Alternative marketing thinking

iCONTRACT

Partnership Marketing

This is not a new idea. Really. It’s been around for decades in some form or the other. Affiliate Marketing Programs abound on the web making focussed targeting possible. In the physical world, there have been many great partnerships.

From simple relationships, like when Mini Cooper and Apple iPod came together to create iPod compatible cars. To more elaborate relationships in the form of the LG Prada Phone. Or this new one, where Samsung and Armani have come together to design a range of HDTV sets.

But there is a new wave of Partnership Marketing taking root around the world. One where the relationships are closer and more transparent. The Economist calls this partnership cooperation. In their report Companies Without Boundaries, the authors say that the best corporations of the future will be cooperations.

Today the key area of partnership is sales and marketing. To provide products they are unable to deliver alone, to keep up with competitors or to expand their global reach, among others. These relationships are not just one-off connections as in the past, where a company hired out a database to do some mailing or bundling products or product literature with another company’s service. The most visible of such a partnership in the past was between AOL and Microsoft.

But these relationships are growing deeper. Like the one between Apple and Nike to create Nike+. While there have been reports of a cooling off between the two companies, the recent news is that Nike+ will soon be seen on iPhones.

Another interesting example of cooperation is one where a UK based design firm Artomatic and Royal Mail have come together to make people want to receive direct mail. At a time where the direct marketing industry is going through strife having seen the biggest fall in spending in the first three months of 2008, Artomatic tells us that people like to receive stuff and showed us their belief through their wonderfully designed Matter boxes. If you would like to receive a Matter box, you can go here and sign up for one. They sent us a box down here in India, so the mail outs are not restricted to the UK alone.

Partnership Marketing. In the future it will not be only about bringing two companies with mutual goals to work together for a while and disengage once the job is done. These relationships will have to be far more transparent and deep helping to create true cooperations from within corporations.

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