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A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: Creating marketing partnerships

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Simone Novello is an ex-corporate entrepreneur who has specialised in strategic alliances and marketing partnerships for nearly two decades.

Simone explains her approach to marketing this way:

Would you rather try and make 1,000 sales to potential customers one at a time?

Or would you prefer to get a great relationship with one organization who already has 1,000 ideal customers. And have this organization then endorse and recommend your business to these customers?

Simone has found that most businesses can benefit from setting up strategic alliances and marketing partnerships.

Here is an example:
One of her clients was an iconic Australian confectionery brand that was suffering from years of declining sales in an increasingly competitive market.

They didn't have the marketing budgets of some of their larger competitors so Simone got extremely innovative and used existing assets to create some incredible outcomes.
The objective for her client was simple:

To increase sales and brand awareness among newer generations.

They had two target markets:

1: 35-55 year old females
2: Young males

Simone started by looking at the existing assets of this confectionery client.

They had a confectionery factory in a major city
They had an iconic brand with a range of much loved products (nostalgia)
They have a strong retail footprint with 100 stores nationally
They have a master confectioner 30+ years with the company

The marketing strategies they chose were simple:
Build assets by breaking a Guinness World Record generating valuable PR;

Re-purpose the confectionary manufacturing facility into a Willy Wonka style VIP factory experience and invite key decision makers from leading airlines, banks, retail and loyalty marketing agencies;

Produce gift cards for sale via wholesale channels (i.e. to the members of large loyalty programs in exchange for their loyalty points);

Partner with large loyalty programs in retail, airline and banking;

Seek out aligned brands to reach the desired target market and increase sales during quiet trading periods such as winter.

The following outcomes were achieved within 12 months:
In one year over $1 million in incremental marketing exposure was secured through partners

They reached over 10 million people through loyalty program partnerships

Brand leverage of most of Australia's leading brands including strategic alignment with the high profile super-model ambassador of an iconic department store chain

Annual gift card sales were doubled in just 6 months through the new wholesale channel alone (compared with all traditional retail channels!)

Sales through the partnerships increased by 140% while the organic sales of the company decreased;

Tactical partnerships (such as a ski resort) increased the subscriber database by 30% while driving more customers in stores during a very quiet sales period and attracting a more youthful base.

There is a formula Simone follows which she has developed over the last 2 decades of working within her own and client businesses - from large global corporate brands to small and medium businesses to start ups.

It has six steps.

Step 1: Get partner ready
Start by defining your objectives, target market and values. This ensures you'll set clear foundations for your strategic alliance strategy.
You then need to take a good look at your business to understand the stage you're at and the level of growth you can handle - this determines your alliance plan and targets.

Step 2: Amplify your assets
Here you get clear on what you have to offer and how you can increase your attractiveness to prospective partners.

Step 3: Pinpoint the right partners
Uncover and identify suitable partner prospects and where to find them.

Step 4: Work out your offering
Understand the different types of alliances so you can start to explore and define what structure and offer will best suit your business and partner prospects.

Step 5: Seal the deal
Start opening doors and securing meetings with prospective partners.

Step 6: Happily ever after
Know the different types of agreements, what you should be measuring, and how you should manage and build on your alliances ongoing.


The good news is that all these steps are relatively easy to learn and apply for most businesses.

'The path to greatness is along with others.' -Baltasar Gracián y Morales

Action Exercise:
Simone has a helpful free report on setting up strategic alliances and marketing partnerhships that you may like to read.

It's available from her website

Graham McGregor is a consultant specialising in memorable marketing. You can download his 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage' Ebook at no charge from www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com

Graham McGregor

A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

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