The Forrester study ‘Invest In Partnerships To Drive Growth And Competitive Advantage’ surveyed 454 decision makers and practitioners from North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. This found that over half of companies (52%) generate more than 20% of revenue from existing partnerships.
And 62% said they believe introducing technology to optimise partnership management will be a high priority or critical to driving success over the next 12 months.
The study, commissioned by the partnership automation company Impact, also found that those companies with mature partnership programmes tend to grow overall revenue almost twice as fast as companies with less mature programmes. These companies are also up to five times more likely to exceed expectations on a range of other business metrics, such as stock price and bottom-line profits, researchers said.
Partnership programmes are defined as the management and optimisation of a wide range of business relationships, including traditional affiliates, but also influencers, B2B partners, premium publishers, and native software integrations.
These partners, the study finds, acts like an indirect salesforce, “leveraging existing brand equity with their audience to introduce, influence, or provide some type of significant and measurable impact on the consumer journey toward purchasing a product or service from the business itself”.
Mature partnership programmes all shared a framework of four pillars: “people, process, technology and breadth.” And the most successful of these programmes had a group of people dedicated to collaborating across departments.
“Businesses have always found a way to work together and refer each other business,” said David A. Yovanno, CEO of Impact.
“But, as partnerships have evolved from informal to strategic, and traditional sales and marketing channels have become challenged, we’re at a tipping point in the partnership economy.”
This latest research underlines similar work showing how vital partnerships are for businesses. Research published last year by Kantar and WPP as part of their BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands 2018 report also stressed the need for businesses to drive partnerships. (Read more here in an exclusive report for WARC: Why partnerships are proving pivotal for long-term brand building.)
In particular, the BrandZ research stressed how co-branding can help raise awareness and generate new revenue streams, as well as increase brand resilience during times of market disruption.
Sourced from Impact; additional content by WARC staff