Sharing marketing campaigns across companies decreases costs, increases advertising quality and drives market penetration. But choosing the right partner can be difficult. A great marketing partnership should build both companies’ brand reputations. Choosing poorly could result in a downturn in the marketing strategy. When creating your marketing partnership, learn lessons from these companies to help you choose wisely.
Make Competition Into an Ally
The airline industry is a fascinating case study in collaborative competition. Airlines share physical space, outsourced services and operating networks that are linked to overall market distribution. The main reason airlines can do this is because of the high costs associated with moving into a new market. Physical space alone can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly. Instead, competing airlines use alliance revenue management and codesharing to offer flights throughout the world with other providers. This gives the consumer the best experience, while enabling the airline to retain revenue. When selecting a marketing partner, look for a company that can increase your market share by leveraging its market.
Expand Social Responsibility
Starbucks, Levi’s and Hershey’s have each used marketing partners to enhance their brand reputations around corporate social responsibility. Creating a socially responsible company goes beyond donating large sums of money, though that does not hurt. Hershey’s partners with big-name philanthropic groups, like the Children’s Miracle Network, in such a way that it is able to wrap its chocolatey image into a worldwide response to childhood hunger and rural learning. This choice for a marketing partner opens a company up to relatively inexpensive media coverage, but it requires a company-wide commitment to the partnership.
Use Existing News
Some technologies come with built-in marketing. This is the case with virtual reality, as it takes center stage at comic book conventions, consumer electronic shows and healthcare expos. This is one of the reasons that smartphone technologist HTC has partnered with virtual reality pioneer Valve to deliver mobile VR gaming and applications. HTC’s high-resolution smartphones are ideal for Valve’s VR streaming technology. This partnership gives HTC all of the leverage associated with cutting-edge tech news in an organic, natural manner.
Keep It Legal
Because strategic partnerships can change the way people think about a product, industry or philosophy, they have the characteristic of pushing the ethical and political limits. For example, partnerships between filmmakers, researchers and economists have gone a long way in changing cannabis legislation nationwide. If chosen poorly, a partner can lead a company down a dark path. This is what happened in the healthcare world when medical providers came together to illicitly market anti-obesity drugs that promised miracle cures to the most vulnerable. Now they are being called out as snake oil salespeople, preying on the needy. Be careful of marketing partners that are pushing the envelope too hard. If you are not one-hundred percent in agreement, then it is not the right partnership for your company.
Know the Role of Trust
In the book “The Routledge Companion to Financial Services Marketing,” trust is described as a willingness to accept the vulnerabilities of the other party based on the belief that the partner has the ability to perform to everyone’s mutual benefit. The most important aspect in choosing the right partner is that your company can trust in both the benefits and vulnerabilities of the partner. Find partners that you can trust with the good and the bad.