Recognizing and understanding the pitfalls of alliance marketing can empower CMOs to create and foster better partnerships.
Alliance marketing has always been associated with helping brands to achieve their respective marketing goals. Yet, many brands still struggle to grapple with concepts and fail to achieve their objectives.
Pitfalls such as lack of shared vision, resources, not being transparent, weak metrics, poor communications are hurting the alliance marketing effort. Add to that, the pandemic has only exacerbated the problem as most CMOs find their marketing budget shrinking, further creating imbalances in the alliance marketing efforts of the partners. Hence, CMOs should make themselves aware of the pitfalls that can hamper their alliance marketing efforts and take steps to boost their success:
Believing that the company and its alliance partner share common goals
Even though alliance marketing states that two brands work towards the same goal, it is not always the case. CMOs fall into the trap of believing that their alliance partner is focused on the same goal as theirs, which results in one, the other- or both not achieving their goals.
Therefore, each partner in alliance marketing should identify, plan and measure their individual goals to ensure mutual success.
Failing to assess differences in customer journeys
Sometimes, partners having complementary offerings, goals and target markets find that alliance marketing doesn’t work well with selling. In such cases, the problem lies in the differences between the two customer buying journeys of the two brands.
Variance between two customer journeys doesn’t necessary signify a failed alliance. However, the partners should understand the customer journey differences ahead of time and focus on the best opportunities for mutual benefits.
Lack of joint selling effort
Both companies should be engaged and cross-trained in their joint selling effort for the partnership to witness success. Via joint selling as well as marketing workshops, brands can nurture and foster sales team buy-in and provide training. CMOs should bring salespeople from their respective brands to discuss joint sales tools and alliance benefits. They should have an honest conversation about where each partner can best support the other one in the buying journey.
Lack of planning for the co-management of leads
The alliance partners should define and agree on the details surrounding leads and their respective roles in the entire lead lifecycle. Both CMOs should discuss the what-if scenarios as well as document their joint plan. They should include steps for identifying and reporting metrics. Taking such measures will ensure that there’s no overlap of effort, conflict, or confusion over who owns the element of lead nurturing and sales process.
Imbalance in investment
Both partners should equally be invested and involved in the process. If one partner is more invested than the other, the alliance is more susceptible to failure. In cases where one partner is smaller than the other, the partner should think in terms of investments as they can relate to the firm’s size and overall marketing budget. If the alliance fails, they should understand how it will hamper their operations at the same level as their partner and thus make appropriate decisions.
Unable to measure the return on alliance investment
To know whether the alliance is on the right track, CMOs should discern their leads from partner-sourced leads, otherwise, they will fail to measure the return on the alliance investment. Moreover, CMOs should know how their respective partner has assisted them in gaining incremental revenues as opposed to only helping them with known business opportunities. In conclusion, CMOs should establish alliance metrics and processes that will enable them to identify the true value of their partnership to wisely invest in alliance marketing.
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