I came across a blog the other day written several years ago by Al Lautenslager for Entrepreneur.com.
He tells a story of walking into the dry cleaners and finding a $5-off coupon for the pizza joint a few doors away. Deciding to enjoy some pizza, he walks to the pizza place to redeem the coupon and there on the counter he finds a $5-off coupon for the dry cleaner. This might be called reciprocal marketing or, as Al suggests, fusion marketing. Whatever you call it, it makes sense.
Finding a power partner – someone in a non-competing business that markets to your same demographics – provides you with a powerful collaboration tool for promoting your business. Instead of working alone to promote your products or services, you are able to cast a wider net.
So how can you find power partners and set up a mutually beneficial arrangement?
- Identify compatible businesses. Since a power partner is someone interested in connecting with your customers, consider which businesses your customers might have a need to use. In the case of the dry cleaner and pizza parlor, the relationship is based on proximity. However, compatible relationships also are related by industry such as a realtor, mortgage broker, and lender. And if you want to know who to partner with, try asking your customers.
- Identify how many. Knowing how many partners to have is as important as knowing who to invite to be a partner. You’ll want to keep your referrals to a manageable number in order to maintain the quality of the referral and in order to not over commit yourself. You can have 4-5 key high quality class “A” power partners, and then 8-10 other referral partners.
- Identify the offer. Once you have developed a relationship with a power partner, you’ll need to determine what you can offer. It may be unrelated, as in the dry cleaner and pizza parlor story, or it may be more formal as in offering percentage discounts if both services are used.
Naturally, you’ll want to market your mutually rewarding relationship in marketing materials, press releases, advertising campaigns, e-newsletters and other communiqués.
Truly useful power partnerships take time to develop and require time to maintain. The first step after identifying the ideal power partner is to make sure both of you knows what you want in the end. – start with the end in mind. Create your conditions of success for the relationship. This will set the tone for the future work together.
Learning to do this takes time and effort. We can help set the strategy, the contracts and the methods to track your successful relationships. We can help you find successful partnering solutions for your business so that you can achieve top line revenue growth. Contact us today to learn more about how to develop the best power partners for your organization.