What is B2B Partner Marketing (and Is It Really Right for Your Business)?

What is B2B Partner Marketing

Partner marketing (sometimes also referred to as partnership marketing) is everywhere. Companies of all shapes and sizes are working together to achieve their mutual marketing goals. But what is it really? How does it work? And how does it translate to the B2B space?

As we started reviewing and refreshing some of our own partner marketing content, we realized that, while everyone is talking about partner marketing, few people are explaining what it is and how it works. So we’re going back to basics. If you’ve got questions about what partner marketing is, why (or if) it’s worthwhile, and if B2B partner marketing makes sense for your business, this is the post for you.

What is Partner Marketing?

Partner marketing is an arrangement between two businesses (or a business and an opinion leader, influencer, or other individual) where both work together to help the other achieve their marketing objectives.

(Really, it’s a somewhat overused term that means one business or person is helping another sell their products or services, and vice versa.)

What is B2B Partner Marketing

Different Types of Partner Marketing

Partner marketing comes in a wide variety of forms. Some of these are more relevant than others to B2B marketing strategy, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Affiliate (or Ambassador) Marketing

Affiliate marketing is when a partner sends customers to your website. Most people will recognize this strategy from blog posts and social media, where the content creator will mention a specific product or service and link to the site of the company selling it. The company selling gets more traffic, and the promoter generally gets compensation in the form of financial payment or free products.

B2B Affiliate Marketing Examples:

Channel Marketing

Channel marketing is where one business sells another’s product or service under the original branding. The channel partner gains the business of consumers looking to purchase that brand, and the brand gains access to the channel partner’s market.

Channel Marketing Examples:

Co-Marketing or Co-Branding

Co-marketing or co-branded marketing is when partners team in a mutually beneficial marketing arrangement that helps both achieve their engagement, sales, or revenue goals. This type of partnership often includes collaboration on marketing assets that feature the branding and expertise of all partners.

Co-Marketing Examples:

Co-Marketing or Co-Branding

Partner Enablement

This term is often used interchangeably with partner marketing. While related, they are actually two separate concepts. Partner enablement is when one business provides another with training or resources to effectively resell its products.

Partner Enablement Examples:

Reselling (aka Value-Added Resellers)

While this sounds like channel marketing, it isn’t. Resellers purchase a company’s products and change them slightly to sell under their own brand. (This is where white labelling and partner enablement come in.)

Value-Added Reseller Examples:

The Benefits of B2B Partner Marketing

Partner marketing is an essential tool in the B2B marketer’s arsenal. While methods like affiliate marketing are much more common in the B2C space, B2B organizations can benefit in a variety of ways from working with channel partners, value-added resellers, or ecosystem partners.

Get Help from the B2B Partner Marketing Experts

B2B partner marketing can help you grow your business, increase the ROI of your marketing budget, and maintain a competitive edge in your industry. At TPM, we’ve worked with B2B technology companies of all shapes and sizes to develop a partner marketing strategy, build partner portals, and create co-branded content that delivers results for our clients and their marketing partners. Let us help you kickstart your partner marketing efforts — contact us today.

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