By Evan Carmichael on December 14th, 2010
A number of months ago I was interviewed by partnership marketing expert Ron Kunitzky for his upcoming book: “Partnership Marketing: How to Grow Your Business and Transform Your Brand Through Smart Collaboration”
The big idea behind the book is that as business owners we have limited resources. Your best chance of success is to leverage what you do really well and partner with other companies to do the rest.
Ron interviewed me because when I started my site I was writing all the content myself and it wasn’t a sustainable model for growth. It was when I started partnering up with other authors that my business took off. I expose them as experts and drive traffic to their websites while they provide me with content. My readers also get quality content so it’s a win-win-win relationship!
Ron’s book just hit the shelves and I managed to connect with him to ask a few questions about how to use partnerships to grow your business:
Evan: What inspired you to write Partnership Marketing?
Ron: I saw a ‘gap’ in the market and it became more and more apparent to me as time went on that as much as there were books out there on co-branding, loyalty, co-marketing and licensing to name a few, that there was nothing covering the topic of Partnership Marketing as a whole. Most entrepreneurs have a pretty good handle over the tactical and transactional types of marketing activities they can undertake to grow their business, but rarely have I found those who truly leverage collaboration and partnerships in the ways that they could. My hope is that “Partnership Marketing” (Wiley) helps them to closely examine their brand, products and other assets (whether B2B or B2C) and determine what they have to leverage in a partnership and discover which types of marketing partnerships are most aligned to their type of business.
Evan: How does a business owner decide who would make a good partner for them?
The decision to partner with someone else should be purely based on their ability to deliver for you and for you to deliver for them.
Ron: Partnership Marketing is about collaborating with another company/brand that can help you meet your sales and marketing objectives while you help too. The decision to partner with someone else should be purely based on their ability to deliver for you and for you to deliver for them. I speak about this in my Chapter called ‘ECP’ (Economic Connection as Partners) and the importance of having a strong one. If they have products, customers, reach to your target audience, content and revenue generating opportunities for you to leverage and you do for them and the opportunity is sizeable on both sides, then it’s likely a good fit. If you don’t see it delivering economic value, then step aside.
Evan: What’s the best way to approach a potential partner who has never heard of you before?
Ron: That’s a great question. If they have not heard of you or your business, it doesn’t mean that you have nothing to offer them in a marketing partnership. My advice is to call them up and introduce yourself and start by learning more about their business and identifying the strategic fit between what they want to achieve and how you may be able to help them get there. If you can come up with a compelling concept for partnering that will really hit home for them and impact their business positively, then they will very quickly become all ears. Just be sure that you can deliver on what you are proposing because there is no sense going down the road if there isn’t light at the end of the tunnel.
Evan: What are some examples of how partnership marketing can help you generate revenue?
Ron: I talk about this in the book. There are only three (3) ways to increase revenues and grow a business.
1) Add new customers
By partnering with another company/brand that already has your target audience as their customers, you can effectively target them with offers on your products and convert them to your customers.
2) Increase transactional value from existing customers
You can bundle products from partner brands with your products to increase the value of your offering and increase sales value.
3) Increase number of transactions from existing customers.
You can have customers buy more products or services from you by ‘white labeling’ them from partner brands and increase the number of transactions customers make with you.
The only other way to generate more revenue is to merge your business with another or acquire one, but that sits outside of Partnership Marketing.
Evan: How about some examples where entrepreneurs can save money?
By partnering, you can reduce your overall costs in acquiring new customers for your business by leveraging the marketing that a partner brand is already doing to customers (your target audience).
Ron: Entrepreneurs can save money in how they market their business by reducing customer acquisition costs. You may need to keep advertising and doing direct marketing and leveraging online marketing tactics like SEM yet those are transactional based marketing activities and everyone knows there is a cost associated to them. By partnering, you can reduce your overall costs in acquiring new customers for your business by leveraging the marketing that a partner brand is already doing to customers (your target audience) by piggybacking off it with a special offer or a free trial of your product and offering value back to the partner brand in return. Without having to spend on the marketing activities themselves, you can save quite a bit of money that way.
Evan: Where do you see the future of partnership marketing going? How can entrepreneurs best prepare themselves?
Ron: The future is bright and at the same time it’s digital. Online and mobile marketing will become even more of a necessity over time and digital collaborations are a great way to extend your reach to prospective customers. It’s more cost effective than producing collateral for traditional offline activities and can accelerate business growth because of timely nature of our digital world. I recently read that almost fifty (50) percent of small businesses in my home country of Canada are still not online. In the future, you will have to be online in order to practice Partnership Marketing effectively, because that’s where it’s all heading.
If you’re interested, you can buy Partnership Marketing through this link: http://www.amazon.com/Partnership-Marketing-Business-Transform-Collaboration/dp/0470676701/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1291483975&sr=8-1
Readers, what do you think about Ron’s ideas? How have you used partnerships to grow your business or what are your plans to partner up in the year ahead? I’d love to hear your feedback if you leave a comment below!
Tags: assets, b2b, b2c, big idea, business owner, business owners, co branding, collaboration, drive traffic, gap, how to grow your business, limited resources, loyalty, marketing objectives, partnership marketing, partnerships, quality content, sales and marketing, shelves, strong one, sustainable model, target audience, types of marketing, wiley