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The Partnership Glossary

Partnership Marketing involves elements of sales promotions, brand marketing, contractual law and increasingly E-commerce. It can therefore unfortunately often involve jargon and technical definitons. The following glossary contains some of the most common. If you would like to add to our glossary please contact us.

Affiliate Network

Most often a web based media deal that rewards 3rd party referrers (affiliates) with a commission on any purchases made. Can sometimes be paid per 'click-through' (if the deal is just to generate traffic to a site) or 'per sale' (see - CPA)


A formal programme of two or more brands or organisations designed to achieve a joint approach to a shared marketing programme. Often resulting in added value or efficiencies for consumers. Example; Star Alliance offers joint promotion and better handling of customers travelling across different airlines. Also - a joint NGO approach to an issue in which they share an interest.

Affinity Programme

An 'added value' marketing programme that offers existing customers special offers or rewards from partners. See also - Rewards.

API (Application Programming Interface)

An interface used for accessing a program or set of data - using a set of rules and specifications. Often a digital partnership requires one partner accessing the data of the other partner using an API feed.

Brand Equity

In partnership marketing, this refers to the value, recognition and consumer confidence a brand can bring to a particular programme. A major well known brand can add substantial momentum and credibility to an initiative through the power of its brand alone - and is just as valuable as cash, technology or other resources.

Brand Licensing (also IP / Copyright Licensing)

A brand owner (the Licensor) grants permission for a business (Licensee) to use their brand (or other IP) in a third party application or product. A common model in entertainment, software and media.

Branded Content

Rich media content created by a brand specifically to be distributed and published within third party channels - often based around the brand or product itself. The channel receives cost effective content and the brand receives cost effective promotion. Example; a broadcast competition or challenge featuring the brands products


Pairing a partners product with a business' own to provide cost effective benefit to both partners and an added value for the consumer. Often used in technology markets - embedding or pre-loading partners'software or apps within the product. Also in traditional marketing by bundling two related products in a promotion (example; washing machine manufacturer bundles free packet of washing powder or a recipe and spice mix bundled with a packet of fresh food)

Channel Partner

Enables a distribution route to a specific consumer base. A channel partner could distribute content, product or offers. The uniqueness, value and size of the channel will dictate how this relationship is to be managed. If simple to replace - it is a Transactional relationship managed for best value. If complex, strategic and difficult to replace then it needs to be managed as a Partnership Relationship


An agreement between partners to a joint exchange of marketing services or products (essentially 'swapping'). There is an agreed value but not a financial transaction - though depending on the organisation, there may be a need for formal invoicing and accounting. Example; a media channel competition may offer prizes or rewards supplied to it free or with just a nominal fee - from a Contra partner.


A programme that involves two or more brands to increase product perception or value. Examples; software is often highlighted as a key product benefit within hardware. In addition, new products can benefit from co-branding to increase consumer confidence - often a key element of product and IP Licensing.


The 'meeting of the minds' within any business arrangement that should be clear before any formal legal administration is undertaken. Consensus is built by the parties through meetings, proposals, plans, documents, samples, mockups and visuals and both parties should be comfortable about this before lawyers are asked to prepare any documentation to formalise the relationship.

Content Marketing

The creation, sharing and promotion of brand owned media content in an effort to engage current or potential customers via a Channel Partner. See Branded Content and Channel Partner

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

Businesses have a set cost to acquire a new business based on expected revenue, profits and lifetime value. A 'CPA deal' shares rewards for a partner who introduces or creates a sale. See - Affiliate.

Deal Memo

The summary of key commercial points (any monies to exchange, key dates, quantities, names of key people involved, technical highlights, project start and review dates etc.) - usually in the form of a one page simple summary listing within a formal agreement.


The ability to share and balance business values and ensure a successful working relationship. This can include the fit of markets, brands, people, culture, organisational style, capabilities, mechanics.

First Date

An initial low cost, low risk and easy to develop initiative to test the marketing partnership and build trust between the parties.

Heads Of Agreement

A formal letter setting out the main commercial points of a proposed agreement. Heads are useful to bring all relevant financial and practical negotiation points into the open within a 2-3 page document rather than attempt to do this within the full agreement.

Joint Marketing Initiative

An agreement between two brands or organisations to co-invest or share resources on a specific programme. For example; two organisations may share the costs of market research, running a stand at a trade show or a joint marketing communications campaign that benefits both parties.

Joint Venture

A formal contractual agreement joining together two or more parties for the purpose of executing a particular business undertaking. With a true JV all parties agree to share in the profits and losses of the enterprise. Most marketing partnerships are joint marketing initiatives that maintain a degree of separateness and responsibility and so are not joint-ventures, business partnerships or mergers.

Key Performance Indicator

A measure or target that a brand uses to determine the success of an initiative - often linked to regular analysis of metrics within formal reviews. However - a KPI could also be a more strategic aim, for example 'secure access to new distribution channel'.

