Five ways to ensure pain free marketing partnerships.

Getting customers to take notice of your company can be a tough gig. One seemingly easy way to get the word out is to partner up with another business for a cross promotional deal. In theory the idea sounds great, and many a marketing partnership has been mutually beneficial for both companies involved. But I advise caution before jumping into a deal with another company, as I discussed in a vintage blog post from my Inc. magazine column.

“A marketing partnership is like any other partnership. The first rule is: Know your partner.”

Before you make a commitment, find the answer to these five questions about your prospective partner.

What is the company’s reputation for honesty and integrity? – If you don’t already know the company, do some research to find out how they do business.

What experiences have other companies had working with your partner? – Not just marketing partnerships, but any kind of business partnership will give you information about your prospective partner that you can use to decide if a collaboration is right for your company.

How does the company treat its employees, customers, and suppliers?Stakeholder capitalism is how we refer to the way a business treats not just its shareholders and customers, but all of the people who have a stake in its success, including employees. How a company behaves toward its stakeholders, especially when the chips are down, will tell you a lot about how they’ll deal with you as a partner.

What are your partner’s motives for doing a cross promotional deal? – Ensure that their motives are aligned with your own and are in step with a mutually beneficial collaboration.

Does your potential partner have similar deals with your competitors? – Assuming that your partner’s reputation checks out, it might be wise to find out if they have similar arrangements with competitors. If so, it might not be in your company’s best interests to follow suit.

“The chances for success in doing cross-promotions depend on how well prepared you are before you sign the deal. As with most things in business and life, you need to do your homework.”

Read Norm Brodsky’s article in its original form at Inc. Magazine’s website.