Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Don’t Neglect Your (Media) Partner

In the context of an event marketing campaign, one of the most underutilized channels available to Event Marketing leaders is the media partnership. I’ve heard a slew of reasons for this – bandwidth being key - but none of them override the value that a properly researched and negotiated partnership can deliver.

One thing to recognize is that … right under our noses … the nature of the effective media partnership has changed. Data privacy rules and spam concerns have taken the traditional “name for name exchange” (and logo swap) off the table in many instances.

The end results, however, remains the same: to develop reach into an audience that you don’t typically have access to (a prospect/client/subscription base). To that end, today’s task is how you and Partner X can work together to leverage the benefits you can work together to bring to each other (vs. the traditional ‘what can you give us/what can we give you’ mindset). A few thoughts on how to achieve this:

  • Get to know your partner: I say this somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but these individuals and organizations are business partners who, in doing your research into appropriate partnerships, you have identified as potentially delivering value to your marketing efforts. So get to know them – talk to them, keep in regular contact. Learn their pain points and challenges; think of solutions that – through the partnership agreement – you can offer them. It’s a two-way street – use your side of the road to the best of your advantage.
  • Think outside the box: You should of course be keeping up on the latest trends and technologies to round out your campaigns. But what and how can you and a partner leverage together? Back before it became commonplace, one of the best partnerships I had developed involved the partner producing Webinars using our internal resource as the speaker – with the understanding that they would sell sponsorship and keep the revenue. They assumed the cost (and profit), we generated hundreds of leads which consistently led to high conversion rates. Joint efforts on Twitter, microsites, Facebook and LinkedIn groups should all be part of today’s discussion.
  • Explore all options: In today’s challenged economy, think beyond traditional organizations as possible partners – there are plenty of groups, consultants, and organizations that would have reach, affinity and access to an audience you are targeting. Explore them as possible partners – what capabilities do they have, and what value can you offer them in exchange … and what value can you develop together? Can they deliver content to the event - and can that be part of the value built into the partnership?

This is, of course, a lot of work - and there is a lot of knowledge, negotiating skills, and tenacity involved in getting it right. But plan ahead (rather than do the legwork as a 2nd tier/last ditch effort) and set expectations for a long-term relationship and you will arrive at developing – and maintaining – mutually beneficial relationships.

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