A Great Marketing ModelUtilizing the Power of OPM

by : Kathleen Gage

Staying ahead of the marketing curve seems to be a never-ending quest. Marketing doesn’t have to be as complex as some people make it out to be. It’s simply a matter of understanding who you are marketing to – your ideal customers – and then coming up with a system that keeps your name in front of them. A huge part of the system is creating enough value for your customers that they want to hear from you.

Another aspect of marketing is knowing how to continually reach and increase your market in the most cost effective manner possible. One way to increase reach and do so cost effectively is to find other businesses who share a similar market. These can be complimentary businesses and even competitors. What better way to get your foot in the door of a new market than with the endorsement that comes from a joint venture?

Solo marketing efforts are no longer as effective as they were in the past. True strength lies in utilizing the power of joint ventures. It is probably one of the most compelling marketing strategies you can implement. With so many people competing in any given industry, an appropriate joint venture can stretch your marketing dollars and increase your market reach. And do so in a way that people want to do business with you. That is the power of utilizing OPM – Other People’s Markets.

Most people refer to OPM as being Other People’s Money. In reality, when you have been given permission by a person or an organization to reach their market, you are in essence using their money. However, this is also a give and take relationship. If you are using their market, you have to be willing to let them use yours.

Over the years I have been involved in numerous partnerships. Some were short term and one time projects, others very long term. I wish I could say that every venture I have been involved with has been successful and without incident, but that is not the case. However, with each situation, whether good or bad, I learned a valuable lesson that I have been able to apply to current and future opportunities.

Consider some key factors before establishing a partnership. First of all, what is the reputation of the person or company you are developing this relationship with? It is important to know that the people you are connecting your name with are reputable, have similar values when it comes to the way they view business, and they treat employees and customers with the kind of respect you would expect. If you have an established customer base that trusts you and you then partner with another company, you are in essence saying, “Do business with this company. I give you my word, they are reputable."

Additionally, is it an equitable relationship? Before making any commitments, determine what the benefit is for each party. What does each company bring to the table that will create a successful partnership? Are you creating a win/win relationship for all parties involved?

Be sure to test the waters. Do not make the mistake of blindly partnering with another company only to find out that the two companies are incompatible. Start with a small project rather than going in for a long-term commitment right away.

After finding a company you want to partner with, I highly recommend putting everything in writing. A written agreement will help both parties to become clear on how their partnership will work. In many cases, you will want an attorney to review the information and even draw up an agreement. Be sure to utilize the services of someone who has everyone’s best interest in mind. When drawing up a written agreement, take into consideration the following: individual and joint roles, how new leads will be handled, and how expenses and revenues will be shared.

Think of your company vision. Who do you know that you could help to create a win/win relationship with? When you are clear on whom you can partner with you will be amazed at what can happen for you, your partners and most importantly, your customers and clients.

Copyright & copy; 2004 by Kathleen Gage

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