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Strategic Marketing Partnerships To Drive Post-Pandemic Growth

Just as individuals, businesses that find mates will be healthier and happier because they can share and leverage precious resources.

June 12, 2021 / 09:34 AM IST

The pandemic has wreaked havoc in the economy and in order to drive growth without spending too much, businesses must turn to strategic partnerships.

Just as individuals, businesses that find mates will be healthier and happier because they can share and leverage precious resources. Some thoughts to trigger possibilities for every business:

Pooling ad budgets. Find a non-competing, complementary entity with which you can share a theme. A health diet centre and a fitness centre can split the cost of a campaign focused on removing excess fat accumulated due to lockdowns and inactivity, or getting in shape for living happier. Similarly, a cosmetic dentist and plastic surgeon can combine their resources for a look-your-best campaign. Or, a cosmetics manufacturer can tie up with a dietician and a fitness centre to promote an anti-ageing campaign. A plumbing supplier and landscaper can mount a radio campaign encouraging people to conserve water by replacing thirsty fixtures and greenery. By sharing a 100 sq cm advertisement instead of putting two separate 50 sq cm ads, both advertisers will enjoy better OTS for less.

Swapping mailing lists. Specialised lists epitomise target marketing but can be costly. Suppliers of home security systems and consumer medical equipment such as oxygen concentrators can trade rosters to expand their markets, as can a commercial insurance broker and temp agency. Appliances marketers can tie up with credit card marketers for identifying target customers in offering customised deals. Construction companies can benefit from a tie up with financial institutions.

Sharing display space. Automobile dealers should sell the experience, not the wheels. Picture this showroom display: A new SUV comes packed with camping gear. Nearby, two rugged mannequins, outfitted in waders and vests, are spin-casting. This set would simultaneously bag customers for the participating sporting goods store, which might even offer the displayed items as drawing prizes. Entry blanks available at the dealership would have to be deposited in a box at the sporting goods store. Just about any firm that uses display space should consider co-promotional opportunities. You could be in any business, and there are ample opportunities to do this. For instance, many retailers in FMCG persuade manufacturers to do this quite frequently. In fact, if you want to participate in a major exhibition of industrial goods and find that the investment involved is too high, you could look for suitable partners to share costs with. The only thing you should keep in mind is that this partner must be complementing your offering. If you are a supplier of seating mechanism to car manufacturers, you could partner with an accessory supplier while participating in an automobile trade show.


Literature racks can be shared. The lobby and waiting room captives will read virtually anything although these days this is ebbing with smartphone proliferation. Similarly, business-card holders can be placed on counters and desks. Webpage designers and quick-print shops are proven partners. Advertising agencies and design studios can form partnership. In fact, service providers can easily tie up with other service providers or retailers. Hotels and airlines get into such partnerships very often. Banks also have joined them recently in using hotel check out counters to display their literature.

Inserting promotional items. A bookstore might tuck a beauty salon coupon into its shopping bags, while the beauty salon encloses best-seller book circulars on its counters. After all, both entities target the leisure market. A consumer promo of a talcum powder can be done through insertions of discount coupons in a similarly fast moving item such as a fairness cream or shampoo. B2B (business to business) marketers can think of a bundled offer when they supply, say, some heating elements to end user industries.

muneer column smart growthStatement stuffers are effective. A local brokerage firm and travel agency mutually profited by recognising that each relies heavily on executives and affluent retirees. The brokerage inserted an enticing cruise leaflet in its statements, and the travel agency enclosed a flier about tax-free bonds in its ticket envelopes. Credit card statements can accompany special offer leaflets of another marketer. Tie up with telephone companies will also be very lucrative for many marketers. No one has so far done that – I wonder why.

Co-sponsoring booths and events. Some event promoters allow multiple exhibitors to rotate within one space, solving staffing problems of small firms. Seminars also are lucrative opportunities, especially for professional service firms. For instance, a psychotherapist and holistic healer can stage a stress-buster seminar.

Collaborative promotions. Why shouldn't two companies share exposure on calendars, coffee mugs, and myriad other BTL materials? A tie-in slogan like "Refreshment for body and mind!" can be good for an aerated drink and a deodorant. An apparel brand can explore such sharing with watch brands or perfume brands. The possibilities are endless.

Bundling products and services. Dinner at a fine restaurant and movie tickets are an unbeatable combination, especially when a discount is promoted in ads. Here again, there is no limit. It is only limited by your imagination and persuasion power.

Readers are invited to write in with their own ideas on such strategic marketing partnerships. Who knows, some businesses may find success in the time of pandemic!
M Muneer is the managing director of CustomerLab Solutions, an innovative consulting firm delivering measureable results to clients.
first published: Jun 12, 2021 09:34 am

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