With most millenials no longer trusting traditional marketing, are partnerships the new way forward? Alex Springer, Director, Sales and Solutions EMEA, at Impact looks at why businesses are moving away from traditional advertising, and looking to partnerships to help reach new audiences and result in customers – without breaking consumer confidence.
At this time of year, brands are internalising how they can grow in a changing and challenging market. Affiliate managers, partnership development teams, traditional business development executives, and cross-channel marketers are all working to find ways to fuel growth — and very few of these ideas are solely reliant on traditional advertising. Instead these innovative companies and individuals are turning to partnerships — forming alliances with businesses and individuals that have a trusted, first-party relationship with the customer.
First, a little context on what people think about advertising
Before we take a look at what these partnerships look like and how they are accomplished, let’s get some context. 84% of millennials claim that they do not trust traditional advertising. When only 16% of your most valuable audience is listening, you’re doing something wrong. It’s no wonder that the message isn’t getting through — so-called ‘targeted’ and personalised advertising has become so invasive that our web browsers offer an entire reader mode dedicated to stripping out everything that isn’t in plain text.
It is time to break through the barriers to consumer trust and attention
Savvy businesses have figured out how to reach their customers without breaking their confidence — and it is through partnerships. Sales and marketing, having been the primary messaging and customer acquisition channels in the past, are, quite simply, just not getting the job done anymore. Partnerships that leverage modern technology, creative connections and global reach have arisen as an alternative way to connect with the customer and have delivered results.
According to Forrester, in a recent study commissioned by Impact, partnerships are the next major category for enterprise growth. Companies with mature partnership programs see their rate of revenue expansion double and these partnerships drive, on average, 28% of revenue — compare that to the 18% companies typically get from paid search, and the power of partnerships as a growth channel becomes apparent.
Stop limiting growth
It is vital for brands to stop thinking of partnerships as secondary to marketing or sales. Partnerships cross categories and connect all types of businesses and individuals — you’d have a difficult time finding an individual who has not invited these partners into their lives. We trust these partners for recommendations on music and film, where to go on holiday, what devices we purchase, how to raise our children, and more. Because of this trust, we listen to their messages. And the best partnerships keep this trust while connecting customers to their next trusted brand.
Partnerships as a concept are not new — what is new is that with modern automation, tracking, and contracting technologies, partnerships have become truly scalable and can be a springboard for growth.
Sharing is caring with partnerships
Well-crafted, strategic partnerships result in a happy, shared new customer. These partnerships can offer brands an audience that converts at a high rate with typically a low cost per acquisition — that’s what happens when the right message is delivered at exactly the right time. And as an added bonus, partnerships often turn business challenges into advantages.
But these results don’t just come overnight. There are some important questions that need to be answered for a partnership channel to deliver true value, and brands need to ask themselves:
● What is the true incremental value of these partnerships?
● Do these partnerships drive me new customers? Existing ones? Re-engage disengaged ones?
● How do I correctly align partner compensation with value?
● Where do these partnerships interact with my sales and marketing channels?
● How do I automate in order to scale?
By answering these questions, it will help to answer the most important question — how do I build profitable partnerships?
Leveraging strategic partnerships has numerous positive effects for brands. First, they bring together previously scattered and siloed teams from across the organisation into a single partnership team. Secondly, the sales and marketing focused concepts, skills, and strategies — ABMS, territories, quotas, deal construction, negotiation — can all be trained and utilised in these teams – but targeted towards partners. This streamlines skill sets and maximises efficiencies within the business.
By investing in the technologies that contract, communicate and measure partnerships accurately, a brand can achieve growth at scale and provide a much-needed, trusted relationship with their customers.
By Alex Springer
Director, Sales and Solutions Architect
About the author
Alex Springer leads the Sales and Solutions Architects teams for Impact and is a passionate advocate of the partnership economy. He works with brands to implement advanced tracking and crediting and increase return on ad spend realised through partnerships. He has worked in the affiliate and marketing tech industry as a Solutions Architect, Product Specialist and Sales Director, growing Impact’s business in the US and Europe. Alex found his way into the performance industry from a background in cloud and on-premise infrastructure consulting, holding certifications in AWS solutions architecture and systems administration.