Landscape for Strategic Partnerships


To inform the positioning of a new strategic partnerships team by understanding the landscape of strategic partnerships for large corporations in the US, including the different types of partnerships (e.g., co-marketing, vendor relationships, acquisitions, joint ventures), the reasons for these partnerships and examples of such partnerships.

Early Findings

Types of Strategic Partnerships

  • One of the most comprehensive listings of the types of strategic partnerships is provided by PandaDoc, which discusses in detail the following collaboration models:
    • Marketing partnerships, which are "particularly common" in the automotive industry, are cases where one company produces a product while a different company leads the marketing efforts to introduce the product, especially to a new market.
    • Supply chain partnerships, which are often found in industries such as film and technology, are cases where two or more companies enter into a partnership agreement that divide the different supply chain responsibilities for a product to different companies.
    • Integration partnerships, which are "extremely common in the digital age," often encompass an alliance between hardware and software manufacturers or two software developers who agree to have their respective technologies work together in an integral manner.
    • Technology partnerships involve formal partnerships with IT companies to provide web design, computer repair services or other technology-related services that can not be supported in-house.
    • Financial partnerships typically occur in the form of outsourced accounting relationships.
    • Strategic alliances can occur either in the form of a joint venture, an equity alliance (e.g., merger, acquisition) or a non-equity alliance. Notably, strategic alliances appear to be the most common form of strategic partnerships among large US corporations.
  • IMD and Simplicable highlight several other types of strategic partnerships, specifically: research & development, design, value added resellers and sustainability.
  • Separately, Powerlinx notes that strategic partnerships can be horizontal (e.g., partnership between competitors), vertical (e.g., supply chain partnerships) or intersectional (partnerships between businesses from different areas).

Other Notes / Takeaways

  • In addition to a public search, we scanned our proprietary research database of over 1 million sources and were unable to find any specific research reports that address the stated goals of this research.
  • However, based on publicly available information, it appears that strategic alliances (joint ventures, equity and non-equity) are the most common form of strategic partnerships among large US corporations.

Research proposal:

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