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Event partnerships are one of the most effective marketing tactics for businesses wanting to generate new leads or provide their customers with premium content. When it comes to marketing, event partnerships give you the opportunity to expand your audience, gain new customers, and work in mutual benefit with other businesses.
In this guide, we’re going to walk you through the basics of creating partnership marketing agreements so you can ensure both businesses walk away happy and with a pocketful of new leads.
Learn how to build a marketing partnership strategy to drive leads.
Event partnership marketing involves the creation of premium content with the goal of generating leads for the partner, specifically regarding gated content. This type of marketing partnership can take the form of a webinar, ebook, or anything gated, but this guide will focus on online events.
For example, if a marketing agency wants more customers in the technology sector, they may seek to host an event in partnership with a popular IT provider. Each business will promote the event, usually using a dedicated landing page along with their email list and social media accounts.
Every lead, or individual who enters contact information on the form gating the landing page, can then be shared with both marketing partners.
An event partnership is different from an event sponsor in that sponsorship simply means that a business has contributed funds to an event. A partnership, however, is a shared investment in and responsibility for the event and the surrounding marketing.
For example, in a sponsorship, a brand may appear on a slide listing all sponsors. In a partnership, both brands usually promote the event on their own social media accounts, share the profits (leads, in this case), and push the landing page to current clients.
This means that event partnerships can be riskier than sponsorships because you are depending on the partner to bring something besides money to the table. Make sure to think hard about the partnership you’re entering before it’s set in stone.
Learn how to build a marketing partnership strategy to drive leads.
You don’t want to dive into an event partnership without first doing some preliminary work. Here are some questions to ask.
Just like a job interview, you should consider what it would mean to work closely with a potential event partner. Think about whether the partner is reliable with deadlines, important documents and files, and upholding outstanding quality. This will all come up in an event partnership.
It’s best to work with a partner that you have seen organize events with success and consistency. Knowing your partner for a year or more is recommended. That way, you can assess whether the partnership is worthwhile.
The most important part of event partnership marketing is that last word: marketing. The partnership between your business and your partner should both make sense to the consumer and sit well with you as the business owner.
This is a question of your own values, but it’s also critical to the success of the partnership. If your partnership is incongruent, the event will likely produce fewer leads and make it harder to create genuine premium content.
Along the same lines, consider whether this event will be beneficial for both parties. The purpose of event partnership marketing is so that both partners can generate leads from the premium content offered by the event. If those leads are not valuable to one partner, or if the partners are competitors, the partnership is moot.
An event partnership that benefits both parties will provide something each partner can’t generate on their own.
Mutually beneficial event partnerships will:
Before you enter any partnership, it’s important to take a look at how that potential partner performs. For example, if you are seeking new leads for your business, you will want to partner with a business that has a strong following on social media or a vast email list.
If you wish to have access to the key statistics and metrics surrounding the marketing of the event, it’s important to hammer this out before you enter your partnership agreement.
Both companies should meet extensively to discuss the objectives of this event partnership. Both brands should have a strong understanding of the other’s target audience for the event, the goals of the event, and what they hope to achieve from the partnership itself.
For example, deciding on a mutual target audience and topic for your event is great, but it’s important to also know why they chose you as their event partner and vice versa. This will help you decide if you are a good match for an event and what objectives you should seek to achieve during the project.
Whether you’re creating marketing content, hosting the event, or performing duties somewhere between, it’s important to establish your partner’s marketing objectives before you begin.
Determine what your partner’s intentions are regarding when and how they’ll market the event, and the click-through rates they hope to achieve. It’s important here to also consider whether those working within the partnership will have access to each other’s marketing metrics.
The creatives and visionaries on a team can make plans all day — but it’s up to the stakeholders to decide whether an event partnership will proceed.
Whether you’re pitching to the organizer of an existing event or pitching an event to a potential partner, make sure to answer these key questions with the decision-maker in mind as your audience.
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As two businesses who certainly run things differently, it’s best to make it clear in your pitch that you are both aware of this and you have devised a plan to deal with it. Once you have jointly set goals for the number of leads or conversions, come up with a list of key performance indicators that can be applied to the partnership marketing itself.
Here are some KPIs to pitch for an event partnership before, during, and after the event:
In your pitch, make it clear to the decision-maker that this partnership will benefit both businesses long after the event concludes. Detail any potential future partnerships that relate to the content, like a chance to repurpose the content on their own site (blog posts, ebooks, etc).
Consider any other events that would work well for this partnership and open the door to these possibilities to help the recipient of your pitch see just how beneficial this partnership will be.
Devise a contract that details your business’s role in the partnership, including what you will provide, when, and the course of action for any issues that arise. Be sure to give your partner the opportunity to work on this contract, as well, so the signed document reflects the needs and requirements of each party.
Now, let’s talk specifically about what you should write in your event partnership agreement.
Create an overview of your entire partnership agreement. This will serve as a reference for the duration of the project, so make sure to go through it with a fine-toothed comb.
Project details include, but are not limited to:
Next, reiterate the timeline and key dates for the promotion of this event. Identify when marketing should begin and any important deliverables that need to be in hand before the promotion of the event or before the event itself.
Include contingency plans for any disruptions of this timeline, for example:
Even if you think your event partnership is simple, include a data privacy section so that no important security questions are left unanswered. This includes how data, like the leads generated by the event, will be shared between partners and how customers will be informed of this.
For instance, this section must state that the contacts signing up for the event will be made aware their details may be shared with the partner for marketing purposes. If the partner will host the content on their site and share any leads generated, explain that the same rule applies.
State that anyone who opts out of sharing their information will not be shared with the partner, nor will they be used by partners for commercial and promotional purposes. Note that valid leads must provide an email address and consent to details being shared with the partner.
Event partnerships are a unique marketing strategy that connects you to an audience you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Do they require an investment of time and effort to make sure everything goes smoothly? Of course.
But the investment is worth it. With exposure to a new audience also comes the prospect of new leads, conversions, and ultimately, customers.