5 Ways to Use Partnership Marketing to Grow Your Food Brand: Part 1

partnership marketing

Partnership marketing is one of the most powerful ways to grow your food brand. It involves two or more companies working together to cross-promote each other’s products to like-minded audiences, and it’s one of the most effective forms of marketing.

Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food® is a well-known example, but co-branded products are just the beginning of partnership marketing! So we teamed up with our friends from Parsnip, a partnership marketing platform, for a two-part series with everything you need to know. This week, we’re covering 3 of the 5 ways to use partnership marketing to grow your food brand: giveaways, influencer marketing, and product placement. Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

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Giveaways are low-hanging fruit when it comes to partnership marketing. Easy to execute, giveaways don’t require much time or money, and tend to be an effective way to grow your social media following. In fact, this study by Tailwind found that accounts using Instagram contests grew their follower base 70% faster than accounts that don’t.

You can always host a giveaway on your own, but in doing so you’re missing out on the opportunity to partner with a like-minded brand (or two or four) — and the opportunity to access their associated audiences. Marketing to 2x or 4x the number of people you normally do can be a valuable and effective way to grow your audience and ultimately drive sales. It’s also a simple way to test partners and partnership activities to see how they work for you.

Not sure where to begin or how to execute a giveaway? This Guide to How to Host a Successful Giveaway will get you started.

Influencer Marketing

Working with influencers is another great way to expand your audience. Rather than partnering with a brand (and reaching their audience), working with influencers allows you to work directly with influential individuals who have their own dedicated audience. Influencers will often accept in-kind product donations in exchange for creating content for your brand, which they will share on social media, blogs, or in email marketing promotions.

The easiest way to get started working with influencers is to find those individuals that already know and love your brand. This guide to finding influencers to work with will get you started, and this post on who and what influencers are may be helpful in expanding how you think about which individuals or groups may qualify as good partners.

Product Placement

There are 1.8 million events that take place across the United States each year. Each of these events attracts a captive, like-minded audience, presenting you with an opportunity to market your brand in a targeted way. How? Use product placement to offer your food, beverage or snack items as an in-kind event refreshment — or place products or coupons in a gift bag, if the event is featuring one. Pick the right events with the right audiences and ensure you’ve created a product that they want, and you’ll start to build a loyal following.

Most events will accept in-kind donations in exchange for a benefit to you. You can expect that in addition to garnering exposure within their audience, you’ll also receive some combination of a shoutout on social media, logo placement with link on their website, and mention in their event-related email marketing. While exposure is the primary benefit of product placement, if you have the chance to include a coupon, you’ll also have an opportunity to track sales ROI.

Stay tuned for next week, when we’re covering collaborative gift boxes and co-branded products!

Parsnip is a partnership marketing platform pioneered by two SF-based entrepreneurs, Erin Lenhardt and Sally Rogers. Members work together on co-marketing activities in order to access each other’s audiences and drive revenues. Parsnip is currently in free Beta and is free to join and use. Sign up today!

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