Kevin: Hi, I’m Kevin Danaher.
Danette: And I’m Danette Gossett, today we are going to continue our talk about partner marketing. In our last discussion we talked about why you should create strategic partnerships.
- you get to expand your audience
- you enhance your brand perception
- you increase your profits
- you create new products and market segments
Today, we want to have a more in-depth discussion about how to uncover what you can offer a partner because many of us feel we don’t have enough to offer. So, how do we do that Kevin?
Kevin: So, in business and in life you have to go with your strengths. You know, we always focus on what we can’t achieve. What do you have to offer a partner? So, I broke it down into different areas. You have customer segments, product benefits, your distribution channels, and your positioning.
Danette: Perfect, so, what are customer segments?
Kevin: Customer segments, you can segment customers in many ways. You can do it demographically, psychographically, you could do it by geographic areas, by behaviors or by industry.
Danette: Okay, I think most of us know what demographics and psychographics are. Basically, you are talking about what age bracket you are looking for, what income bracket you are looking for. From a psychographic perspective you’ll want to understand what would move someone to want to buy something. When I’m looking at industry or behavior, what would those segments look like?
Kevin: Well, industry is more of a business to business, so, if you are a healthcare provider and you want to reach an audience of people who maybe have a healthcare need, like maybe they have diabetes. You could actually go to the diabetic association and do a partnership with them.
Danette: Oh, okay. Alright, that makes a little bit of sense.
Kevin: That ties in with behavioral too, there might be people that are runners or maybe yoga enthusiasts, and you might have a product that would be perfect for them based on the demographic breakdown of the group.
Danette: Alright, well I think sports partnerships are very big in expanding a customer segment. I think a lot of companies are looking, you know like they want to get to that active lifestyle individual, or they want to be with those individuals that love their teams. That’s very easy either in a local market or in a national basis to have your product or service to try and get in with how to be branded with the team. Yes, there are some considerations where you have to get licensed in some instances, but some instances you don’t. But, you can have things that will work well in a sports partnership where you don’t even have to be part of the team maybe it’s just you are football oriented or you are baseball oriented.
Kevin: Look at Nike and basketball for example.
Kevin: They just produce a product that they know basketball fans love and basketball players love. They work with the NBA to provide the sneakers at a special deal, I believe that’s how they work. But, everybody now affiliates Nike with basketball.
Danette: Exactly. So, the next segment is product benefits, correct?
Kevin: Yes, so when we look at product benefits you have to look at the features of your product and how they benefit somebody. Is there an emotional benefit? For example, you could buy an oven to cook for your family and that’s basically a feature, but cooking a turkey for Thanksgiving shares the love with the entire family. You are touching an emotional core with people. If you could look at what emotional core you reach with people and tie that together, that’s the perfect type of sponsorship you want.
Danette: Yeah, and the partnership in that example would be you would potentially partner with either a company that sells turkeys or it could
be the whole Thanksgiving meal, or it could be cookware or dishes, furniture companies. You could build a whole partnership program around these various elements. That works out really well. Another thing I guess about product benefits and features is what pain do you solve? Because, a lot of people when you are looking at a product you want it to solve a certain problem or a certain pain that you are experiencing.
Kevin: That’s kind of popular in political campaigns. If you vote for them you are going to be in a lot of pain, if you vote for me, I’m going to give you lots of pleasure.
Danette: So, from a partnership perspective what am I looking for when I’m looking to partner with another person? From a strategic standpoint I am looking for them to help me increase that avoidance of pain.
Kevin: Right, so you really have to look at what comforts you offer and how you can go to someone else and see what pains they solve. For example, Band-Aid avoids pain because if you have a cut, you want to put a band aid on it. But, who would Band Aid want to partner with to erase pain? Bacitracin for example, a medicated cream.
Danette: That’s true, and there’s so many different ways that you can partner with someone to help explain or expand how you are avoiding pain.
Danette: I mean, it could be a financial institution, and what pain are you avoiding? You are avoiding bankruptcy. You could have a program with a mortgage company and your bank or a car dealership.
Kevin: A good example of that is retirement. A lot of people have a lot of fear around retirement if they are going to have enough money. So you partner with a financial institution or a bank or AARP or a senior organization or any organization that appears to somebody that has that worry and it alleviates that pain.
Danette: Exactly. That’s a great example, I love that! What’s our next area?
Kevin: Our next area is where your distribution channel is. Fr example, we have worked with on pact promotions, you buy a soap and on pact is a hand cream.
Danette: Or shampoo and you get the conditioner.
Kevin: Exactly. The deal is somebody has paid for that retail space and its very hard to get space in a brick and mortar store so if you can have a sample on their product you are associating with a brand and you are asking for the advantage of their space.
Danette: One of the things from that perspective is it gives you a wider audience. It goes back to some of the things we had talked about last time which was enhancing your brand perception. Because, if all of a sudden you are seen with someone else and it doesn’t necessarily have to go hand in hand but, I have actually purchased things where at first they didn’t seem to make sense to me but, the tie in actually did work in the sense that I’m trying to remember a few but I can’t right now.
Kevin: Shampoo and conditioner.
Danette: No, those go right together. I was thinking more of ones that aren’t quite so normal. So, another area about how we can uncover what a partner can provide or what you can provide to a partner is your distribution channel.
Kevin: That’s a good one. So, you can break that down into many different levels. You can talk about your retail shelf space that you have brick and mortar, online delivery systems, and direct selling for example.
Danette: So, from a brick and mortar perspective, what are a couple of examples of how I could sell a strategic partnership if I have a brick and mortar location, what does that look like?
