joint venture marketing
When President Barack Obama won the 2006 election, he immediately went to his fiercest rival during the democratic primary with a job offer. Hilary Clinton was appointed Secretary of State, a powerful position that involved working with countries across the globe.
Many wondered how the two could form such a strategic alliance after slinging mud so venomously during the campaign. The answer was simple: President Obama understood the importance of transforming enemies into allies and then putting them into positions where he could keep a close eye on their subsequent moves.
You may not be running for president, but your company is in its own kind of fierce battle for customers that will go to the other guy if you don’t win them over first. Most business owners’ treat the competitor as the enemy, closely watching their every move and making strategic decisions based on what their competitors do.
If you’re a business owner in this situation right now, why not take a page out of President Obama’s playbook and transform that competitive business into an ally that provides benefits to your own business even while you are helping him?
Why Join Forces?
Most business owners will probably read this proposal and immediate discard it as contrary to everything they know about business. However, consider the potential rewards joint ventures with your competition might produce. Instead of constantly worrying about the customers your competitor is attracting, you can actually take some of that base for yourself as well as the sales and profits you stand to gain.
Trade concerns over what your competitor might be saying to customers about you for the confidence in knowing that the only information coming from the rival company is endorsements and referrals to your own establishment. Wouldn’t you sleep better at night?
Approaching Enemy Lines
Everyone knows that you don’t simply walk up to enemy lines unarmed and unprepared, so plan your attack before approaching your competitor about a potential joint venture.
First, look for competitors that do not sell an identical product to your own, but items that are related to yours that would attract a similar customer base. Do your research up front by learning what your potential partner’s strengths and weaknesses are and how your business could fill the gaps in their company plan.
Once you know how to approach your potential partner, plan a face-to-face meeting where you can sit down and present your joint venture proposal in a relaxed, non-confrontational environment. Offer a variety of options for your joint venture, including shared marketing tactics, endorsements and referrals and integration of products. Be prepared to be flexible with your ideas, in case your potential partner isn’t sold on your initial proposal. Once you determine the best structure for your joint venture, put the entire plan in writing to protect the interests of both parties.
Joint ventures are an excellent model of how transforming an enemy to an ally can be beneficial to both sides. By doing your homework and approaching a potential partner with care, you can both cash in on the agreement with additional customers, sales and a healthier bottom line for all.
christian fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A joint venture marketing firm. He exemplifies how to profit from Joint Venture relationships by creating profit centers with minimal risk and maximum profitability.
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