Building Marketing Alliances
- Meet with other business owners who are not competition and set up an alliance. The alliance may be an endorsement or a cross promotion. They can send out a mailer about your business on their letterhead to their database. You pay for the printing and postage. Co-op ads together.
- Determine your alliance possibilities both within your customer base and outside your customer base. Make it a mutual benefit for you and the alliance. Offer them your database.
- Begin testing. Mail letters, distribute and track cross promotions
An often overlooked, hidden marketing asset is the customer or client base of your business. As a new owner you will want to take a look at your customer base and see where the possible letters of endorsement might be found. A letter of endorsement simply means that your customers or clients would have a customer base that would make excellent prospects for your business. For example, your CPA firm would likely have several businesses within its client base that also could benefit from your product or services. A letter of endorsement would go from your CPA to his client base promoting your business. You will pay the expenses. You should also offer your customer base to your CPA and endorse his services to your customer base.
After you have exhausted the possibilities of finding additional customers within your customer base, efforts should be made to strike joint ventures or marketing alliances with similar customer bases. Setting up relationships with complimentary businesses or professional services can do this; for example, a high-end restaurant might do a joint marketing promotion with a high-end jeweler. Take a look at your customer base and examine relationships with like businesses that might have complimentary products or services.
Techniques that might work with marketing alliances are; exchange lists with other businesses, buy their mailing list, or offer a percentage of the business created from using their list. All of these arrangements will work. Before you roll out the full mailing list to be mailed, do a small test to get a feel for your offer. This test will allow you to adjust your mailer if your response was smaller than you thought it should be.
Examine your customer base. Then ask yourself the following questions. Which current customers are likely to have customers similar to my customers? Which businesses complement the product or service that I sell? Make a list of these customers.