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Opinions of Sunday, 19 February 2017

Columnist: Nana Boatemaa Amoah

The Importance of Partnerships in Marketing

“Creating a better world requires teamwork, partnerships and collaboration, as we need an entire army of companies to work together to build a better world within the next few decades. This means corporations must embrace the benefits of cooperating with one another.” – Simon Mainwaring

More often than not, anyone who wants to make further progress or achieve more considers partnering another person or group of people. This decision to agree to corporate in order to further advance mutual interests is simply known as ‘partnership’. In various aspects of our lives, we see examples of partnerships, such as marriages, friendships, business ventures, school teams, soccer teams among others.

The field of Marketing is no exception when it comes to the need to form effective partnerships. These partnerships could be between a business and other businesses, a business and its customers, a business and its suppliers, and so on. The question is, how effectively can these partnerships be formed, and just how important are these partnerships?

Any business or individual that wants to create even more value for customers could consider partnering other parties or brands that have similar goals and offerings as they do.

Forming an effective partnership takes a conscious effort, which involves:

Effective planning: To guide the business in its selection criteria and to have a clear purpose as to why the partnership has to be formed.

Promoting a positive image: Why would anyone want to partner with you? What are your strengths and more importantly, how do you put these strengths to you or advantage and eventually your partner’s advantage?

Reaching out: The best way to effect a great partnership is through effective communication. Be it in person or via any communication channels such as e-mails or phone calls, the potential partner must feel you are both on the same level of understanding and can easily relate.

Maintenance: Though a partnership is established for mutual benefit, it should not only be seen only as an opportunistic venture, but rather a valuable life-long relationship that needs to be maintained even after set goals have been achieved.

Just how important are these partnerships?

Partnerships could prove beneficial in several ways, which include:

Competitive advantage: Imagine if you chalked some great successes on your own. Now imagine if you teamed up with another formidable force to make your success even more pronounced. This is exactly what partnerships do; effective partnerships more often than not give a business a cutting edge above its competitors, and further highlights its strengths in the eyes of its customers.

Further reach: Not only does an effective partnership help in gaining competitive advantage, it also helps in reaching out further to more customers and possibly wider areas of operation. For example, if Company A reaches only customers in Accra and Company B reaches only customers in Kumasi, a partnership between these two could mean a wider customer reach for each of the companies and increased awareness of what their brands have to offer. As Paul McCord puts it, “Marketing partnerships are a powerful way to expose yourself to customers you might otherwise never reach.”

Identification of new channels: Partnering with other businesses or brands could eventually lead to product diversification as well as new avenues of brand promotion. Partnerships are often an opportunity to come up with new and innovative product offerings as well as a boost in brand identity.

Shared cost: A decision to partner another party could also mean an ease in financial burden as both parties in a partnership more often than not share costs. Be it a cost of production or advertising, things could be more achievable if done together with other businesses that have the same goals as the business does.

Such partnerships are not very common in Ghana, but are eventually gaining ground. Though partnerships could be a risky venture, they are more often than not worth it. Whether it is a business or on an individual basis, your decision to partner someone else could just be one of the best decisions you may ever have to make!