Set Up a Partner Event for Success

You’ve decided a partner event is a good idea for your business. You’ve read some examples of partner events and you’re ready to set this tactic in motion.

The idea and strategy is one thing. Actually executing this marketing activity is another. This article will help you understand what action will lead to a successful partner event.

Partnering with a supplier, customer, client or competitor (co-opertition) may be an ideal way to host your next event.

Event goals

I’d recommend setting goals for your event. Are you building awareness, running a product demo or have other ideas in mind? Once you are clear on what you need out of the event, it will be easier to brainstorm who possible partners may be.

Having a clear goal on what you want the outcome of the event to result in for your organization will help when you approach partners to participate in the event.

If your goal is awareness building and a potential partner you approach only runs events for specific product demonstrations – you’ll know early on, this may not be a good fit for your event. However, when you are ready to run a product demo event, this partner may be exactly who you want by your side.


Event location and logistics

Once you have your partner, their existing contacts may open doors to venues (in real life) or platforms (online) new to you. This may save money, time, frustration or all three. The key thing is the location work for both partners’ invitees. Be open to new ideas.


Event invitation

Let your invitees (I’ll use the term list, for mailing list) know about the event with ample time to rsvp. You know everyone is so busy these days. Be sure to explain in the invitation who is the partner on this event and why. Don’t just slap a logo on the mailing. Explain why you chose the group, who leads it and what the invitee will get out of attending the partner event.

Ask to see your partner’s invitation to be sure that your organization is introduced to their list in a way that aligns with your brand. Better yet – agree on one invitation/mailing and have all partners send the same one. If mailing to Canadians, be clear on the CASL rules.


At the event

If you attend or host enough events, you know that not everyone who rsvps will show up. However, if this is your first partner event, you may get a larger attendance, as the curiosity factor could be higher for this event than your regular events. People like it when you make it easy for them to experience new things – like learning about a partner company and meeting new people.

Consider different coloured name tags depending on which organization the attendee is part of. This will make it easy for your attendees to see who is part of the other organization. As with all events, the host(s) need to be aware that an ice breaker or conversation starter would be welcome for those attendees who will shine after some help with a friendly introduction, or way for them to start conversations with those they don’t know.

Partner de-brief

Take some time to think about the event. Was it easy to work with this partner? What was the feedback from your attendees? Would you do this again? Keeping in mind the first time working with a new person or partner can be a bit rocky until you get to know them.

Meet with your partner the next day to talk about the event. What was their experience? How do they think the event went? What would they do differently next time? Would they partner with you again, and who else do they think your organization would be a good fit for? Partner events could turn out to be a great marketing element for your organization.


Next steps

Have running partner events helped your organization? Have you attended partner-run events that left a positive impression on you? Let me know in the comments, on Facebook, Twitter or email me at jen[at]newinitiativesmarketing[dot]com

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