An Alliance Jumpstart
In most Smart Marketing Alliances you will either be the provider of a product/service or the provider of sales/distribution capabilities. Either of the two necessary components of your marketing alliance, will be the core competency you bring to the relationship. Pulling together competencies from two companies really does deliver more combined opportunity than would be available singularly.
This competency is one of your assets. While assets usually take three basic forms; physical (equipment, cash, or hard product), intellectual (service capability, market knowledge, or product development capability), and brand identity (brick and mortar location, product/service positioning within the consciousness of the marketplace, or reputation) — many fail to have actual dollar values assigned to them. You do want a mutually beneficial alliance, don’t you?
Giving and Receiving Equal Value
In successful alliances, usually each partner brings approximately equal value to the alliance relationship. If there is an imbalance, so should be the commensurate reward. The challenge for you is determining the value you are bringing into the relationship. And also to be certain that you are not giving away value without getting something in return.
Additionally, it is important for you to consider the implications to your company that comes with alliance relationships. Some of the implications that might drive the necessity for organizational change on your side include:
Need for openness and transparency
Need to consider how your actions affect your partner
Need to make adjustments in your organization to allow integration with your partner
This is the reason that it is crucial to the success of your marketing alliance that you select your partner well rather than jump at the first opportunity that presents itself.
An Organization’s Alliance Capability
You must be certain first about your alliance capability; meaning your organization’s ability to implement and maintain an alliance relationship. Some of the key competencies within your organization that you will want to explore are:
Show a solid commitment to your alliance by assigning a champion to oversee the total success of the alliance as opposed to only being concerned with how well your company is represented in negotiations.
Focus and flexibility might at first glance seem diametrically opposed to one another however it is the focus that allows you to monitor when there is a need for flexibility and just how much
Communication is the silent killer—lack of quality communication that is. Most of the alliance failures are detected back to communication problems. There must be systems and capabilities in place for a 360 style communication mechanism where everyone involved in the alliance has the ability to communicate with anyone else, regardless of which partner employs them and hierarchical challenges.
The above are not your exclusive challenges in building your Smart Marketing Alliance yet covering these bases gives you a great start. You deserve to create synergistic bliss for one another in an alliance relationship regardless of your contribution; the product or the market control.
Be smart in your alliance partner selection. Be smart in your alliance development and implementation. Be smart in maintaining a healthy and profitable alliance relationship.
Ed is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, Cigar PEG Philanthropy through Fun, and president at Rigsbee Research which conducts qualitative member ROI research and consulting for associations and societies. He has been called “the dynamite that broke up our log jam” by association executives—rarely politically correct and almost always provocative—and from a dozen years as a United States Soccer Federation referee, Ed calls it the way he sees it. Exceptional resources at www.rigsbee.com.
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