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Vol. 4 issue #324 December 8, 2010                    


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Joint Marketing Alliances - A New Concept In Driving Sales In A Down Economy  

By Todd A. Warren


In today's business environment, complementary companies that work together to share their customers' database will probably recognize a higher return on these marketing efforts than those with other forms of traditional, client outreach.

As some face a downturn in their businesses, a joint marketing venture can help those with limited resources and time engage their partner's loyal customers in a setting that should increase their business potential.

Most small business owners think of marketing as just another expense of running their business, no different than payroll, accounting, or other overhead items. What most entrepreneurs fail to realize is that marketing actually offers their business great financial leverage.

Every company has built in a gold mine of customers who are loyal fans. These clients are typically the ones who recommend a product or service to others in need. As most successful business execs already know, the ultimate form of customer development takes the form of a referral from a satisfied customer.

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For those who want to consider a joint marketing alliance, here are some suggested steps to consider.

Understanding first, who you are and what you do differently: Articulate and implement a "Unique Selling Proposition" into every facet of your sales and marketing efforts. By creating a USP, it provides the ability to separate your business from that of your competitors. Your proposition should be developed around your strengths and your competitors' weaknesses. Some general USP premises might be lower prices, biggest selection, longest warranty, convenience, quality, superior services, better guarantee or anything that sets you apart from the pack.

Have something in common: For a joint venture to work, two local businesses must have the same customer demographic group in common. Take a neighborhood pediatrician and an orthodontist as one example. Both deal with children and parents who want a medical professional to help care for their children. A jewelry store and women's fashion boutique is another type of business with similar customers. They typically have a major overlap of common customer characteristics.


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Capturing your customers' information is a company's largest asset: It's important in today's economy, for all businesses to have consent from their customers to receive information about other products and services offered. As part of the new info gathering process, the simplest way to accomplish this is by implementing a loyalty/rewards program for their customers. With today's electronic communication abilities, one of the easiest and most cost efficient forms of communication is through email. By capturing every customers name and email address creates a conduit for information to be communicated between the consumer and business.

Build the communication tools to share information about the other companies' product or service: For example, let's imagine that a new customer takes her child to the orthodontist for braces. The orthodontist could later send an email to that customer recommending the pediatrician as an associate with a warm referral and recommendation. Taking the names and contact information of the children's parents who are in the typical age bracket for a pediatrician services, they could additionally send emails to all of the other patients. In return, the pediatrician could send a similar email about the orthodontist to their customers. This builds leverage into each other's marketing efforts, reduces marketing costs and creates a new potential customer base for each business to benefit from.



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Embrace social media as a new way to share compliments with their raving fans: If you have a business and haven't embraced a Facebook Fan Page, it's time to start by building one. As well, a business should set up a LinkedIn Group for their business. Once these social media tools are in place, a business professional can make positive comments about the other person's organization. For example, let's suppose that the orthodontist had a child with a broken arm. He could write on the pediatrician's fan page or LinkedIn group a comment on how the doctor helped his child overcome the pain and the fear of the cast. And, if the doctor had a new way to reset the boys arm with a new product or treatment, he could also comment on it with a picture.

Joint marketing efforts can truly accelerate the warm referral processes for complementary organizations. However for this to truly work, both must show a consistent amount of commitment to help the other reach out to their loyal base of clients. Once they do, they should see a higher return on their marketing outreach investments with a minimal cost.



Todd Warren is an HMA certified marketing coach, writer/author of "14 Critical Marketing Mistakes", President of Valcor Business Coaching, an entrepreneurial seminar training and coaching company. Creator of the 9 Steps to Success marketing system, a marketing system designed to find hidden marketing assets within a company. With 25 years running over a dozen diverse companies, he is considered an expert in sales, advertising, marketing, operations, training and business development. Contact Todd at http://www.valcorbusinesscoaching.com

© Copyright - Todd A. Warren. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Todd_A_Warren

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