You probably know that already; we have discussed it in many articles. But a fundamental question remains. How can we scale partnerships?
Well, there is a success formula. It requires following a set of rules with discipline and keeping the proper mindset. Sure, there's also a part of luck, but you can provoke it. It's hard work, but it pays off. We won't discuss the luck part here. Instead, we will present the ten rules one needs to follow to drive partnerships at scale.
We have researched numerous successful collaborations and noticed what they have in common. We are pleased to report and present the formula. It's on you to apply it conscientiously!
Rule 1: Good partners complement each other.
The very first step is to find partners that are a good match. A good match complements you. That means you must be attentive and find a partner in your market with:
- Parallel target audience
- Complementary expertise
- Same values and goals
- Good reputation
It may sound obvious, but it's not an easy thing to achieve.
It should be no surprise that matchmaking is a multi-billion-dollar industry. From personal to business, we often need help to find the right partners.
It requires a profound understanding of what makes a strong match, a large qualified database, a strong network, and many other qualities. That's precisely why the first thing we did was create a cutting-edge matching engine using state-of-the-art technology!
Rule 2: A joint campaign requires a shared vision.
Consider the co-acquisition campaign as a new business entity. Define the campaign's vision. Do it before investing lots of time and resources. Having the right partner does not guarantee alignment in intention and vision.
This preliminary work will serve both partners as an anchor to which they can always return. Especially as you work on the details, having a well-defined shared vision is helpful. It will probably evolve, but that should not stop you from regularly checking you are on the same page.
Rule 3: Define clear goals.
Defining goals is important because they show clear direction and are a quantifiable measure of success. So to establish goals, you must first translate your vision into numbers.
What does success look like for you, your partner, and the partnership? Are you aiming to acquire a thousand new customers from the campaign? Is it a 5% growth in revenue? Whatever it is, make sure you can measure it.
Success is paved with goals. You need to know where you’re going to get there. Creating goals is like making an itinerary for a trip. You must have a destination; otherwise, you won't go far. The goals need to be precise. If they're too generic, it won't work. They need to be ambitious yet achievable. You want to challenge yourself without setting up for failure.
Divide them into digestible bites. It's better to break down a large goal into several attainable ones. The reward of achieving goals will motivate you!
Rule 4: Create value for all parties.
Remember that the more value you bring to your customer, the more successful you will be. Only partnerships that create value will remain in the long run.
In an old interview, Steve Jobs talks about the quality of products. He explains that it is useless to market the quality of a product because it's an experience. He tells the journalist that the Japanese never advertise the quality of their product, yet when you ask consumers which products have the best quality, they'll say Japanese products. The experience of the product dictates the perception of value, not the marketing.
The same goes for partnerships. A great collaboration brings value to the customers. So as you create your co-acquisition campaign, ask yourself what customers are getting from it. Are you making a partnership only for PR or marketing, or are you truly bringing something special to customers?
If you truly care to bring value to your customers, they will feel it. Everything else will fall into place and support that mission.
Rule 5: Good business decisions are data-driven.
You want to establish clear KPIs to measure the campaign's success. Especially as you work with someone else, you want an objective narrative.
The most relevant KPIs you want to monitor are CAC and LTV. These two numbers will tell you whether the campaign makes sense financially and is scalable.
If you monitor and record your CAC/ LTV for each acquisition and co-acquisition campaign, you will soon have a clear view of what works and does not! This knowledge is practical—a must-have for scaling growth.
Rule 6: Communication is key.
Even the best partners will have some differences. Whether it's the culture, the tools used to communicate internally, reporting, or the frequency of meetings. Each has developed specific work habits. Make sure the communication is flowing. Don't assume, ask, and validate. Otherwise, the differences can become obstacles and misunderstandings instead of a source of enrichment.
It helps to clarify the roles and responsibilities in the organization you work with. It will save time to establish communication guidelines and processes. Who's the point of contact, which channel are you using etc.?
