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According to Forrester research, three in four companies (77%) see partnership development as central to their sales and marketing strategies. And 76% say the partnership channel is a key to delivering their revenue goals. Those attitudes are among the many signals that this expanding channel is generating new growth and revenue for businesses that invest in it whole-heartedly. But why partnerships? Why is this new pathway to consumers soaring while tried-and-true marketing and advertising strategies seem to become less effective every day?

The answer is you (and me . . . and every person making purchases today!). You, the digital-age consumer, have very different shopping behaviors and attitudes than previous generations. Those behavioral shifts have diminished the effectiveness of traditional ads and sales tactics, and partnerships are taking up the slack.

Whom do we believe?

A mere 3% of people consider salespeople to be trustworthy, so cold calls and unsolicited help in stores are no longer welcome. Making matters worse, an Ipsos study found that 69% of consumers don’t trust advertising. 

Meanwhile, consumers are spending more time on mobile than their TVs, and with these smaller screens and fewer ad opportunities, prices and competition are on the rise. Plus regulations like GDPR and technology changes like ITP limit the ability to use third-party data to track ad effectiveness.

Consumers also have more power to choose how, where and from whom they get product information and recommendations. There’s an entire online universe of data and opinion out there with which to compare and evaluate a purchase before spending a dime, so a seller’s ads and marketing messages are in many ways obsolete.

People trust partnerships

While it’s more difficult than ever for enterprises to cut through the noise with a sales message and acquire new customers, there are other ways to influence consumers. Generally speaking, people trust their preexisting relationships and other consumers. Partnerships open up new audience opportunities by leveraging that trust. As a result, top businesses are seeing up to $18 in earned media value for every dollar they spend on influencer marketing alone. 

Get on board (but keep it real)

There are a wealth of options for reaching people and acquiring new customers through the trust-driven partnership channel. But remember, partnerships perform best when the end user understands the logical connection between the two parties involved. Relevance, authenticity, and transparency are all important to maintaining the trust of consumers, ads or no ads. To learn more about the potential of partnerships for your business, read our eBook, What’s the Channel Hotter Than Paid Search? or connect with an Impact growth technologist at sales@impact.com.

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