As part of this year's Content | Campus in Copenhagen, a group of tourism marketers gathered in the chic offices of Visit Denmark to discuss fruitful content partnerships. On Day 2 of the Content | Campus, we were buzzing with the ideas from the previous day’s sessions and excited to begin the Content Partnerships Workshop. A partnership that benefits each party is difficult to achieve and comes with experience, building relationships and smart negotiations. But when done well, you have struck gold.
Talking Marketing Partnerships
We kicked off the session by asking the 20-plus attendees’ about potential partnerships and what they were looking to learn. As we went around the room, similar questions and needs arose. Here is what they had to say:
- We want to extend our reach.
- We struggle with having too many partners.
- We need more strategic partners/partnerships.
- We struggle with a political environment of the DMO space, which can sometimes create competition between partners who are vying for our attention and fighting for market share.
- How do we create and find value for partners?
- We need to develop more public-private partnerships and collaborate more with the private sector like airlines and travel agencies.
- We are new to partnerships and we are not sure where to start.
- How do we work at scale with global and in-market partners?
- How do we build networks of partners, stakeholders, influencers and media?
- How do we build long-term relationships with those partners?
We can all relate to these questions and concerns, and if I could figure out the magic solution, I could retire tomorrow. After the intros, we explored three partnership case studies. David Meany from Contiki discussed the ins and outs of working with DMOs and influencers. Next Anja Hartung Sfyrla from Visit Denmark shared her experience with brand partnerships. Lastly, Brian Twomey from Tourism Ireland talked about leveraging the viral success of Game of Thrones to market Northern Ireland. The insightful presenters inspired a spirited conversation and brought to light many key points that span across partnerships.
Successful Marketing Partnerships
Here are some of the highlights in no specific order. (You are welcome 😀 ).
- As marketers, you are used to putting yourself in the mindset of your customer. Leverage these skills to put yourself in the perspective of your potential partner. What would they want? What are their pain points? How could you/your organization help solve them?
- Don’t use your own prejudice in evaluating an opportunity. Just because you don’t personally use a product or watch a show doesn’t mean that there isn’t a greater market potential.
- Don’t be afraid to team up with other big brands, you just need to find your way in.
- Develop a partnership framework internally to act as a tool to evaluate partnerships. This could help you get internal support.
- Prepare your partnership proposition in advance of the meeting. Not only does give people something to react to, but you are most likely only going to have one chance to meet with that company and you don’t want to waste it.
- Make sure you are managing content usage rights. This is especially important when dealing with highly controlled properties like film and TV. Consider establishing a playbook for the project to share with collaborators, which not only outlines the usage rights but unifies the messaging.
- You make deals with people, not organizations. Leverage relationships to forge a successful partnership. Building trust is vital, so have an open and honest dialogue.
- Make sure you are talking to the right people that could help you make this partnership work. If you are not talking to the right person, ask who is.
- Make sure to establish a key point of contact or project lead that you can funnel communications through.
- Ask and you shall receive. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, you won’t get it if you don’t ask for it.
- Often partnerships have organization-wide implications. As the partnership lead, make sure to collaborate internally to get the support in advance of the project launch. Failure to secure company-wide buy-in could hinder the project’s success.
- Agree on success metrics and KPIs in advance of the partnership. Sometimes your internal reporting hinges on having access to your partner’s digital metrics. Don’t assume they will just give you that information later (often times they won’t!), make sure it is negotiated in advance.
- What is next for your partnership? You spent all of this time forging this partnership and building those relationships. How can you make it bigger, better, more effective? The sky is the limit.
Putting those partnership insights to good use, we set out on developing ideas for brand partnerships. Stay tuned to find out how they are progressing with the partnerships.
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