partnership marketing strategy

Why your brand needs a partnership marketing strategy

There are many ways brands can leverage a partnership marketing strategy to grow their customer base and their overall sales. Whether brands are working with influencers to gain an online following or partnering with companies like Shopkick to access the most innovative mobile shopping capabilities, these programs provide many opportunities. Brands and their partners can enjoy scalable, far-reaching marketing campaigns that drive consumers to buy in the store and online.

The most effective marketing strategies for CPG brands tend to center on mobile devices, as brands must be able to reach traveling consumers. Luckily, the digital space offers a wide variety of options for brands interested in partnership marketing. However, not all partnerships are equal. Brands must be aware of both the pros and cons of common partnership marketing strategies before implementing any new program to gain the best results.

How a Partnership Marketing Strategy Benefits Brands

When brands work with companies, individuals, or even other brands, they can take advantage of the many opportunities they may not have been afforded otherwise. A strategic marketing partnership is a win-win for both parties, and can offer:

  • Exposure to new audiences: Brands can reach out to individuals who may not be familiar with their products or may be loyal to other brands.
  • Cost-effectiveness: In any partnership, both parties take on a portion of the cost which can reduce expenses for all involved.
  • why you need a partnership marketing strategyExpanded resources: Brands can access new technology, content, and advertising opportunities they could not have otherwise.
  • Cross-selling opportunities: Some products naturally go together—like bandages and antibiotic ointment, for example—and branded cross-selling takes advantage of these pairings.

Of course, brands can only reap the benefits of a partnership marketing strategy with the right partners. While working with a reputable company is important, working with the right kind of marketing partners is just as crucial.

Choosing the Best Partnership Marketing Strategy

Brands have a vast array of options available to them when it comes to partner relationships. They may select high-profile, extensive campaigns, or leverage simpler agreements with well-known influencers. The most beneficial partnerships for brands can typically be broken down into four categories, with their accompanying pros and cons.

Pros Cons
  • They offer brands access to a highly engaged and impressionable pool of followers, which expands brand awareness.
  • They’re typically lower cost arrangements, making them ideal for challenger brands.
  • Brands can repurpose influencer content featuring their products, such as reviews, how-to videos, and other media.  
  • The number of followers influencers offer can be falsified, meaning brands receive less effective traffic.
  • Influencer relationships may not be considered genuine if the brand pays the influencer to promote them.
  • Internet trends change quickly and a very popular influencer today may not be as popular a few months or even weeks later.  
Retail: Brick and Mortar
  • In-store displays and strong shelf placement offers brands increased visibility in the moments before consumers make purchases.
  • Retailer-based rewards programs can encourage consumers to test out new products without the need to offer discounts.
  • In-store events and free samples can drive powerful awareness of new products.  
  • There is a finite amount of in-store advertising brands can access when working with retailer programs.
  • Retailer partnerships may be expensive as brands must provide displays and other materials, as well as negotiate for premium shelf space.
  • In-store competition is fierce, even with displays, as consumers may be drawn to discount or white label brands.
Retail: Online
  • Brands can make use of keywords, customer reviews, and other lower cost content to increase product visibility in digital spaces.
  • Online retailers frequently offer the opportunity to target ads based on user preferences, allowing brands to reach the most promising sales prospects.
  • Online retailers frequently roll out new technology—like image search programs and smart speaker sales platforms—which brands can use to stand out.
  • Pay-per-click and pay-per-impression campaigns can be expensive, primarily when brands target highly competitive keywords.
  • Online reputation management is critical as digital platforms typically allow consumers to post reviews, and some of those reviews may be scathing, which could deter other buyers.
  • Digital management of online sales platforms is an everyday job, as platforms may lose or gain popularity very quickly.  
Shopping Apps
  • Mobile apps incentivize consumers to seek out products in the store, which primes them for purchase.
  • Rewards delivered through these programs keep brands from being discount-dependent in the shopping aisle.
  • Shopping apps are scalable and cost-effective, making them ideal for supplementing a current in-store campaign.
  • Apps may have high download rates, but minimal active daily users. This can lead to false confidence in the app.
  • App programs may not be accessible on older phones—though this is becoming less of a problem with the prevalence of smartphones.
  • The reputation of the app provider must be vetted carefully to ensure programs are reliable and user information is secure.

Brands should do a thorough evaluation of any partner they consider before implementing any partnership marketing strategy. At Shopkick, we welcome marketing managers to contact us to discuss the effectiveness of our programs, as transparency is the key to a strong partner relationship.

Brands have many opportunities to leverage a partnership marketing strategy both online and in the shopping aisle.

Brands have many opportunities to leverage a partnership marketing strategy both online and in the shopping aisle. However, they should review all options to determine what’s best for their brand and the customers who are loyal to it. Through this, they can leverage partnership strategies to enhance the consumer experience and improve sales across multiple platforms.

Shopkick helps our partners leverage a shopping app-based partnership marketing strategy to improve sales in the shopping aisle. To see how we’ve managed this for program partners, see some of our success stories.

Image courtesy of alphaspirit



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Dima Volovik

EVP of Product and Engineering

Dima Volovik is the EVP of Product and Engineering at Trax Retail — Shopkick.

Dima Volovik is the accomplished product and engineering leader who led teams to deliver innovative and commercially successful e-commerce products, marketplaces, and enterprise solutions for Amazon, Comcast, Fandango, and Universal Music. Before joining Trax, Dima was the Director at Amazon, where he led product development and Engineering for Amazon Appstore and Amazon Prime Video, CTO at Fandango, and Paciolan, head of technology at Golf Channel/Golf Now, and Global VP of Direct to Consumer Technology at Universal Music Group. Dima’s expertise includes developing consumer products, marketplaces, and enterprise solutions.

Dima grew up in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he received his MS in Electrical Engineering from Azerbaijan Oil Academy, and he currently resides in Los Angeles, California, with his family.