Jason Schemmel

Promotional Partnerships: What Can Go Right…What Can Go Wrong

By: Jason Schemmel | February 21, 2017 | 
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Promotional Partnership: What Can Go Right…What Can Go WrongWe all want to grow our content, increase audience reach, and build sales, right?

Teaming with an influencer or another company on a promotional campaign can yield some awesome results.

By partnering you cast your net much wider than your current reach.

This all sounds awesome, right?

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just saying, “Hey, want to partner on this?” and go from there, and that is for good reason.

There are some legal parameters that need to be put in place for a promotional partnership.

This ensures both parties get what they want out of the campaign and put in the effort to promote it as well.

Allow me to explain using a recent experience of mine.

A Promotional Partnership Defined

I met an individual who agreed to enter a promotional partnership with me because our companies cater to very similar audiences.

We would go in on a sweepstakes campaign and select five winners to win a prize pack: A product from my company, and a product from theirs, which complimented each other well.

We agreed upon the following parameters:

  • Launch the campaign shortly after Thanksgiving (in case people wanted to give the prize as a Christmas gift).
  • Campaign would last one week (giving prizes enough time to arrive before Christmas).
  • We would each put $100 in Facebook advertising behind it.
  • Mention it in an email blast to our respective mailing lists.
  • Mention the campaign on Facebook and Twitter a certain number of times.

For partnering on this promotion, we had discussed sharing the email list we captured.

We would both kick in prizes and money for the promotion, and help push it to our networks.

In return, not only would we get increased awareness, we would get a healthy increase to both of our email lists.

Pretty straightforward, right? I thought so, too.

Get Legal Involved Early in the Process

I offered to host the promotion, but ran into a snag with my legal team (lots of hoops to jump through, and it was the holiday season, so responses took a while).

Faced with that, I asked the partner to host instead.

I reached out to my legal team to get a partnership agreement.

This process took a few calls and revisions, but I finally received an approved document for my partner and I to sign stating we would share the email list with each other upon completion of the promotion.

(BTW, I am INCREDIBLY thankful for the hoops I had to jump through for that partnership agreement!)

My partner set up the sweepstakes so the user would provide their email address as the primary entry to the sweepstakes.

From there, they could perform additional tasks for additional entries, such as: Visit our social media pages, sign up directly for each of our email lists, etc.

Mediating Partnership Disputes

Promoting the campaign went off without a hitch.

The partner informed me more than 650 people clicked to directly sign up for my company’s email list (Woo!).

I replied this was good news and asked for the rest of the email list which we had agreed upon, and that’s where we hit a snag.

My partner responded saying they weren’t comfortable sharing the whole email list (What?!).

Obviously, I was confused and a little frustrated, but wanted to remain professional.

This was a great campaign with a wonderful company and I didn’t want to burn any bridges for a potential future promotion.

But at the same time I kept thinking to myself, “We *did* agree, at the start of this, that we would share the ENTIRE email list upon completion of this campaign!”

I told myself I would give it one more shot before getting my legal team involved.

I wrote back stating I wasn’t sure where the disconnect in communication was, that we signed a legal document which stated we would share the entire email list from this promotion.

In the end, they agreed there was a disconnect and offered the remainder of the email list.

As a result, I added almost 1,000 new emails to my marketing list for the cost of five books and $100 out of my budget. Not a bad ROI!

Promotional Partnership Lessons Learned

So what did I learn from all this about how to approach a promotional partnerships differently in the future?

  • When partnering on a promotion, communicate clearly defined and agreed upon goals:
    • What each is putting into your promotion.
    • How each of you is promoting it.
    • What each is getting out of it after the promo concludes.
  • A legal document may be a royal pain to put together, but it’s for the best in case of miscommunication, or if one side doesn’t hold up their end of the deal.
  • Cover your ass, but remain professional.
  • Not every campaign goes according to plan, but don’t burn bridges over it.

Have you taken part in a promotional partnership?

What lessons learned would you add to mine? Let me know in the comments.

About Jason Schemmel


Jason is an empathic professional who has been working in the social/content marketing industry for the better part of 6 years. He also carries a wealth of experience in retail having worked for numerous big-name companies. Currently the Social Media Manager for HarperCollins Christian Publishing in their Bibles department, Jason builds strategies, creates content, and manages the social presence of 7 different brands. A professional dork at heart, Jason enjoys consulting, mentoring, and sharing expertise via Twitter chat or standard networking practices. He is also developing a podcast called the #GSDChat where he converses with guests about how they "Get ‘Stuff’ Done."

  • paulakiger

    GREAT post and a reminder to dot i’s and cross t’s!

    • Jason Schemmel

      Well said, Paula!

  • Ah, the joys of good, old fashioned experience. Lucky for us, we get to benefit from you pitfalls. So thank you!

    • Jason Schemmel

      I wouldn’t call it a pitfall, but definitely a learning experience to make sure both parties are on the *same page* on ALL aspects of the campaign prior to launching!

  • The old saying “What’s not written, it does not exist” fits very well here. It’s interesting how “interests” shift when parties start seeing results.

    Having legal involved early on is a very smart move.

    Thank you for sharing you experience and learnings with us, Jason!

    • Jason Schemmel

      That was the confusing part of this whole experience, it WAS written! Definitely making sure all goals and expectations are *crystal clear* for my next campaign!

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