Operations

How To Build Strong Partnerships In The Wake of COVID-19

how-to-build-strong-partnerships-in-the-wake-of-covid-19-|-blog-|-hawke-media

The partnerships department at Hawke Media has two major goals:

  1. To increase our agency’s ability to be a resource to clients and prospects by cultivating relationships with platforms and people that can further help ecommerce businesses grow
  2. To establish trust by allowing our affiliates to be advocates for our services to prospective clients.

A HANDSHAKE STILL GOES A LONG WAY:

This trust is established through the most reliable and oldest form of marketing, word of mouth. When a trusted source gives a stellar review of a product or service, the path to purchase gets smaller. Now more than ever, we need to dive deeper into the relationships that will cultivate this form of marketing. In other words, partnerships are a key part of surviving the COVID-19 crisis.

It is important to note that while we do have formal partnerships in place with platforms, services, and people in the ecommerce world, we also look at our work with clients as a partnership. To establish this relationship with a prospective client, typically, we’d meet with them face-to-face. Many clients come to the Hawke Nest in LA to get a glimpse into the work we’re doing. They’re usually impressed by our football-field-sized warehouse is always buzzing where it’s easy to see the level of work that goes into digital marketing. It’s easier to trust a person you’ve met or something you’ve seen. A handshake still goes a long way!

Unfortunately, with the global health crisis, a lot of us are working from home. The level of trust established through an in-person meeting is no longer available. This where word of mouth marketing comes into play. Relationships become even more important at this time. The introduction from a trusted source compensates to some extent, for the rapport lost in a face-to-face meeting. Our partners and brand advocates are a key part of the business we’ve been able to drive through this crisis.

PIVOT:

At Hawke, a large part of developing our formalized partnerships typically starts with a face to face meeting. We’d attend happy hours, coffees, trade shows, and conferences to meet new partners and to develop existing relationships. Unfortunately, since none of these can occur now we’ve had to pivot.

Our partnership community has really come together during this time. For example,  Octane AI has been hosting weekly happy hours. Trustpilot has started its Fireside Fridays, in which they bring a partner to have a conversation with their teams. They hosted us last week, and we had our resident Cannabis and CBD expert (as well as Director of Growth), Madison Fiore, speak to their team! We’ve hosted several “virtual” lunch &  learns with our teams, establishing new partners like TryNow, Smile.io, and Payability.

In an effort to help businesses stay afloat through this crisis, our partners have put together a number of generous resources that small businesses can benefit from. For example,

Gorgias, Postscript, and Recharge have generously offered an extended free trial on their services. ShipBob and Waze have also created very insightful trend reports.

*Feel free to reach out to the partnerships team at Hawke if you are interested in the free trials we highlighted above!

QCON:

Hawke, as an organization, maintains an air of positivity through everything. There’s always a way to pivot and adapt to make the best of a bad situation! With that, earlier this quarter, we asked our partners to help us put together a virtual conference. Our existing relationships with our partners at Klaviyo, Cohley, Trustpilot, Postscript, Acromedia,Trinet, Sezzle, Vari, Grit Daily, Airbandit, Influencive, and Transcription Outsourcing made the conference possible. We had over 4,000 RSVPs and a line up of 41 speakers. Daymond John and Anthony Scaramucci were just 2 of the incredible network partners that came together through this difficult time in an effort to offer resources and a sense of community to the ecommerce world at large.

Quarantine Conference, as you may have heard, was a smashing success. It was a result of the amazing work our marketing and events teams were able to pull off in such a short time, but also a key result of the relationships that Hawke has been able to cultivate and carry through these difficult times.

For more information about our partnerships, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Riya and Ashley at [email protected]!

This article originally appeared in the HawkeMedia blog and has been published here with permission.

About the author

Steve Hutt

Steve has entrepreneurship in his DNA. In the early days of online commerce, he achieved Power Seller status at eBay, which then propelled him to become a founding partner of VisionPros.com, a contact lens, and eyewear retailer. After a successful exit from his startup, he embarked on his next journey into agency work in e-commerce and digital strategy.

Currently, Steve is part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus, where he is a Strategic Advisor helping brands continue to grow and scale with the Shopify Commerce Platform.

To maintain a competitive edge and life of learning mantra, Steve also hosts and produces a top-rated weekly podcast show, eCommerce Fastlane, where he interviews Shopify partners and subject matter experts who share the latest marketing strategy, tactics, platforms, and must-have apps, to help Shopify brands build and scale lifetime customer loyalty.