Partner marketing can be one of the most powerful and efficient business channels when the relationships between brands and their partners are strong. But too often, these relationships are neglected, misunderstood, or poorly managed.
HERE ARE SEVEN KEY STRATEGIES TO HELP HELP YOU HAVE BETTER AND MORE LUCRATIVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH PARTNERS
1. ALIGN AND DEFINE
Some partner programs launch without clearly communicating advertiser objectives to partners. Sounds crazy, but it is all too common. Clearly explaining success criteria to your partners minimizes misunderstandings that could be catastrophic to potentially successful partnerships.
Before you field a program, ask yourself:
- What is our true objective for the partner program?
- Are our true goals reflected in our deal structure?
- Have we told our partners what we want and how we will measure success?
2. PAY WELL AND ON-TIME
Partners promote your goods because of the financial rewards to them. Savvy advertisers know that they must offer strong financial incentives to spark partner interest. They need to make offers that are at least as lucrative as those from competitors.
Then there’s the timing of payments. The time lag from your payment authorization to the payment received by your partners can vary between systems. To keep your partners happy, understand the payment policies of your network and platform and ensure that your partners get paid in a timely manner.
3. CONSTANTLY REASSESS THE COMPENSATION MODEL
Successful partnerships are about having great revenue agreements that satisfy advertiser and partners alike. Most companies engage in some initial research and modeling to create their commission and bounty programs. But what worked last year may not be the right thing for today.
Brands must constantly assess how well their partners are doing with an existing compensation structure. They must also stay abreast of new programs and competitive program changes that may make their partner programs more or less appealing. By staying vigilant, you can ensure that partners continue to back your program and drive new sales.
4. THINK REAL-TIME
Many partner marketers rely on weekly and monthly reports from their networks. While that means that program management is easier, it also means that they may learn about trends and developments quite late.
The best time to respond to positive or negative performance changes is in real-time, right when they are happening. Time is money. That’s why Partnerize focuses on providing all data and insights in real-time. We are also constantly creating innovations that further speed insights for our clients. For example, our company is now using AI to identify data anomalies and send immediate alerts to clients and their partners. Changes in performance that are greater than the expected “data noise” we see in all marketing programs are quickly brought to everyone’s attention.
Such alerts can help brands quickly recognize tagging errors, see and respond to dramatic changes in sales performance, and communicate with partners to get changes eliminated quickly.
5. WORK HARD TO STAY TOP OF MIND
The best partners are constantly being solicited to join new partnership programs. Often, partners that accept a new program have only so much real estate and attention to devote. So, they deemphasize or cut programs that aren’t growing or innovating.
By cultivating direct personal relationships with your largest partners, and using technology to help you communicate with the “long-tail” partners, you can keep interest in your programs strong. Further, generate excitement and interest by creating special promotions, power periods, custom programs, and other merchandising programs that will rekindle partner investment and passion.
6. PUT YOUR DATA TO WORK
More and more advertisers have learned that by analyzing and sharing some of their program data with their largest partners, they identify actionable insights to improve results. Perhaps the best example of this is when travel brands share meta data from consumer searches with partners so that these companies can deliver dynamic creative that drives higher response rates. For example, a user who has searched for flights to Hawaii is more likely to respond to Hawaii-specific hotel offers than general category offers.
7. KEEP YOUR PARTNERS CLOSE...
AND YOUR BEST PARTNERS CLOSER
Partner marketing is a relationship-driven business. Companies get behind the people and programs they know and trust best. Find ways to get feedback from all partners, so you can identify issues and opportunities that can help drive future growth. Survey your partners and respond to their challenges.
And your largest partners warrant direct, personal attention to identify new opportunities and help them get maximum sales for you. Listen to the needs, respond to issues quickly, and you will find that your sales can continue to climb.