How to Determine if Your Partnership Marketing is Working

Too often, businesses stick with ineffective marketing tactics out of sheer habit. With the fast changing nature of retail and consumer behavior, it’s wise to reevaluate your brand’s marketing plan frequently. As we all know, what you measure, you can improve. 

Partnership marketing

Partnership marketing, also called partner marketing or co-marketing, involves collaborating with the retailers or dealers who sell your products to share costs and reach a wider audience. When successful, it lets you use your marketing budget efficiently. When you engage in partnership marketing, you need methods to measure its effectiveness. There are several ways to determine if your partnership marketing is working.

Set goals based on the benefits of partnership marketing

As you understand what partnership marketing can do for your brand, you can structure your goals around those benefits. These often include:

  • Reaching new audiences
  • Sharing content more widely
  • Maintaining brand consistency
  • Boosting traffic to your website
  • Boosting sales at your retailers’ locations

Ideally, when you launched your partnership marketing program you set measurable KPIs for each of these that you consider important. Each one can be measured in various different ways, depending on the tools available to you and the nature of your marketing strategy. Next, let’s look at some specific forms of measurement.

Social media performance

retailers share your organic or paid posts

One place you should expect to see the effects of your partnership marketing efforts is in your social media. If your retailers share your organic or paid posts with their own audiences, you’ll need a way to track their performance, as well as that of your own channels. Most social media automation platforms do not provide this information, so (unless you use ThumbStopper) you may need to collect it manually from your retailers.

Organic social media reach

Organic social media reach

Achieving strong organic reach becomes more challenging with each passing year, but it remains important. Relying on your retailers provides a big advantage for this metric. That’s because your brand probably has a large follower base — at least in the thousands. As follower count goes up, reach goes down. On the flipside, your retailers probably have much smaller follower bases, perhaps in the hundreds. They stand to reach a much greater percentage of those followers with any given post. An important measure of your partnership marketing program is how many users you reach in total, from your own pages and your retailers’.


How many users engage with your content by liking, commenting, or sharing, will depend on its quality and how well targeted it is to the audience. Again, your retailers may enjoy an advantage here. They tend to form stronger, more personal relationships with their customers in their local markets. These relationships can lead to greater social media engagement. 

Follower Counts

The number of users who follow your page holds less importance that many marketers once thought, but it’s still a quick, easy metric to track. As you share useful, engaging content, more potential customers follow your page or the pages of your retailers. 

Ad performance

Ad performance

Fortunately, paid social media automatically provides plenty of useful data to advertisers. Look at your clicks, cost-per-click, cost-per-conversion, and other metrics that you value as part of your strategy. Compare those results with activity on the part of your retailers. For example, did you see improved performance in a new geographic market after retailers there began sharing your content locally? 

Website traffic and behavior

Another place to look for the positive effects of your partnership marketing is on your brand website. You can watch for it in several ways.

Traffic sources

Look where your website traffic comes from, particularly your referral traffic. Track what percentage comes from your retailers’ websites or their social media pages. These results will tell you that a customer is researching your products, perhaps in anticipation of buying them from the retailer whose site they first visited.

Conversions, leads, and sales

In the case of partnership marketing, the goal is often to encourage customers to buy directly from a retailer or dealer. However, the cumulative effect of increased visibility for your brand may also lead to customers who wish to buy directly. Track how many new leads you get, and how many convert into sales. You might also track other types of conversions, such as subscriptions to your email list or requests for a product demo.

Local search rankings

Search engine rankings for your brand, products, and category are always important and always in flux. You likely already monitor how you rank in the major search engines for your desired keywords. By combining these keywords with local keywords, like the name of a neighborhood or city, or with the names of your retailers, you can learn how your partnership marketing efforts are affecting the results. 

State of the brand-retailer relationship

supports local retailers

A partnership marketing strategy can benefit your brand, but it also supports local retailers. Maintaining strong relationships with them makes your marketing efforts run more smoothly and enables them to represent your brand in its best light. These relationships can take a lot of time and effort from your marketing team. Look for ways that partnership marketing streamlines communication and saves time. For example:

  • How often are retailers downloading content from your shared portal?
  • How often are they coming to you with issues trying to access what they need?
  • How much time do you and your team spend fielding retailer questions and concerns?
  • Are retailers complaining about the content you make available to them or choosing to create their own with mixed results?

Some of these questions are harder to measure than others, but they really get to the heart of partnership marketing and how it stands to benefit everyone involved.

ThumbStopper Empowers Great Partnership Marketing

ThumbStopper Empowers Great Partnership Marketing

ThumbStopper saw a gap in content sharing between brands and retailers, and stepped in to solve it. We enable you to partner with local retailers that carry your products and share your target audience. With our solutions, you and your partner can automatically post high-quality content at the local level. Automated content distribution can save you both time and money. In addition, our analytics enable you to better measure the ROI of your partnership marketing and answer the question of whether it’s working.
Contact ThumbStopper for a demo to see how we can help you and your retailers.

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