Why brand partnerships should be an integral part of your digital strategy


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Have you heard of digital marketing’s best kept secret, brand-to-brand partnerships?

A brand partnership is a mutually-beneficial relationship between non-competitive retailers. Their goals are to collectively engage new audiences, incentivize customer loyalty and increase sales. By aligning with complementary brands based on demographics or customer data, brand partnerships allow you to target niche consumers through smart campaigns. Old marketing techniques used to be hit-or-miss, but new marketing strategies like these target so effectively you are more likely to reach the right people at the right time with your message.

While there are many ways to facilitate a successful brand partnership, leading retailers like Myprotein and Boohoo are now using affiliate marketing to enable these opportunities. Affiliate or partner marketing connects you with online businesses like influencers, media houses, discounting websites, third-party technologies and other ecommerce advertisers to promote your products to their engaged audiences. This builds brand awareness and helps you reach new customers for more sales and revenue. And affiliate marketing is low risk as it operates using a pay-for-performance model. That means you only pay for results.

Historically, affiliate has been considered a one-dimensional traffic generator that favors incentive-based partners like cashback and coupon. But today we’ve witnessed a massive influx of new partners entering the channel. Now retailers can use partner marketing to connect with new customers in innovative ways – brand partnerships included.

So how does a brand partnership campaign work?

It requires two main players:

  1. The promoter brand, who uses their existing customer base for marketing collaborations, and
  2. The promoted brand, who makes an offer available to that audience.

Simply put, brand partnerships are a strategy where one ecommerce retailer (the promoter brand) earns a commission for generating sales for another ecommerce retailer (the promoted brand).

To maximize brand partnership campaigns, the promoted brand should offer an exclusive discount. In return, the promoter will provide access to untapped yet engaged potential customers. An enticing exclusive will help capture attention, drive traffic to the promoted brand’s website and create conversions.

Brand partnerships are a win-win for both retailers, as each gains more exposure, and using affiliate marketing offers a way to drive revenue and reach a wider audience with little investment risk.

Top brand partnership tactics to consider

1. Offer customers a free gift or service at the point of purchase

Gift with purchase (GWP) is a great way to enhance your customers’ own shopping experience. At the point of purchase, you (as the promoter brand) suggest a third-party offer from complementary retailers (the promoted brands). In most cases, the customer adds the free gift to their cart ahead of completing an order. You then send an uninterrupted order confirmation before triggering an additional send with gift redemption instructions.

Brands can also increase their reporting visibility with the inclusion of an affiliate tracking link, which is the very foundation of a performance marketing campaign. The tracking link allows both the promoter and the promoted brand to measure the number of redemptions and the conversion rate generated from the campaign in real time. The tracking link also enables an automated commission payment for each successful referral to the promoted brand partner, generating inbound revenue for the promoter brand.

This approach is a no-brainer. Not only do you enhance your customer experience by providing a value-added reward,

The partnership between Myprotein and SimplyCook is a great example of where this method was successful. Myprotein offered customers a free recipe box from SimplyCook on its checkout page, ultimately referring over 56,000 new customers to SimplyCook. Not only was this a win from a numbers perspective, but the partnership with SimplyCook demonstrated Myprotein understood its customers and tailored a collaborative solution answering their needs, increasing satisfaction and loyalty.

2. Adopt a customer reward platform to incentivize customer loyalty

The emergence of customer reward programs within partner marketing also helps brands incentivize loyalty and retention with existing customers. Credit card and banking providers have long provided exclusive third-party rewards as a means of engaging their customers and offering additional value. More recently, we have seen traditional retailers adopt a customer reward program (again, as the promoter brand) to provide an added loyalty incentive (from the promoted brands) to their existing customer base

One example is HelloFresh partnering with numerous brands through its affiliate program. Two great things happen here. Hello Fresh rewards its customers for their loyalty, and at the same time earns a commission for driving sales for these partner brands.

Another successful showcase of a brand offering customer rewards is UK Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club. The football (or soccer) club has been able to offer subscribed fans a variety of third-party retailer offers through its fan account page and targeted CRM sends, all managed and tracked via an affiliate program. Wolverhampton has aligned its brand values with retailers like Travelodge, Beerwulf and BT Sports to offer fans discounts on things they are genuinely interested in from complementary retailers, and generate additional revenue for itself from any sales driven in the process.

Now is the time to make brand partnerships an integral part of your digital strategy

The ability to combine reporting transparency and monetized rewards has seen retailers of all sizes shift their brand partnership efforts into the affiliate channel.

Don’t wait another minute to get started with brand partnerships. Make them a part of your digital strategy today.


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