For many brands, partnership marketing has provided an answer to all kinds of searching questions in recent months, as influencer, affiliate, mobile and B2B programmes have enabled more efficient, more profitable ways of working in a pandemic and a changing marketing landscape.
All the same, partnership marketing remains an emerging, fast-evolving space, not a fixed and finalised set of processes. There is a lot to learn, and a lot more coming down the road, and that is why the explosion of the partnership economy has inevitably led to an appetite for partnership-driven events.
Responding to the call is Impact’s Partnerships Experience 2021, a first-of-its-kind virtual partnership conference series across four weeks, dedicated to sharing thought leadership and best practice for players in the burgeoning partnerships ecosystem.
Taking the form of a two-hour session every Thursday (EMEA and APAC) and every Wednesday (US) throughout the remainder of June, PX 2021 aims to arm attendees with the resources and connections to create productive partnerships, examining issues from trust to transparency, commerce to authenticity, and from content monetization to partnership growth guides for SME.
“This year is already shaping up to be a year of partnerships, for all sorts of reasons,” says Impact’s EMEA MD, Florian Gramshammer. “Clearly people and brands all over the world have been driven into new habits by the events of 2020, but there is also a strong sense that conventional advertising has worn out its welcome and that data-driven targeting strategies are wearing thin.
“Partnerships really represent a human-focused, recommendation-driven alternative to those old ways of doing things, coupled with the advantages of cutting-edge technology, and there is an opportunity here to show people exactly how.”
The benefits of partnership marketing have never been as evident as they are now. The influencer market alone is projected to reach $15bn by 2022, and the most mature clients already use partnerships to drive more than 28% of their total company revenue.
“Partnership marketing channels, and particularly affiliates, have really helped us to show a human face and connect with people on a level that is appropriate to what has been going on in the world over the past year,” says Gramshammer. “Like a lot of marketing disciplines, the basics are relatively easily mastered, given the right technology platform, but then there are levels of integration and sophistication that lie beyond that, and we’re always keen to find out more about what’s possible.”
Just as partnership marketing provides an umbrella for a whole family of channels, the returns are also numerous. In a recent survey of more than 400 partnership professionals, 55% judged increased revenue to be among the top benefits of partnerships, followed by increased brand awareness (50%), improved customer retention (42%), higher market share (37%) and enhanced conversion rates (35%).
“Maturity is a word you hear a lot,” says Alex Springer, Regional Vice President EMEA – Sales and Solutions Architects at Impact.
“Based on our experiences, we certainly get better results the more established our relationships become. What we have learned is that this isn’t just an alternative to conventional advertising but a completely new way of looking at how we grow our business, driving efficiencies and revenue, but also increasing profitability and a lot of other things.”
Alongside speakers from a long list of brands and media companies, Impact is also offering original, on-demand content, in which leading brands will relate their own success stories and share their methods.
“One thing I have found about partnership marketing is that there seems to be a real willingness among brands to share knowledge,” says Springer. “What’s interesting is that partnership marketing builds communities around your brand – of partners, influencers, other sympathetic brands and obviously consumers – and I think that makes it an unusually rich area for experiences, just because it extends that spirit of collaboration. We’re really looking forward to seeing what other brands have managed to build and letting that feed into our own plans.”