 80% (estimated) of their processes via an app. The bank would pay more for app customers from Berlin or a similar major city than for app customers from more rural regions. Seem unfair? Well, not so much, if you have the data to back it up. Customers from large cities are often modern individuals who pay for the majority of purchases via mobile app, providing the bank with more data and therefore the advertiser with a higher commission.
More excitingly, in the future, thanks to SKU, it will be possible to make predictions on sales and Margins, such as when certain products will run best. This is enormously important for data- driven marketing and sales management. As the market becomes increasingly saturated and is served by many different brands in nearly every sector, brands are using an increasing variety of ways to connect, influence, transact, and engage customers.
Expanding partner marketing and collaborating with other brands in the form of an ecosystem could help with this. Ingenious Technologies was identified by Forrester as such an ecosystem that will have a major impact on partner marketing in the future.
Ready to scale up your business?
Ingenious Technologies AG is a Berlin-based marketing technology provider that helps global brands optimise their partner marketing for more revenue. Through its SaaS-based Partner Marketing Platform, brands are enabled to directly manage their partners and accurately measure and analyse their performance. This unique combination is enhanced by first-party tracking and white-labeling capabilities. If you are ready to scale up your business or want further information on how your business can benefit from the Partner Ecosystem, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.