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Successful Partner Marketing Begins with Listening

Christina Carey Dunleavy

Christina Carey Dunleavy

VP of Portfolio Integrated Marketing at Discovery

Christina Carey Dunleavy, Discovery

Taking a keen interest in the overall needs of your partners allows for meaningful and trusted relationships. You’re able to pivot and deliver on those needs while still accomplishing each other’s goals.

Quartz Network Executive Correspondent Britt Erler sat down with Christina Carey Dunleavy, VP of Portfolio Integrated Marketing and Partnerships at Discovery to discuss the benefits of working with partners from a place of empathy.

Christina shares ways to:

  • Create effective partnerships with total team alignment
  • Showcase power, purpose and accomplishment to get to “Yes”
  • Always seek the solution to a problem

Quartz Network: Can you tell me more about your role with Discovery and the function of your team?

Christina Carey Dunleavy: Sure. Myself and my team, we are integrated marketing from a portfolio standpoint. So, what we’re really doing is finding authentic organic intersections between our brand and our advertisers brand for our shared consumers.

Quartz Network: What are some of the key drivers of managing these advertiser partnerships and relationships from a marketing perspective?

Christina Carey Dunleavy: Firstly, active listening. When we’re in marketing, our drive is to come up with solutions. We tend to be very reactive in that way. So really taking a moment and listening to what the advertiser is saying, and what is the root problem.

Active listening can be hard for marketers because we just want to solve the problem. But what happens is the conversation tends to shift as you ask questions. So, if we take a minute to listen, and then respond, that helps a great deal.

Also taking keen interest in their business, and their overall needs and expectations. There is great success that can come from understanding what success looks like to them. What their KPIs are. You can almost work backwards when you understand what those needs are. Then, you can react to them in a real, purposeful way.

Then, empathy. It’s so critical to how we do business to understand where they’re coming from. They have demands coming at them as well. Really understand how that could change an idea fractionally or greatly. Put yourself in their shoes to understand what they’re going through in their business. It just helps, by leaps and bounds.

The last thing, and this is so critical to me. An advertiser is touched by so many business partners. You want to make sure you are sharing information with your internal teams. So, anyone that touches that advertiser’s business knows what you know. That information is being circulated so we are connected internally. We are aligned when we’re going externally to all the different touch points of that advertiser.  

Quartz Network: What are some of the key takeaways that you really gained from this approach to advertiser relationships?

Christina Carey Dunleavy: I’ve learned a lot from the idea of relationships and partnerships. One thing is people tend to think that sometimes “No” is the easier path. Yet, it’s coming up with the ways to evolve this scenario, and the partnership to get to the “Yes.” That, to me, showcases power, purpose and accomplishment.

That is what is remembered and appreciated by advertisers, that you’re not giving up, that you’re always striving to get to the place that is really going to help shift their business.

There is always a solution to a problem. I tell my young child that all the time. It’s something that I innately believe. Having these relationships and insights, you’re ultimately able to determine the best ways to pivot, and still deliver on each party’s business needs and goals. I think that’s important as well.

Remember that, even with this approach, where you’re building relationships with these partnerships, that doesn’t mean one is losing out to the other. It is about mutual benefit. So there are goals and priority priorities for each side, each party. Those definitely need to be met. I think, in a well working partnership, that is very much understood that the advertiser knows that you have priority that need to be hit, and that you understand their business needs, and just how does it connect, how does it all work together in a significant way.

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