For the past 18 months, everybody’s marketing budget has been pretty slim (if you’re lucky enough to even have had a marketing budget).
This has forced companies to make tough decisions on how to generate leads and revenue while faced with declining marketing resources.
One area that is a potential bumper crop of leads is partnerships.
Partnerships or strategic alliances is a low-cost and very effective way to create a steady stream of leads.
There are 2 forms of partnerships, generally speaking:
1. Vendor. These are where smaller firms join established industry leaders who may have formal partner programs. Examples of these include Microsoft Partnership Program, HP, Dell, etc. Benefits include discounts, networking, support, sneak peeks, industry events and credibility.
2. Complementary. This is my particular favorite. It requires more work than Vendors, but the payoff could be much bigger. These types of partnerships are meant to do one thing and one thing only: increase your leads.Find businesses that go after the same prospects you do but with complementary services.
So in Firecracker’s case, we offer PR and marketing to small/mid-sized companies. What do these companies also consume? Web hosting, accounting, sales support and so on. Our services are a good complementary fit for what they offer while not directly competing with them.
The major benefits to setting up complementary partnerships include:
-immediately tap into new sources of leads
-gain the instant credibility that quality referrals offer
-give partners the ability to instantly offer a portfolio of new services for their clients
-add a new revenue stream for them with little to no work
-diversify their business offerings through complementary services
So what kind of partnerships can you set up?
1) Private Label. A private label service gives partners the ability to add new offerings to their branded portfolio, sold under their company umbrella. Services/products are then marked up by partners. Support is usually offered by you.
2. Referral Profit Program. Partners earn referral fees based on the amount they spend with you. It could be one-time or ongoing. These tend to be less structured than formal affiliate programs…speaking ofwhich…
3. Affiliate Programs. Affiliates promote you mainly online, using banner ads, SEO, paid search, etc. For the initiates, affiliate programs can be tricky to set up and manage.
4. Simple Referrals. Informal, no referral fees, nothing. Sometimes you just want to refer a valuable client to a trusted provider.
For 2010, think hard about areas where you can partner your way to success.
Edward Yang | Firecracker
“Where Marketing and PR Ignite!”