Letter Of Intent

Following early discussions and possibly a Non-Disclosure Agreement this is a formal letter usually from a very senior exectutive to their equal in their prospective partner setting out their intention to commit resources and jointly research and develop a partnerships. An LOI gives confidence to the other party that an investment of further resources is justified and that the other party has senior stakeholders who are willing to 'sponsor' the initiative. The LOI is not an agreement nor a final plan but is a sign that the parties intend to progress seriously to producing them.


The business that owns rights to a brand or other intellectual property (IP) and allows another business (the Licensee) to use it in return for a royalty rate on sales, promotional fees or other commercial benefit.


The business who commercialises and exploits a brand or IP belonging to another business (the Licensor) and in return pays royalties, promotional fees or other benefit.

Loyalty Programme

A structured programme that rewards customers for buying products. Can often involve rewards or offers that can be developed cost effectively with promotional partners.

Managed Relationship

A business relationship that requires tailored development, servicing or reporting and is likely to involve reviews and specific managers. It is more complex than a Transactional Relationship but not as high risk/high value as a Partnership Relationship.


The practical processes, methods, resources and workings of an initiative.


Business statistics, Key Performance Indicators and measures that are regularly reviewed by the partners.


The systematic driven progress of a Partnership programme, requiring incremental or phased steps of development built upon effective Fit and Planning and delivering mutual value. Maintaining Momentum is vital to ensure the health of a partnership.

Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

A simple but formal contract signed by both parties confirming that materials, plans, IP, research and business processes, data and information shall be treated as confidential and not discussed or shared with any other party outside of the relationship. Often gives comfort to parties during early discussions. NDA's must be specific and can be either one-way or two-way, the latter being a mutual arrangement where both parties have the same level of protection.

Partnership Marketing / Marketing Partnership

A collaboration between two or more parties with the intent on developing a jointly managed marketing programme to meet each others respective goals. A partnership programme leverage's the complimentary strengths of each organisation. The test; "does this relationship offer a competitive advantage that is difficult, expensive or impossible to replicate?" If the answer is yes - it is a valuable partnership that requires investment in relationship management.

Partnership Strategy

A brand or organisation's aims and expectations from a partnership programme that link directly with the marketing and business plans. For example, a Partnership Strategy may be aiming to reduce costs, increase revenue, secure market share, extend the brand, improve product development or obtain a new channel to reach new or existing customers.

Partnership Plan

A jointly created and owned plan between marketing partners that sets out clearly the specific objectives, responsibilities, expectations, values and measures that are important to each party. Often parties will have very different marketing and business objectives but this need not be contradictory.

Performance Improvement Points / Programmes (PIP's)

Tactical initiatives developed by a Relationship Manager to improve a partnership programme's performance - often focused on the other party. May involve simple incremental process changes to offer more value to the other party - whilst limiting the cost and effort imposed on the business.

Promotional Partnership

A programme that shares marketing costs and benefits for two or more marketing partners. May involve sponsorship (example promotional partner for a new movie release) - or a brand may collaborate with a promotional partners within a new product launch, industry events, consumer facing promotion etc.

Relationship Manager

The specific individual within each partner, identified in proposals and contracts as being the driver of the initiative - even though that may not personally manage every tactical aspect. Often referred to as the Single Point Of Contact (the 'SPOC') - the relationshhip manager should be the first name, number and email address a partner refers to for sorting out problems and directing and navigating queries.


A branded promotional connection with a property, event or other initiative offering a range of special or exclusive marketing communications benefits to the sponsor - who will normally be expected to pay a fee or other commercial benefit (see Contra). Can be exclusive or non-exclusive and can be further specified as Naming Rights, Association Rights, Official Supplier. Sponsorship Rights can also classified within specific 'exclusive' categories - Technology Partner, Automotive Partner, Soft Drink Partner, etc. which confer a range of exclusive rights to that sponsor within their sector.

Transactional Relationship

A simple and fee based arrangement between a business and a supplier that can be easily replaced and can be managed with a focus purely on the cost-benefits and individual 'rates'. Most everyday business relationships are transactions - not partnerships and need to be managed accordingly.

Warm Transfer

The process of 'handing-over' a customer to a partner with recommendation and introduction - often used within call centres. Can involve CPA or affiliate type commercial arrangement or reward.

White Label

Also known as 'private labelling', this is where one company licences or produces a product or service that a partner can market as its' own. Example; a sports team or industry organisation may offer a credit card to its supporters that is often a white label branded credit card that is managed completely by a banking partner.


The model for effectively matching different levels and departments between partners. Example; ensuring respective accountants confirm any financial arrangements and likewise that respective brand managers, PR and technicians are in contact with their counterparts to ensure smooth delivery of the Partnership Plan.