For many small business owners, their company's fortunes will rise or fall on their ability to sell their product or service. Sometimes it can make sense to combine forces with a complementary player.

How does partnering save me money and get me more sales?

The idea of achieving maximum Return on Investment (ROI) through marketing is a key focus of all business but we can be tempted to do what we have always done to get by.

Partnering, an agreement between two or more parties to share profits and losses of an activity, and joint ventures (a contractual arrangement between two parties to complete a specific task) are fast becoming the first-choice of businesses looking for highly reactive customers who are already aligned with the qualities of each parties' product or service.


This arrangement also allows both parties to reduce costs through sharing, to grow their database and laser focus their promotional message for greater efficiency.

Examples of this are Red Bull energy drink and extreme sports or music promoters. Red Bull can endorse or sell tickets to the sports or music event through its website or planned media spend, and the event promoter uses it for preferred drink supplier and also brands the staging, staff and propaganda.

Corporate examples of this include accountancy firms sponsoring business speakers promoting business growth and development. This will ultimately take financial planning and support to achieve.

All parties get excellent brand and product exposure combined with an experience that connects with the desires and needs of the audience and, if planned correctly, should lead to an increased supply of qualified prospects.

Will sharing your database communication with another company message upset your customers?

If your co-promotional message relieves your customers' needs, gives them a solution to a pressing problem and provides great value they will appreciate it. If not, they won't.

Copywriting and database segmentation are the keys to ensuring you are speaking to the right group, with the right offer, in the right language.

In order to do this you must understand your customer behaviour, their pains, their language and aspirations.


Plan your communication carefully with your potential partner to ensure you are both connecting with your messages and that it provides value for both audiences.

What are the qualities I should seek in a potential partner?

The ideal partner is a non-competitive, demographically aligned business you know of which consistently offers value to its audience/database through its communication.

You must ensure it consistently communicates to its database. A lot of companies have large databases that are totally unreactive due to infrequent messages, or their communication is a blatant sales pitch with limited relationship-building content.

Ask your potential partner to show you the recipient "open rate" of their past three or four messages.

A small but highly reactive database could be a better partner than a partner with a list 10 times the size with poor quality. A good example of ideal potential partners could be a luxury suit retailer and a business class air-travel operator.

What are the three most effective forms of promotional partnering I can do?
* A low-cost entertaining, educational, high-value speaking live event or webinar with a "call to action" at the end of the event.

* Message/ad swap. Put a high-value promotional article or advertisement in your partner's communication with a clear "call to action", and vice versa.

* Sponsorship. Get a partner to brand offline and online communication, apparel, stationery, event naming, event segments, and in return get the opportunity to communicate to its database or vice versa.


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