April 23, 2014

Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business

Marketing partners can kick your growth into high gear

Ron Stein | 2/24/2014

Leveraging the strengths of your business maximizes your advantage in the marketplace. There are many strategies your company can exploit to stay a step ahead of competitors. First to market, broad selection of services, highest quality products, and customer convenience are just a few of the ways.

Yet, there is another type of leverage that can be many times more powerful; leveraging the strengths of other companies.

Working closely with another business allows you to “borrow” the influence they’ve established with their audience. Giving them access to the clout you have with your audience creates a real win-win business situation.

These relationships have all kinds of labels and forms -- strategic marketing alliances, joint ventures, affiliate marketing, and co-marketing collaboration. Taking this a step further, the business models include the different ways joint resources are applied to co-branding, promotions, distribution, and licensing of products and service.

Marketing partners can help each other grow revenue at a very low cost. You’ll increase the number of prospects and customers promotional efforts touch and It spreads out the marketing workload.

And here’s the best part -- the audience you serve now has more choices. Customers benefit from the added value your marketing partner creates, boosting your relationship with customers. That strengthens your brand.

But, relationships like these can’t be with just any other type of business. You’ll need to find companies that cater to the same audience and are not in direct competition. That’s not all. The best high performance business relationships are in alignment on several levels. And, it helps if you like each other.

Here are a few rules for identifying, connecting, and partnering with other businesses to kick your growth into high gear.

Make it a three-way win. Usually it all comes down to reaching more prospective customers in a way that makes sense for both them and your business. But, now there’s a third dimension -- it must also make sense for your potential marketing partners too. Consider the problems you can solve for your market if you just had something else of value to offer that complements and helps to complete your current product or service. Think about what problems you can solve for prospective marketing partners and what they can solve for you. In order for it to work there must be equal value in it for both companies and customers must easily understand the strategy.

Select partners that fit like a glove. Create a checklist of attributes that are ideal for you in a marketing partner and what you can offer them. List how the combination of your offering and the right partner’s offering can fill a hole in the market and differentiate each company. Be clear about how a strategic marketing relationship will meet your overall business objectives. Now, search LinkedIn, Florida Trend magazine, the local press, trade journals, and elsewhere for other companies that can increase marketing exposure to your target market. Ask your customers what other products or services they are looking for and to identify a business that has those goods. Dive into the content on their website and get to know them. Get ready to reach out to the leaders of these companies with a sincere and personalized approach.

Create an alliance road map. Before you make that first phone call lay out your partner proposal and support plan -- how you’ll work with partners and what you expect from them. Make it easy for the joint relationship to flourish by recognizing that nobody knows your products, services, content, and programs better than you. Inspire partners by helping them help you with the marketing copy they will use to promote you. Then determine what you are willing to contribute in terms of time and resources. For instance, do you have compelling content that you normally charge for, but are agreeable to co-branding, maybe even give away, because it provides genuine value to their customer base and showcases your brilliance? If both partners can increase revenues with little or no additional promotional costs, then it’s worth doing. Finally, plan to keep communications wide open and assess all joint activity with your partner regularly.

Stop doing business alone and start teaming up. A partnership strategy can help you grow your business at a very low cost -- and give the edge needed to compete with larger players in your market.

Be creative. Explore and establish mutually beneficial relationships with companies outside of your normal sphere of business. Just as long as they have an audience that is perfect for you and you have a product or service that can benefit them.

What other businesses can you find that have a big list of followers who are hungry to discover what you have to help them? (Comments welcome -- use the field below.)


Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com) and the author of the Rapid Impact Marketing & Selling Playbook. As a speaker, coach, and consultant he works with small business owners helping them to accelerate the path between their vision and the actions needed to reach, win, and keep customers. Ron is the creator of the FastPath to More Customers Now! 7-step marketing system based on more than twenty years as a successful business owner, corporate CEO, business development executive, and salesman. He is also a mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.

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