Write a partnership agreement

Business Benefits

Ensure both you and your marketing partner are being rewarded fairly for your marketing partnership. 


List the general identifying information of the partnership.

Before writing a partnership agreement from scratch, or taking a marketing partnership agreement template and customizing it to your needs, you need to have clarity on all the details that will be going into it. List the general identifying information for your company or brand, and the partnering company or brand. Include:

  • Internal name for the partnership for example: Nike + NBA Co-Marketing Campaign 2022.
  • Legal names of any entities that are involved in the marketing partnership.
  • Names of the primary decision makers in the partnership, such as the CEOs, CMOs or creative leaders.
  • Primary location and contact information for all entities and primary decision makers.

Identify the marketing goals for each party involved in the partnership.

The ideal co-marketing campaign has shared goals, with potential adjustments based on the unique needs of each involved partner. For example:

  • Growing total views for each partner’s YouTube channel.
  • Increasing the number of followers for each partner’s Instagram account.
  • Increasing traffic to a specific shared landing page.
  • Growing the number of top-of-funnel contacts in each partner’s lead generation funnel.

Write down a clear, specific goal that is shared between the involved partners, plus any customizable details unique to a partner. For example, if the shared goal is an increased number of TikTok views for each partner’s TikTok account, write down the URLs for the partners’ TikTok accounts.

Identify the roles and responsibilities of each partner, including the content or creative work that each partner will create or promote.

Delineate the roles, responsibilities, and corresponding authority of each partner. In most co-marketing agreements, each partner will be responsible for creating unique content, as well as promoting the shared initiative. Get clear on:

  • The type of content, and the content theme, that each partner will create.
  • The ways each partner will share and market the content to their audience.

For example, when camera brand GoPro and energy drink company Red Bull ran their recent Stratos co-branding campaign, Red Bull was responsible for creating on-brand events, GoPro provided the athletes and filming equipment, and both companies shared the resulting videos and stories to their respective audiences.

For each role a partner fills, detail the corresponding:

  • Duties: Discuss the fiduciary duty partners have to the partnership and each other. Each partner is liable for obligations other partners create. Partners must live up to them, or they could face significant legal liability.
  • Obligations: List what resources each partner pledges to contribute to keep the business operating in the future, such as time, assets, or services. Consider listing any external obligations partners may have made regarding the partnership.
  • Expectations: Partners should avoid conflicts of interest and alert other partners should one arise. Another topic could be instances where unanimous votes among partners are necessary to pass a proposal.

Set specific timelines and deadlines for the start and end of the marketing partnership, including any key milestones required.

Some co-marketing partnerships will require very strict timelines. For instance, Adidas and Kanye West’s Yeezy co-branded efforts are heavily dependent on short production runs and big launch events.

Even if your partnership is not as deadline driven, establish clear timelines for the partnership’s overarching duration. Discuss with your internal stakeholders, as well as your partners, because timelines will also be dependent on creative production, design, filming, landing page creation, and similar operational goals.

Define the expectations and processes for the management of the partnership, including how marketing metrics are reported.

At a minimum, document:

  • Record-keeping expectations.
  • Bookkeeping expectations.
  • Data sharing expectations.
  • Ownership of creative content and assets, for example, who owns the copyright of any co-branded YouTube videos?
  • Lead sharing agreements, if applicable. For example, if one of you is responsible for building and operating the landing page, it must be noted down how the collected leads are handed over to the involved partners.
  • Reporting plans for web traffic, emails collected, video views, social media followers, and any other KPIs required to indicate success of your partnership.

Detail the rules for leaving, joining, and operating as a partner within the partnership.

Describe the process for changing membership in the partnership. Document the general rules partners must follow. Other topics to include are:

  • Requirements and process for joining the partnership.
  • Any restrictions and permissions on external business activities.
  • Methods for leaving the partnership or removing associates.
  • Any buyout options if permitted.
  • Procedures for managing the retirement of a partner.
  • Steps for addressing the death of a member.
  • The terms, conditions, and actions required for dissolving the partnership.

Include a section to cover general legal concerns.

Seek legal counsel for advice on all the appropriate topics to include in this section, and figure out how to arbitrate disputes within the partnership. Make sure to list restrictions on any partner’s ability to transfer their interests to another. Identify which state or country will have jurisdiction over the agreement, particularly important if partners reside in different states.

Consult with a lawyer to write a legally binding agreement, or use a downloadable template.

Because marketing partnership agreements are legal documents with significant business risks for all involved parties, it’s wise to consult with a legal professional. Alternatively, if you choose to write a marketing partnership agreement on your own, start with a pre-formulated template, such as the ones provided by Examples.com or Rocketlawyer. Remove all blank lines and generic examples, and customize the template with your relevant information.

Review and endorse the co-marketing partnership agreement.

All partners must sign and date the agreement for it to be legally valid.