6 min read

Building your list of partnerships

Polygon is one of the best examples of staying top of mind in the market with tier 1 partnerships like Starbucks, J.P. Morgan, Disney, Facebook and Instagram. From loyalty programs with Starbucks to launching an NFT platform selling virtual clothing with Nike - Polygon has found ways to partner with fast-growing verticals.

Types of Business Development Partnerships

  1. Joint Product Partnerships
  2. Content Partnerships
  3. Strategic Partnerships or Alliances
  4. Channel Partner Programs

1. Joint Product Partnerships

Joint product partnerships occur when two or more companies join forces to release a new product or feature, or aim to improve an existing one. This could mean collaborating on a new tool that businesses would own together that helps their overlapping audience. 

Here are some examples to illustrate the variety.

Foursquare and TouchTunes

Patrick Hu, Managing Director of Business Development & Product Partnerships at Foursquare, led the charge on a business development partnership with TouchTunes, the leader in the digital jukebox space. The businesses partnered to use Foursquare’s notification system to send personalized messages to TouchTunes users when in close proximity to a TouchTunes jukebox. By collaborating with Foursquare instead of developing its own unique system, TouchTunes was able to save money while still generating the results they were after. In turn, Foursquare received TouchTunes user data that contributed to the broader FourSquare panel.Hu shared that through the partnership, “TouchTunes saw that by being able to ping users to let them know, and remind them ‘hey you're at a venue with one of our machines, play a song,’ it increased the likelihood of song play by 60%.” The partnership allowed TouchTunes to release a new feature and gave Foursquare more brand recognition.

Nike and Apple

Nike and Apple teamed up to create Nike+. The partnership initially sought to combine activity tracking with music and quickly evolved to what we now know as Nike+. The new product placed activity tracking technology into athletic clothing that syncs with Apple iPhone apps to record movement data. Now, we see this partnership in their more recent development,  the Apple Watch Nike+.While different in nature, both partnerships are classified as Joint Product Partnerships because a new feature or product was released as a result of the companies’ collaboration. These are only two of many examples of successful product partnerships.

2. Content Partnerships

A content partnership is just how it sounds: one in which two or more companies collaborate to create a joint piece of content. Typically, one company is seeking brand awareness while the other is benefitting from the actual content created, though both might benefit from co-creating content like a live event or webinar. Let’s review some examples.

Ben & Jerry’s Canada and Wattpad - “Pen Your Pride”

Ben & Jerry’s Canada, a branch of one of the biggest ice cream companies, teamed up with Wattpad, a global community of writers, to host a write-a-thon called “Pen Your Pride.” The event was intended to shine light on Ben & Jerry’s involvement in the LGBTQIA+ community. Writers from all over the world submitted pieces, both real and fiction, about what it’s like to be LGBTQIA+. The result: The campaign generated mass amounts of content for Wattpad and gave Ben & Jerry’s more brand recognition.

Zillow and Tastemade

Zillow, a real estate company, teamed up with Tastemade, a company promoting foodie communities, in an initiative they called “Home | Made.” The collaboration was intended to inspire people to settle in the Hudson Valley by creating moving content that highlighted its beautiful architecture, arts scene, food community, and more. The result: Similarly to Ben & Jerrys and Wattpad, Zillow got incredible content to encourage home buying in Hudson while Tastemade gained brand recognition.

3. Strategic Partnerships or Alliances

Strategic alliances occur when two companies engage in a mutually beneficial partnership while remaining separate. This is a bit of a catch-all for the creativity of completing a partnership that benefits both parties. These partnerships allow companies to reach new audiences or markets by capitalizing on one another’s already established platforms. Let’s look at a few examples of how these strategic alliances work.

Spotify and Uber

Spotify and Uber have announced a collaboration to provide music control to Uber customers. This is considered a strategic alliance because Uber riders get the chance to be exposed to Spotify, and Spotify users are encouraged to ride with Uber. It is what we would call a “win-win”. The result: The partnership isn’t about brand awareness as much as it is about direct exposure for each business to each others’ customers.

Starbucks and Barnes & Noble

If you’ve ever been inside a Barnes & Noble, you may know exactly what we’re talking about here. Who wouldn’t want the option to sip on a nice warm coffee while strolling the aisles or diving into a new book purchase? The result: Starbucks found the perfect home inside most Barnes & Noble stores while B&N made their customers happier and got them to stay in the store longer, leading to more potential sales.

4. Channel Partner Programs

Channel partner programs include any partnership where a business enters into an agreement with a third-party to market or sell their product or service to a wider audience. As a “thank you” to the third party, companies can offer a commission on sales or another incentive, providing more sales to the company and more value to the third-party. Traditional channel partners are a part of the same supply chain for the products being sold. A type of channel partnership is an affiliate partnership where one party will receive compensation for converting their customers into customers of their partner. Similarly to our previous categories, this concept is best illustrated through an example.

Amazon and Gear Patrol

Gear Patrol is a daily men’s magazine that shares content ranging from travel to food to technology. Amazon partnered with Gear Patrol, including it as one of its affiliate websites or channel partners. As Gear Patrol shared recommendations for products, their millions of daily readers were redirected to Amazon via affiliate links. The result: Gear Patrol was able to profit off of the purchases made by their readers while Amazon gained both sales and access to a set of new customers.

Partnerships worksheet

Partnerships and strategic alliance example

There is a dry cleaner who charges an insane amount for his services. How one earth can he make such a commodity into a premium service? He Joint ventures with the high end premium clothing store. Now his services are better than then rest howver he charges 20X what every else charges. If he had advertsed at those prices he would be out of business but he knows by joint venturing with high end stores the customers of there are happy to pay a premium to get it cleaned for a premium. 

It is like how infusion soft partners with marketing gurus. It is actually quit difficult to indoctrinate most small business owners on the need for such advanced automation. However when they go to a Dna Kennedy, Frank Kern or Ryan Deiss Seminar they figure it all out. They reaslise the need for automation but the only problem is that the gurus don’t do it for them but infusion soft can. So they leverage that and partner with the gurus. It is a atch made in heaven, they provide the solution to the new problem of automation the gurus make for them.

If you are a great consultant and take someone from making 10,000 to $60,000 a month human nature will lead them to waste that money. What you can do is either get into the wealth management business or align with a partner. The fact is that even though you may not be the authority on money management they would rather buy it from you than anyone else. 


Other strategic alliance examples



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