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A new era of enterprise growth is redefining the marketing landscape
September 17, 2021
by Nicolai Mariegaard, country manager, Impact Denmark
At any one time in ad tech there is always a hot new thing, whether it is a platform or a behavioural trend, that is enjoying a moment in the spotlight. The press analyses and evaluates it, experts explain why it’s going to change the way we work and marketers scramble to get their heads round it.
And then, as quickly as it arrived, it moves off towards the margins. It is usually still around, just demoted in status to another cog in the wheel of advertising.
But occasionally something emerges that survives the zeitgeist moment; that has the power to weather the fashion storm, prove its value and earn its status as a genuine game-changer.
Partnership marketing is exactly that. The power of peer reviews, recommendations and word of mouth has been recognised since the dawn of time, and now more than ever this phenomenon transcends the influence of the most persuasive TV ad or digital poster.
With the rise of social media came the opening of the floodgates that allowed peer reviews to take place on a previously unimaginable scale. Today, an entire ecosystem exists that is dedicated to helping advertisers navigate this hugely powerful form of modern advertising - one that threatens to overshadow everything that came before it.
Partnerships are rapidly becoming the most significant source of incremental growth and new revenue streams for brands. While sales and marketing have long been viewed as the primary sources of that growth, they are no longer enough to sustain it. Instead, partnerships have emerged as a third key revenue channel for organisations - and the fastest growing of them all.
From an international perspective, even the modern partnership marketing model is not a new one. In the US, influencers, affiliate partners and branded content have been a significant element of marketing since the financial crisis in 2008. In recent years, the practice has spread to the rest of Europe - including our own Scandinavian markets.
It is this steady and strong surge in popularity for partnership marketing that led to the creation of Impact in Denmark. (Not, of course, to be confused with the country’s other Impact, a team of digital commerce specialists. Different companies, same brilliant name.)
With offices in more than 8 markets around the world, it made perfect sense to set up a team in this thriving advertising environment, from which some of the world’s most successful ad tech firms originated.
We already had a growing number of Danish customers, but being here with our team of experts on the ground will ensure these clients are seeing the optimum potential of partnership and influencer marketing.
And while the basic concept of marketing driven by organic, trustworthy recommendations is not new, it is constantly evolving in response to the changing advertising environment - be it transparency or cross-channel optimisation - and the needs and demands of consumers. To be in a position to build services, products and business models that respond to those changes is what will keep the partnerships industry at the forefront of 21st-century marketing.
One of the companies that has seen the strength of this new marketing channel is the Danish ethical organic clothing brand Organic Basics. The company relies heavily on influencers and partner sales to boost its brand but until recently had its partnerships business spread across three affiliate networks, resulting in unnecessary costs from duplicated credit, management overheads and abuse of partner terms.
By joining forces with Impact, the team at Organic Basics achieved full transparency into the consumer journey and were able to truly understand the contributions of each media channel, enhancing its ability to reach untapped markets. The insights provided by Impact have ensured the brand is operating more efficiently, allocating spend better and driving significant growth for its affiliate channel.
Those brands and businesses that have embraced partnership marketing - including other clients of ours, from L’Oreal to Uber to Levis and Lenovo - have been rewarded with a first-mover advantage. Now, CMOs across every sector and size of business are waking up to the power it holds to transform any marketing plan.
But despite the speed with which the sector is gaining traction, now is not the time to take our foot off the gas. In fact, it is even more essential to remain focused and open-minded if we are to avoid letting partnerships - that astonishingly impactful and effective form of advertising - become obsolete through inertia.