Kevin: An example of that is many years ago computer manufacturers didn’t want to lower their prices but, they wanted to be able to compete during the holiday season. So, what they did is they partnered with different retail stores paying for a gift card if they bought your brand. You got a PC at regular retail price but here’s a gift card for hundreds of dollars off at the retailer.
Danette: That’s a great partnership, another one is for the summer time, we’re in the middle of the summer right now where if you buy a grill you get a certificate to order steaks or hotdogs or hamburgers that you can use on your grill. Both are really getting a big benefit because maybe I might not buy that grill normally but, if I do I’m actually going to have food that I get to cook on my grill.
Kevin: And that’s the whole point of sales promotions. You have a competitive set of grills Omaha steaks for example would be the motivating factor to get you to buy that grill.
Danette: Correct, that’s fabulous I really like that idea. Now, what about from an online perspective?
Kevin: Recently I was working with a non-profit and a lot of times non-profit believe that their cause is so great that you should just give. I would say, what are they going to get for giving?
Danette: The goodness of my heart, I just love it.
Kevin: A lot of non-profits have a pushback. I was working with this non-profit and I suggested that to them and they came up with a three-month period offering an e-book from the founder of the non-profit that they could send out electronically once you donated electronically. So, that was great because you don’t really get an e-book at a brick and mortar store, but that’s something that’s specific to online.
Danette: That’s fabulous and you also see online where people are sharing their Facebook followers or Facebook likes getting their lists on twitter, or Instagram or Pinterest. Where, okay I’m going to share my followers with you and you are going to share your followers with me and we get a broader audience so that we can get our program out there to more people.
Kevin: Right, being in this business, I research a lot of sweepstakes and I notice that a lot of company’s pair up doing a sweepstakes. I recently signed up for something that was a trip to Italy and in that was a pasta producer, a bread producer, a sauce producer and they all teamed together and now I get emails from all those entities.
Danette: That’s a perfect strategic partnership because now you know that maybe you bought the sauce and you wouldn’t have bought it before
Kevin: Right. I had never heard of these products and now I’m aware of it and looking for some of them.
Danette: And that’s what they wanted, they wanted to expand their base and they’ve got a better brand perception now because you equate them with your trip to Italy so they must be good because maybe they are Italian brands and this is great because I was just in Italy and I bought some olive oil and I’ve been looking for it here now. Now, that wasn’t a strategic partnership but if I was starting to get emails from somebody like that I would probably purchase it, so that’s fabulous. What is the next area that we need to be looking at when we are trying to explore what we can offer a partner?
Kevin: So, its positioning how you position your brand with your customers wants and needs. So, to be more specific. There are different types of positioning could be luxury or upscale positioning, could be a discount product for example in the airline industry southwest is the discount brand, even though they are a great brand they are happy to be the discount brand, and everybody knows them as that. It could be quality it could be based on a relationship; you know who buys what they sell or aspirational. So, there’s many different positioning’s that companies could have.
Danette: When you are looking at positioning, what’s a great example about putting a bunch of strategic partners together?
Kevin: Well, one thing that comes to mind is that when people get married it’s the wedding season now so everyone’s going after the bridal market. What do bridal markets need? They need flowers they need engagement rings they need honeymoons, brides and grooms I should say, gift registries so you see there’s lots of partnerships in that space.
Danette: Absolutely, I have a nephew that is a physical trainer and one of the things that he and I have talked about as a partnership program is he actually went to a local bridal show program and met with bridal companies and offered his services to the brides and the bridal parties at a discount he was able to get his list out to them they were able to give their list to his people and everybody was happy because the brides felt they had lost weight and everybody got discounts accordingly. So, it was a great partnership I’m sure a lot of physical trainers do that and go in after the bridal market because brides always want to look their best.
Kevin: Your example was great because you’re taking an emotional connection that people have, they’re getting married they want to look great and they were trying to avoid the pain of not being able to fit into their dress
Danette: Right, or having to have it let out just before the wedding
Kevin: And then you go into wedding venues and that could be by geographic and it could be by many different attributes so, that ties it all together. So, it’s really looking at what you have to offer and then offering it to people. One thing I wrote down here is make a list of features and practice writing benefits for each. So, if you start looking at the features your brand has for example, my oven cook’s food, but what about the benefits? I provide for a happy family or it provides for delicious birthday cakes it’s just many different emotional benefits that you have its love and joy and things like that.
Danette: Right. That’s a great exercise that I think if you’re looking to put together a strategic partnership program that you really should start with okay, what are the features that my product or service offers? And what are the benefits to each one of those features? If you take that exercise and really think about it, I think it will open up a lot of opportunities of different types of companies that you can go and talk to and when you are looking at a strategic partnership you don’t have to think big brand. You could be thinking about the restaurant down the street or your favorite bar or your favorite golf course or a resort depending on what you have to offer and what your benefits are for those features that you have then you can really, as you like to say, think outside the box. And really go after something that’s a little different and really set up a strategic partnership that’s going to expand your market.
Kevin: Yeah. With the bridal example that you had it could be a jewelry store that puts together a special valentine’s day promotion with a local restaurant and if someone wants to buy their sweetheart and engagement ring or a piece of jewelry and then you can celebrate at the restaurant. It’s all put together for you.
Danette: it’s all put together for you. You don’t even have to think; I think that’s fabulous.
Kevin: So, just in summary. Who is your customer? What are your benefits that your product provides? Where do you sell your product? You know, what the distribution channel is. And what’s your brand positioning? You know if you start focusing on those things you will be able to uncover a plethora of information about what kind of partners you could attract.
Danette: Exactly, and everybody would be happy. I think that’s great, thanks!
Her corporate marketing experience included National Advertising Director for Avis Rent a Car Systems, Inc., and Director of Marketing Services for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.
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