Defining our partnerships strategy – what makes a successful relationship?
We make no apologies for being selective in our partnerships – it’s the key reason for their success.
As an optimisation agency, options for partners can feel endless. From A/B testing platforms, to session replay tools, via content management systems, merchandising solutions and other agencies, we could have a catalogue of partners the length of which resembles the shopping list for the last mad dash to the supermarket the day before the family descends for Christmas.
But we don’t. We are interested in more than just putting a logo on a website and moving on to the next. We want to do real, meaningful business with those we partner with, and that means having to pick and choose.
So what do we look for in a partner?
Ultimately, a partnership is like any other relationship – it takes work and commitment on both sides, and it has to be the right fit.
Anyone who follows our LinkedIn activity will know we’re passionate about our culture. We have a people first strategy, have implemented fully flexible working for the benefit of our employees and our clients, signed the Time to Change pledge and introduced emotional intelligence development.
So why wouldn’t we want to incorporate that when it comes to our partnerships programme?
In a partnership context, cultural alignment doesn’t mean sitting in total agreement on charitable initiatives, but it does mean sharing the same vision and goals for the relationship.
For us, the biggest factor in success is reciprocity. No partnership is ever entirely equal at any one time, but both sides should be benefiting consistently or what’s the point? Those benefits might not always be directly financial – marketing, brand awareness, increased opportunity are all valuable here – but if one side is the only one regularly in the positive column, you have a very dysfunctional relationship.
The second factor is engagement. A casual email every six months does not a successful partnership make. Instead, our best work is done with companies who have a genuine desire to work with us on a regular basis and are keen to understand more about us and what we do. And it would be a lie to say that enjoying talking to us doesn’t help!
But what about our clients? A company might be desperate to be an active partner with us and be a brilliant cultural fit, but if the product isn’t going to be of any use to the brands we work with, it’s a tough sell.
As an agency, we pride ourselves on doing what is best for our clients – and that means we are technology agnostic. We recommend what is best for each individual brand and their business challenges, rather than a one size fits all approach that primarily benefits us. So we partner with software companies that cater to a wide range of budgets and specialities – but that we know we can genuinely recommend to our clients as adding value to their optimisation programme.
Our belief in the technology, plus our expertise in using it effectively in conjunction with our clients’ objectives, is a powerful cocktail.
Our work with FullStory, a digital intelligence platform focused on helping brands transform customer experience, is a classic example. Chris Samila, VP of Partnerships, explains: “User Conversion has been a partner with us since the beginning and they have set the bar high globally for the level of value they bring to clients using FullStory. They bring to the table tremendous experience with conversion rate optimisation, deep qualitative analysis skills, and a mature framework for the rapidly growing experience analytics space.”
Looking ahead, the next 12 months are bound to present new opportunities as the optimisation industry continues to develop and provide new solutions to problems, while we are always on the lookout for innovation and new ways to help our clients.
But we will continue to be selective, ensuring commitment, reciprocity, focus and relevance remain core to our approach as we strive for ever greater success through our partnership network.