Thinking of bringing on a new Marketing Partner? Here are the five (5) Pitfalls to avoid in order to increase your chances of success with your Partner Program
1. Core Brand Values " are you similar?
Do you see the world the same way? Do both you and your Marketing Partner believe in joint goal-setting, open communication, teamwork, and joint conflict resolution when problems arise? Better hope so, otherwise your Marketing Partnership will not flourish and will likely falter. You need to work together with your Marketing Partners to achieve greatness from your Partnership Marketing programs.
2. Goals " do you have the same goals?
Have you discussed the goals for your Partnership Marketing Program with your Marketing Partner? What are you looking to get out of it and what goal-orientated action steps are you taking with your partner to achieve your goals? Have you talked about how the goals (revenue, sales targets, branding, etc…) will be met and what the time lines are? Do you agree on the goals and can you effectively support each other to get there?
3. Facts " what do you know about each other?
Get the Facts! What do you know about your Marketing Partners business and do you know just as much about their business as you do your own or the business you are working for? Some people think this is overstated, but it's not. It's important to understand your Marketing Partners' products, how they market them and how they interact with customers. What channels do they use to market and what has been most effective? Get your handle on some key metrics so that your expectations for the program will be realistic and you can keep any unwanted surprises from happening!
4. Procedures " are you aligned?
What about your activities, tasks, processes and steps that you take to manage the Partnership Marketing program? Are they well aligned? Is there duplication? Who is responsible for what and are the responsibilities allocated according to strength or core competency? Think about what you are doing and if your procedures support the Marketing Partnership effectively or not.
5. Misinformation " are you getting the full story?
What is your partner sharing with you and do you really know what is happening on their end? I was once working on a Partner Marketing Program in a previous life and woke up one morning to read in the newspaper that the Partner Brand that I was working with had filed for bankruptcy! I had no clue that they were in trouble! Ensure that you are getting as much accurate and timely information as possible! Get it before it's too late!
Pitfalls like the ones above are what scare people the most about engaging in Partnership Marketing programs, yet by being aware of them and being proactive in your approach to ensure that all is 'in sync', you can easily mitigate the risk of any of them becoming a reality.
Ron Kunitzky, an expert in strategic business affiliations and partnerships and founder of Geyser Marketing Group " the Partnership Marketing Firm, and has successfully brokered partnership marketing programs for companies as varied as Coastal Contacts, Dell Computer, NASDAQ, and 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.