Saddle up, partner. My former work life involved corporate sponsorship management and activation, and I continually believe strategic partnerships are lacking in the small business industry. I’m not necessarily talking about expensive official sponsorships with big sports leagues, I’m referring to easy-to-execute deals that work for both sides, either in the short-term or the long-term (or both?). Down the street from me, a very popular car wash that always has wait lines happens to reside next to the most successful ice cream shop in the state. What I saw was two seasonal businesses that could easily join forces to promote each others services in a valuable way for their customers. A few other examples:
- To promote its lower-cost options to college students, Uber partnered with textbook rental service Chegg for easy access to the market
- Flowtab (now defunct, as this riveting story details) partnered with Lyft drivers to hand out free drink coupons to passengers headed to bars where Flowtab had a presence
- History Channel worked with Morton’s Steakhouse to create a customized menu related to its show, The Men Who Built America
Nobody wants your product. Check out the insanely disruptive story of OutBox, a company that is trying to upend the way we receive our mail (much to the USPS’s chagrin). I’m sure you’ve seen the recent changes to Gmail that proactively dump “specials and offers” into a separate tab outside of your main email inbox. Add to that online ad blockers, Do Not Call List, and a new service that helps you easily delete your presence at various online sites and I’m left wondering what the hell boring “marketers” are going to do! Now, more than any time I can recall, I’d be pumping my resources into building the greatest possible customer experience so that nobody desires using these services against you.
I like New Relic’s approach to entice product users. Nothing that innovative or special, but it caught my attention several different times. Dangling the proverbial carrot out there can be a good way to spark early sign-ups or short-term users. Assuming your product/service is kick-ass, hopefully they’ll stay. See the slideshow below for examples.