Building strategic partnerships are in my opinion one of the smartest marketing moves you can make in these tough times. But there are basic rules to building them and I would like to share them with you. Too many people forget about them and they need to start putting their feet in their partners’ shoes too!
1. Know why you are reaching out to whom you are reaching out. People’s time is extremely valuable, so if you decide to reach out to some marketing exec at a company, you have to make sure you know why his brand/company is a good fit for a partnership with your brand. To figure out if it’s the right fit, you need to consider basic elements such as target market, brand philosophy, brand’s marketing objectives, retail strategy, etc.
2. It’s not just about you. I know you think you already know this, but for most of you, you probably forget about it. I have talked to many people looking to develop strategic alliances, but all they talk about is them, them, them. Well, listen what. If you really care about partnering with me, I also want to hear about my brand and how your idea of partnering is going to benefit me.
3. Which leads to the basic “Do your homework”. Research what your potential partner is doing out there and what he is trying to accomplish. News articles, ad campaigns, brand website, blogs, etc. are all good resources for knowing more about the dream partner and what he is looking for.
4. Be True to your Words. There is nothing more annoying that those who want to do business with you and are terrible implementers. They forget to follow up, end up not doing what they said they would do, etc. Remember that when you start a partnership with a brand, it’s like if you were getting married. You have commitments to respect. You are not alone in this anymore and somebody else’s work is at stake. If you want to maintain a good relationship with your partner, respect the partnership, do what you say, be honest even if things haven’t worked the way you wanted or if things are taking longer than planned. In summary, always COMMUNICATE and DO WHAT YOU SAY.
“I have found no greater satisfaction than achieving success through honest dealing and strict adherence to the view that, for you to gain, those you deal with should gain as well.” – Alan Greenspan