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Do you have partnership programs as part of your marketing goals for the 2014?  How do you cook one up to ensure that everyone is happy?  Here are 10 ingredients that will make sure you are on your way to serving up success:

  1. Realistic Goals – Put together a list of what you want to accomplish from your partnership marketing efforts.

  1. Assets – Before moving forward with your partnership efforts determine what assets you have to offer partners.  Put reasonable values on these assets.  Access to your customer base, discounts on your products and services (to either the end consumer or your partner) and revenue sharing are the most common assets companies have to offer.  If you have a well known brand then association alone with your brand can be important.

  1. Prospecting – Cast the right net to find partners that are suitable for your program.  In many cases you’ll need to speak with 10 or more prospects to find one that works.  Partners should always be targeting a similar audience and have sufficient scale to give you the necessary return on your investment.  Prospects who are the most responsive to your initial presentations will generally be more responsive partners overall.

  1. Trust- Good faith in your partner is crucial to a seamless working relationship.  The best partnership contract you can put together is an unwritten contract of trust.

  1. Accountability- Make sure that you and your partner are clear on who is responsible for each aspect of the program.  All creative should be reviewed by both parties and eventual results shared with both parties.

  1. Joint Perspective – Look at the partnership not only from your perspective but your partner’s as well.  Take responsibility for both parties success.  Know your partner’s goals as well as your own.  Make sure your partner also understands your perspective and needs.

  1. Proper Evaluation – Make sure that you evaluate partnership results against traditional marketing channels .  Partnerships are intended to spread costs/risks and returns between partners.  Proper evaluation also allows you to determine if a specific program can be replicated.

  1. Timeliness – Working with a partner can also slow down implementation of a program versus putting together a promotion on your own.  Put expectations in place that both you and your partner are to respond quickly to inquiries, approval requests and develop a calendar to make sure your joint plan of action is being followed.

  1. Clear Communication – Make sure that both you and your partner have  communicated what your expectations for the partnership are.

  1. Long Term Relationships – Go into a partnership anticipating that you’ll be working with your partner for many years.  It doesn’t take much more time and energy to put together a long term partnership than it does a one shot promotion.  Just as with your customer base it costs a lot more money to find a new partner than to renew an existing one.