Stay flexible and adapt to a different culture. It's pushing you out of the comfort of your working habits. It's challenging, but it brings freshness and growth.
Remember, even if you have a clear shared vision, goals, and KPIs established, it's not enough. You must emphasize the need for communication methods and guidelines.
Rule 7: No one's ever bought something they didn't know existed.
Talk about your collaboration, and tell people what it is about. The whole point of creating co-acquisition campaigns and partnerships is so you can reach a larger amount of qualified leads. Each partner has an established, trusted relationship with their audience. That means they're ready to listen. Leverage that opportunity and share your message using all the formats and platforms relevant to your business.
The importance of marketing your joint campaigns is crucial. Be clear and precise, and explain the value you bring. Media loves collaborations; it gives consumers something exciting to discuss. Make your audience feel unique. Use this opportunity to shine and broadcast your offerings. Don't be shy. Your audience wants to hear about it.
So it's important to plan with your partner which channels to use for marketing, emails, social media, videos, or articles. A strong marketing strategy is crucial for the success of your campaign. There's a clear competitive advantage to a partnership. Build on it and create impactful cross-marketing material.
Rule 8: Perfection is a process, iterate.
The definition of goals and KPIs allows you to monitor the progress of your campaign. Monitoring means you can course correct; you can improve on the go. For that, you need to implement a feedback mechanism. Divide your campaign into smaller bits that you can incrementally test and perfect.
You will inevitably make mistakes with wrong assumptions or predictions at the beginning. That's just how it works. To scale, you want to learn fast and improve fast. It is a widespread strategy in Silicon Valley, and it works. It has been proven over and over again by countless companies.
So, for example, you are working on a co-acquisition campaign, and you and your partner aim to reach out to more than 5,000 customers with a new offer. Instead of launching directly to all your contacts, select a group of 50 and build your campaign for them.
Measure the success based on your KPIs and goals for these 50 customers. Get their feedback. What did not work? What did work? How can you improve? Implement the feedback and try again; this time, you can increase your customer base slightly. Perhaps 100. Repeat this process until you're successful. Only then launch to everyone. Facebook (Meta) does that all the time. It is known for launching new features in New Zealand before deploying them to the rest of its market.
It's the best way to grow; it allows you to make mistakes and improve without hurting your business. It also mitigates potential losses. Really, well-executed iteration will lead you to the perfect product-to-market fit!
Rule 9: Use appropriate tools.
You need tools to support your plan and execute your activities. Having the right tools and systems in place is crucial. They must be adaptable, scalable, and provide you with the functionalities your joint campaign requires. To scale, you must be able to monitor, collect and analyze data, implement all the processes, communicate, market, etc. You can't design a phone campaign if you don't have phones.
So make sure the tools you use for your shared campaign have all the functionalities you need. Both partners need access to them and feel comfortable using them.
At Together.do, we are working hard to build the best tools to streamline your whole co-acquisition process, from partner discovery to campaigns execution. Click here to create a free account and start create meaningful partnerships.
Rule 10: Cultivate a proper mindset.
The mindset and the attitude are the fuel that makes everything possible. All the processes and the intentions discussed above won't be efficient if the motivation to create partnerships isn't present. Many great ideas or potential successful collaborations never happen because the desire disappears.
It is hard work to create success, and the mindset is an essential piece of it. Like a plant that needs water, your partnership needs a constant flow of the right attitude and mindset to flourish and grow. Treat your co—acquisition campaign like a seed and make it become a mighty tree!
Bonus: Like Phil Knight, Nike's founder, keep the ten rules on a board by your desk.
Ben Affleck produced a wonderful movie called "Air" earlier this year. Do you want a fun way to get inspired and excited about the power of partnerships? Watch that movie! You could even make it an interesting team-building activity for you and your partner!
The movie tells the story of one of the most successful partnerships in history: Nike and Michael Jordan. The Air Jordan brand generates billions in revenue and has been going strong for almost 40 years; it brought Nike to the position of leader, changed NBA partnerships, and much more.