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Sleepless nights? Try getting into bed with other brands

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Tightening budgets are a worry for more than 60% of marketers.

We are living in turbulent times. The high street is under siege, with declining sales and profitability, with news like House of Fraser sending shockwaves. Brexit nightmares, creating even more caution and concern, with stalwart British manufacturers feeling economically forced to move production out of England. Amazon taking over the world…now even British football. Even rumbles of impending civil war (just listen to BBC Radio 4’s First World Problems play of the week). It’s all feeling like we’re heading into dystopian doom! Thank goodness for the good weather huh?!

To understand what the main issues in these turbulent times are for the marketing community, we carried out a survey, in partnership with The Drum Network, to find out exactly what is worrying our clients (and the wider marketing community) most. What is keeping them awake at night, exactly?

The results, revealed today, tell us that - by far – the biggest area of concern is about budgets being squeezed. 62% of respondents cited this as their biggest problem, and at a time when marketing budgets are seeing their lowest growth for two years (according to the IPA Bellweather report) this is perhaps unsurprising.

However, there’s an opportunity that more and more brands are starting to embrace, to make budgets go further, and in these belt-tightening times is a savvy move by marketeers. And that’s partnership marketing. Essentially, partnering with brands, rather than always doing things alone, can make budgets go further. We’ve proven this with brands like 02 and HSBC, who have created loyalty programmes with brand partnerships at their heart. We know that customers who engage with brand partner rewards and experiences, are more valuable than those customers who only engage with the brand’s own rewards armoury.

And yet, while over 60% of the survey’s respondents believe their budgets can be maximised through partnership activity (and we’re getting calls from more and more clients curious about what partnership marketing could do for them) more than half of the survey’s respondents are spending less than 5% on partnership marketing.

This is despite recognition that partnerships can generate brand love, provide credibility and create cost effective acquisition opportunities.

  • 76% of respondents believe that partnership activity can generating brand love by appealing their audience’s passions.
  • 66% believe that it would allow them to maximise budgets by sharing partners’ marketing-might.
  • 66% believe that partnerships can providing credibility by association with brands that share values.

The area that stands out most, when it comes to the power of partnerships, is in acquisition. 79% of respondents believe that partnership activity can open up new audiences. Working with brands that your prospect audience loves, is a smart way to introduce yours to them. Whether you’re a smaller discovery brand, looking for cost effective routes to market, or a larger brand looking to shift brand perceptions to engage new audiences, partnering with brands that share similar values can be an effective way to acquire new customers.

One area that did surprise us, was around faith and trust in social media. Interestingly, it did not present any major concern, with less than a third citing ‘loss of trust in Facebook and You Tube’ as a sleep-loss issue. That’s not to say that the marketeers don’t worry about it, but at the end of the day (as the head hits the pillow) it’s the money that matters.

So, if you are interested in getting a better night’s sleep, partnership marketing could well be just the medicine.

Tamara Gillan is chief executive officer at Cherry London

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