Opinion: Why marketers are investing in micro partnerships

Opinion: Why marketers are investing in micro partnerships

Jill Coomber, co-founder of OneChocolate, explores the findings of the agency’s report into micro partnerships and why marketers now value brand awareness and value, over sales.

Our latest report, Navigating the new marketing must-have: micro partnerships, confirms that UK marketers are flocking to invest in micro partnerships, with 84% increasing their planned investment for 2018-19.

Interestingly, the main drivers are brand awareness and brand value, which both ranked ahead of sales increases. We coined the term “micro partnerships” to define collaborations with individuals or organisations to the tune of zero to £50k per year, per partnership.

When done well, these smaller scale tie-ups are cost-effective and can show great ROI, as well as adding heaps of value to your brand. Their popularity reflects the shift we’ve seen in brands investing more in content and experience over material which simply sells the product.

Long-term value over short-term sales

Right now, the most successful companies are those which consumers want to buy from again and again. Audiences are now a lot savvier about brand reputation and more concerned about things like a company’s social responsibility than ever before.

A micro partnership allows a brand to keep growing positive recall and establish itself as trustworthy and ethical, so sales are likely to keep increasing. This is far more valuable than a shorter-term sales spike, only to watch competitors that lead with a longer-term strategy overtake them.

We can also see a move away from traditional sales metrics towards more meaningful brand value measures, with engagement valued above traffic, clicks, reach or even sales.

This is reflected in the areas we’ve seen the biggest investment increase: celebrity, affiliate and influencer partnerships. Brands are looking to align with personalities already trusted by their target audience, working with them to create meaningful content.

Measurement of ROI set to improve

Despite the surge in popularity for micro partnerships, measurement and subsequent insight is proving to be a struggle for some. Many decisions are based on instinct, showing a market still in its infancy. While digital engagement metrics have made it easier to measure success, only 22% of marketers are confident enough to set ROI targets.

While they aren’t without their challenges, micro partnerships are great for moving the needle for both awareness and engagement over the longer-term. Brands are seeing that in spades now, so the challenge is how to tool up to be able to evaluate and prove that impact.

Doing the right research and having the right conversations with your partner at the beginning are crucial, as we talk about in more depth in the report. With the vast majority of marketers set to increase their investment in micro partnerships, often trying new and different types, showing more sophisticated ROI will only get easier.

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