Get real...advertising has changed. Open your mind to Partnering!

I had a rather lengthy conversation earlier today – I won’t mention any names – but effectively, I had been following up a potential partnership where there was specific synergy between a client’s business and the group I was talking with. Without going into too much detail – what surprised me was their ‘old fashioned’ view on partnerships and reciprocal promotion.

In a day when advertisers have never been more savvy, and have never had as many tools and resources to measure their advertising effectiveness, I was genuinely gobsmacked to hear that my proposals for cross linking and reciprocal

You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours...

promotion (you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours) were completely dismissed, because their modus operandi from an advertising perspective was purely based on paid ad sponsorship.

Of course, this is fine indeed if there is enough traffic and leverage to warrant big ticket ad spending - but surely nowadays we expect the people we spend our marketing and advertising budgets with to be able to provide us with some outline stats of what we can expect to receive for our money.

Indeed – this is why more and more ad spending has become based on a ‘CPL’  or ‘CPA’ – cost per lead, or cost per acquisition basis – because businesses, regardless of size, are hesitant to throw their money at online advertising (banner, content sponsorship etc) without any agreed return on investment.  With a cost conscious market – business should be looking at other ways to promote themselves.

A key area I really to advocate – which is far more mutually beneficial to both parties, is indeed the world of ‘Partnership Marketing’.

By this I mean linking and ‘partnering’ with other businesses that have specific synergy.  You both have the same audience – but offer different services / products.  Find a partner with this specific synergy and 1) you can promote their relevant services to your customers and 2) they will promote your services to their.  Immediately creating a prospect base which is targeted – and is being ‘introduced’ by someone that audience potentially ‘trusts’ rather than a ‘cold sell’.

And of course, rather than do this on a ‘one hit wonder’ basis (which almost never works) – the partnership should continue for a period of time.

So let’s take a look at some examples of what works from a Partnership perspective:

1) Added Value

One great example is one of my clients, The Made Simple Group – who within their group of online solutions for the start up and small business community, have the award winning – a company formation site.  Google have partnered with The Made Simple Group for a number of years now, as they clearly see the benefits of offering Google Adwords vouchers to businesses that are just starting out in business – educating and advising on how to get noticed online and providing them with a voucher to try our Adwords.  This presents The Made Simple Group with a relevant added value offering and a great brand (Google) to promote on their sites.

2) Relevant Reciprocation

What I’m talking about here is businesses using each others’ platforms to broaden their relevant messages.  For example – let’s take the start up audience again.   Start Up Community is running a campaign to help new businesses ‘Get Online for Business’  - they are partnering with other players in the start up community – from company formations, to event sites for start ups and advice sites for start ups.  Start Up Community also has their own start up cCommunity – so they too can offer the people that are promoting their Get Online for Business campaign – an opportunity to promote their services / products to their audience. 3.   Expert Promotion If you have a website or service where there is an accepted ‘expert’ – then partnering with this expert to promote their views, services etc can be very beneficial for your audience.  Similarly, the expert may also be able to promote what you do to their audience, again, via their site, their services, or blog etc. In a time when businesses are extremely cost conscious about advertising spend – and are looking for a more accountable advertising solution – then ‘partnering’  can provide a mutually beneficial means of getting out there.

There are so many positives – and it’s certainly not a new concept.  Partnership Marketing has been around since time began – people recommending other’s services – finding influencers and working together makes complete sense.

Of course, the key to all partnering activity is relevancy – it’s got to make sense.

So take some time – have a think about who in your arena would be good to partner with – figure out what you want from them, and what you could offer in return.  And then fix up a meeting to discuss your proposition and listen and learn what they want too.

Open your mind to partnering… get it right and it could be the start of a beautiful relationship!

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Best wishes

Michelle Carvill

Michelle Carvill is owner and Marketing Director at Carvill Creative - a graphic design and marketing services agency based in Maidenhead, Berkshire.  The agency covers all aspects of graphic design and marketing - covering social media marketing and website planning and website design.