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1+1 > 2. a secret sauce for success

October 16, 2011

As a startup company involved in the deal business it is imperative that my company reaches out to its target segment quickly and in a cost efficient manner. lets try to analyze the current deal market – there are so many Groupon clones out there with the basic model itself being bashed out by many pundits day in and day out. Given this clutter and so called deal fatigue making oneself noticeable is a daunting task and that too given the market we operate – a very niche segment with very specific marketing channels. All these challenges combined with the vast marketing budget we have (yes we do have a marketing budget) we have to innovate so that we have the maximum bang for the buck.

On another note completely we all know what team work is all about and how 1+1 is greater than 2 provided that participating 1s are complementary in nature (why am I talking about team work when this was supposed to be about marketing and reach). On the same lines as how individuals team together for the greater good so do companies have to collaborate so that they can achieve something that each cannot or achieve in an inefficient manner. Over the past three months we have approached multiple organizations to collaborate and to partner with DesiSauda and below are some of my learnings

1) Collaborate or Perish: As a startup company it is absolutely imperative that one has to collaborate with different organizations. So make this as a critical part of your strategy and come up with a gameplan that focuses on this topic. During one of our very early on meetings with a VC one of the questions that was posed to us was about “networking” effect – he wanted to find out what kind of a carrier are we choosing or selecting to ride on. That is when it hit us that having a successful partner strategy is critical for a shot at success and that is when we started to adopt this philosophy of collaboration.

2) Have a gameplan: Understand and crystallize what your company’s value proposition is – this is what you have to offer to your partners. Once you have this story set then you can go any partner and pitch in for a business case as to why they should partner with you. The story can be simply monetary gains to your partner or it could be much more strategic in nature – the later is of value to your partner and hence you need to come up with the value story that your partner can understand and appreciate both in the short run and in the long run. Come up with a list of tangible and intangibles that you would bring to the table and if possible quantify them

3) Cast the net wide: Do not be selective in approaching partners – cast your net very wide. What I mean by this is that approach organizations, groups where you see that your company would benefit from and at the same time you can tell them a story about how they can benefit from this relationship (point 2). So in a way reach out to all organizations that target your market – even though on the periphery it might look that you and your partner might be competitors. If you build a value story then your partners are willing to listen to you and based on your story might agree to partner with you

4) Be Proactive: Once you come up with a value story and approached the partner actively seek their audience so that the story is repeated and it becomes a fact. It is in your own interest to have your company on their radar – if your partner is a big company when compared with yours. Keep calling and meeting so that they can see that you are aggressive and at the sametime help you keep repeating the value story to them

5) A long courting period: Most of the organizations we have approached took a very long time in deciding – either yes, may be or not interested. The ones that are not interested are the ones who quickly turn around and say no, the ones who are really interested will say yes within the first and second meeting and the may be’s procrastinate. Unfortunately most of the partners fall in the “may be” category (this goes back to point 3 which helps to zero in potential partners) followed by nay sayers. You will spend considerable amount of time in pursuing your partners and they do not see/visualize what is that you are bringing to the table and what you are expecting.

So far we have had few successful tie ups that resulted in significant traction but still there is a long way to do. We at DesiSauda are actively seeking partners and we will know how effective our strategy had been. I am positive that I will be posting couple more insights into this in the very near future.

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