Creating partner eco systems – an effective marketing approach for vendors and partners when times get tough

A client recently said something that really struck a chord with me and felt very apt in these challenging times…

“We need to learn how to co-exist with other partners rather than compete.”

Vendors and partners coming together with complimentary competitors to build marketing communities, can enhance and amplify marketing strategies and present a united ‘we’re all in it together’ front. This strategy can gain cut-through and amplification in a noisy market.

But how do you do that? Here are our suggested 3 steps to make it happen…

1. Take a helicopter view

Vendors – you play an important role in your partners horizontal and vertical offerings and they are then positioned to sit sympathetically in the market. Think about your competitors and who you could co-exist with? Map out how your collective ingredients could resonate with different customer segments? What is the high-level offer?

Partners – look at the vendors in your portfolio. Identify their unique areas of value and identify how they could co-exist? Think about your customers and their needs and overlay your vendor co-habiting community. You will see different co-habiting mixes of offers but by putting your customers’ needs first everyone can have a piece of the pie.

2. Create distinct stories for different groups of customers

The next step is to create stories for your customer segments.

Vendors – identify the common customer problems that you could solve together. Develop the stories that will embellish your direct marketing strategies.

Partners – map out how your vendor eco system can extend your current marketing strategy within customer segments. Develop robust insightful stories and include proof points presenting how your joint offer can overcome the customers challenges.

3. Take the story to the customer together

Look at your collective content. Examine how it could be purposed or spun to resonate with your customer segments. Work together to build a joint activity plan that not only targets customers’ needs but also fulfils each partner’s/vendor’s objective. Ensure the tactics in the plan reflect how your customers like to consume content and put it in places that they go throughout the customer journey so that it has maximum impact.

Digital is the main option for marketing right now, so ensure that your activity plan utilises all digital marketing tools that are available. Ad words and SEO are ideal for attracting attention; case studies and opinion pieces are perfect for generating interaction; webinars and online demonstrations are ideal tools for conversion; and online forums aid ongoing engagement.

By following these steps, you will be well on your way to maximising your partner marketing in the “new normal”.

We would be happy to explore possibilities with you. If you would like a no obligation chat, email jo@coterie.global or call 0113 292 0945.

Jo Dunkley, Director