The best marketing assets for ‘to’ vs. ‘through’ marketing

by | Mar 13, 2024 | Content, Strategy

There’s marketing, and then there’s partner marketing, where choosing the right assets for the right audience and the right channel takes serious sussing. Partner marketers aren’t simply marketing to prospects; they’re thinking about how to appeal to partners and their audiences. And, don’t forget additional audiences that are two, sometimes three, steps further down the line. 

Partner marketers create campaigns for their partners, their partners’ customers, and sometimes even their partners’ customers’ customers. With relationships this complex, it’s important to differentiate which assets provide the most value ‘to’ partners and which can help sell products or services ‘through’ partners to the end user. 

Today, we’re breaking down our favorite assets for each aspect of partner marketing.


Essential assets for marketing to partners

To attract and retain partners, you must do these two things well. 1) Help the partner understand enough about your product or service to confidently sell it or refer it. 2) Ensure your partner sees value for themselves in selling or referring to your product or service. If you can complete these two tasks with your to marketing assets, you’ll have a good chance at successfully engaging partners. 

These are a few of our favorite marketing assets to get the job done. 



Sales playbooks are table stakes for a partner marketing program. These guides provide key information that a partner may need to know about how to sell your product or service.

Playbooks work best when you make information as easily digestible and helpful as possible without going overboard into the minutiae. Consider adding tools like battle cards and examples of real-world objections to arm your partners with sales tools that make it easier to close the deal. You may also want to include information about commissions or compensation the partner will receive (if any) for referring or making a sale.


Interactive tools

Interactive tools are excellent for onboarding your partners and keeping them engaged with your brand. An interactive onboarding could include online educational modules that offer rewards for their completion.

 AI-enabled tools like chatbots offer a fun way to answer questions and help partners sell in real time. Give your bot a personality with fun quirks and your partners will feel like they’ve made a new friend at your company. Chatbots are also great for launching playful promotions such as quizzes, giveaways and team-building activities that add value to the relationship and keep your product or service top-of-mind.


Signature gifts

Most successful partner marketer programs we’ve seen have high touchpoints. One of the best ways to let your partners know you value them is by regularly offering them a signature gift that reminds them of you. Consider offering a gift with a new spin each quarter. 

For example, send fun socks with seasonal designs, offer amazing seats to sports teams or the theater, or keep them flush with treats for various holidays. Gifts are a great excuse to stop by and make a physical appearance at your partner’s place of business and are even more impactful if they have a consistent and creative theme that is all your own. If you can’t visit partners in person, use a gifting platform like to ship gifts directly to your partners at a regular interval. 


Essential assets for marketing through partners 

Through marketing can get tricky because content needs to speak to the end customer, but also provide value to the partner. Often, marketers make the mistake of simply offering their partners the same materials they use to market themselves. This is a missed opportunity. Tailoring content for your partners not only strengthens your relationship with them but allows you to piggyback on their reputation and align yourself with an entirely new audience. 

Consider these assets when creating content for your through marketing campaigns. 


Co-branded content

One of the simplest ways to align with your partners is to develop co-branded content for them to use in their marketing efforts. This could be as easy as adding both company’s logos to brochures. You can take it further with custom landing pages, co-managed social channels, co-branded swag or co-hosted events. Offer your partners templates that allow them to easily fill in their own information to support their marketing efforts.

The easier you make it for partners to align themselves with your brand, the more likely they are to support your partnership with big sales. 


Long-form content

Smaller partners often don’t have the resources to create longer-form content that helps them close deals. You can support your partners by providing reports, whitepapers, eBooks and other long-form content that takes a lot of work to create. The bonus: You can control the message and ensure the end customer receives the most compelling information about your brand. This is another opportunity to co-brand content. You can create one report and co-brand it for each partner to create a multitude of reports aimed at different audiences. 



Co-branded webinars are one of the best ways to get directly in front of your partner’s customers and vice versa. Find someone on your team who has a unique angle or expertise that would be of value to your partner’s customers. Or, bring in a third-party expert that might appeal to your partners and their customers. Just make sure you have a clear plan for which party will follow up with leads and how sales will be split up post-webinar.


Assets that work well for marketing to and through


Dedicated social channels

Every marketer knows that social media is a great place to showcase all of your content and engage with audiences. Partner marketers should consider dedicating a social profile to their partners. This is a great place to share assets, information and incentives to use in selling and promoting channel-specific products. A separate social channel should be dedicated to the end consumer. 

Don’t be afraid to tag your partners in your consumer social channel if you are doing something great together, but do your best to keep your partner channel aimed at your B2B business partners and not consumers. You may even want to use different platforms for each. For instance, your B2B partner channel is probably best suited for LinkedIn, while a B2B2B or B2B2C channel might do better on Instagram or X. Keeping multiple channels is more work, but it is a great way to differentiate your messages and speak directly to your intended audience. 



We love video, and so, it seems, does everyone else on the planet. During the third quarter of 2023, online videos had a 92 percent audience reach worldwide! For marketing to partners, we suggest producing training videos to help them get to know your company and product. Personal video messages from your sales team can make partners feel more connected than reading an email. 

For through marketing, provide your partners with explainer videos that help their customers understand your product or service better and offer short social clips for them to share. We’ve even created branded bumpers that our partner marketers can share so their partners can use them when making their own videos.  


Make the most of your to and through channels with an agency that knows the who’s who of partner marketing

Defining and speaking to the right audience with the right assets in the partner marketer universe takes experience and forethought. Don’t feel like you have to go it alone. B2B2B, B2B2C, B2B2B2B, we’ve done it all for our partner marketer clients. We understand the complex audience relationships that partner marketers have to untangle and we have the messaging org charts to prove it! 

Need help creating to and through assets, crafting messaging or strategizing campaigns? Drop us a note and see how we can help.