Partnerships: A Marketing Opportunity

Marketing is a vast world.  For the purpose of this article, marketing is how we communicate what we do and build that message with others. marketing whiteThere are many different types of marketing and ways of reaching our customers:  in-person marketing, email marketing, paper marketing, social media and website marketing, etc.  One of the many ways we can market is by forming partnerships.  Partnerships are beneficial for both parties.  At the least, you reach a larger group of people.  They can lead to new opportunities.  They can save you time and money.

When partnering, there should be an element that make sense for you to work with one another.  For example, public libraries often partner with their local school districts.  This makes sense because they share customers and they can have common goals, such as literacy.  They can cross-market programs, services, and resources.

Can working together benefit my business or organization?

  • We all want to be connected to the communities we serve.  The more partners you have, the more you will be seen beyond your walls.
  • When you need to get information out about an important event, you will have a ready list of contacts to spread the word.
  • When opportunities arise, you won’t have to think about who to call upon.  You will have formed a relationship with your partners and can feel confident about who would be the best person to call upon to match the opportunity.
  • Save time and money. Perhaps you can share the cost of a program or split printing fees.  It can be as simple as – the more people involved, the quicker the word spreads.
  • Cross-generational programming requires money saving opportunities with a cause.  People listen more if your message comes with something that has meaning to them.  Throw in a coupon or a deal and you will get more attention.

How do you form the partnerships?

  • Informal conversations
    • Vet a business you might want to partner.
    • Find out more about your prospects. Have they had successful partnerships? With who?  What successful partnerships have you had?
    • How would they fit in to your mission?  How can you help one another?
    • How do they currently market?  What do they need help marketing?
    • What opportunities can you offer them?  What opportunities can they offer you?
    • Create an information connection to discover more about prospective partners before inviting them to a partnership opportunity.  Whenever possible, become a customer so you can connect to the business before suggesting a partnership.
    • Start the conversation by following them on social media and their email lists.  Like them on Facebook.  Follow them on Twitter and Instagram.  Do what you can to see what messages they are putting out there and how people react to them.
    • Seek them out at local events.  How do they present themselves? What are others saying about them? It’s a perfect time for introductions, to gather some of their literature, and to share your information.
  • Formal conversation
    • Once you have established bonds, invite key people to a marketing event.  Who are the most influential people in the business?
    • Also, invite the movers and shakers that will be diverse, spark energy, and be creative.
    • At the event, present community demographics.  When deciding who to reach as current customers and future customers, this data is good to have upfront as part of support for the partnership.
    • Show you can do your part. You will want to present a strong case for others to partner with you.  What do you bring to the table?
    • Lay out your expectations. You will want to have an idea of what you need from your partner.  Be clear.
    • Realize some partnerships are short-term or project-based, while other partnerships are long-term and on-going.
    • Form agreements.  You may or may not need a contract.  It will depend on what your partnership entails.  Either way, put expectations in writing.
  • Continued conversation
    • After you have some success, brainstorm your next great idea.
    • Set goals to reach more people, reach more demographics, and to continue to reach the same people again and again.
    • Who else have your partners created relationships with?  Can you join them or form a separate partnership?
    • Create annual events that offer opportunities to continue the journey and build a larger base of customers and of partners.
    • Communication is key in any relationship.  Keep it going.

~I’m here to help


One of my professors from DeVry had instilled in me that the best reason to network and partner is to share resources and not reinvent what has already been done.  Put your efforts to development and growth.  So, I’m always happy when I get an idea, start researching and developing it, that I’m not reinventing the wheel.  Here are some resources that support my message:
Enge, Eric.  May 26, 2015.  Using Partnerships to Accelerate Content Marketing & Link Building.  Search Engine Land.  Retrieved from:
Gordon, Kim T. 2015.  Cause Marketing Matters to Consumers.  Entrepreneur.  Retrieved from:
Sibley, Amanda. January 19, 2016.  What is Co-Marketing?  HubSpot.  Retrieved from:
Smith, Erin Geiger.  April 2015.  4 Tips for Great Marketing Partnerships. Inc.Retrieved from:


Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest pages for more ideas.