It looks as though we are not finished with the pandemic quite yet. Just when we thought we were done, just when we had started traveling, and attending trade shows, we have shut down once more.
This is certainly a time for all of us to pull together in the true spirit of cooperative partnership. And there are even better ways to increase the level of partnership you have with your vendors and customers. One on the best ways is to do some co-marketing.
One of the great benefits of living through this pandemic is the idea that we are all in this together. We are all working together to make it through this dark night. The silos are coming down and we are looking for ways to work together cooperatively.
A strong indication of a healthy partnership is to develop a marketing plan with your vendors.
Here are four ways to develop some co-marketing with your vendor partners:
- Co-advertising: Agree to be part of your supplier-partner’s advertising. Endorse them in one of their ads, for example. This will be good for them because the best form of advertising is a customer telling people how good you are. It’s obviously great for your company as well since it is an opportunity for you to get your message out.
- Webinars, seminars and lunch-and-learns: With the continued shut-downs, online webinars have become the best way to communicate with your customers and potential customers. Think about having a webinar with your PCB supplier and even one of their suppliers. Besides being a great demonstration of unity, it also gives your customers a complete snapshot of a good chunk of their supply chain. And the best part is that it highlights all three companies, making it a win-win-win situation. Example: Suppose you are a medical electronics OEM where your very business life is based on the reliability of your product. Now put yourself in your customers’ shoes. They want to make sure that you are producing and delivering, is the most consistently reliable on the market today. To them this is a matter of life and death. Think how reassured they will feel when they know that your PCB supplier is using the most reliable laminate vendor and has a super reliable process to produce the PCBs that go into your MRI or whatever product you are selling to them. Now that’s reliability all the way up and down the supply chain.
- Co-writing white papers and articles: This is an effective way to show your current and potential customers that you not only have the best technology and the best vendors to provide you with the best products possible, but together you and your vendor partners have the best technology in the industry. Together, your partnership represents the very best technology products that money can buy. Besides the fact that the paper will be published, it can also be used in your own marketing as well. You can send out newsletters with a link to the white paper, for example.
- Micro E-books: Nothing denotes your expertise on a specific technology more than writing and publishing an e-book about that technology. Your customers could think, “Hey, you wrote the book on this subject. You must be an expert, so we are going to buy from you.” The fact that your book will be downloadable guarantees that you will be accumulating a very valuable list of qualified target customers because only companies and individuals interested in the topic will want to go to the trouble of downloading your e book. Another bonus is that you can inexpensively print the book on demand to give away to your customers. Certainly, a book on the technology they care about is the best promotional marketing item you can give away. And co-authoring the book with your vendor-partner will go a long way in strengthening the bond between you.
Another great advantage of co-marketing with your vendor partners is that you more or less double your audience and the chance to grow your database. You will be combining your customer list with the partners customers list meaning that you will double your marketing reach. And that’s a good thing.
But the best thing is that you will form a much closer bond with your vendor partner and that is the most important thing of all. By working together, by marketing and selling together you are assuring that you both will give each other the best you each have to offer, meaning that in the true spirit of partnerships, you will be much stronger together than either of you would be individually.
And one more thing. In the future, when you can get out there to visit customers again, just think how great it will be to do it together with your partners.
Anaya Vardya is president and CEO of American Standard Circuits; co-author of The Printed Circuit Designer’s Guide to… Fundamentals of RF/Microwave PCBs and Flex and Rigid-Flex Fundamentals; and author of Thermal Management: A Fabricator's Perspective. Visit I-007eBooks.com to download these and other free, educational titles. He also co-authored “Fundamentals of Printed Circuit Board Technologies.”