Integrated Partnerships: The 7 Keys to Success
What is An Integrated Partnership?
It’s designed for companies that want to collaborate with a separate company/brand. In other words, they “integrate” with one another. For integrated partnerships to work, a lot of planning has to take place. The two organizations must meet and come up with strategies that will lead to success.
Websites and apps are where most integrated partnerships take place. This is where one brand incorporates the other’s brands services. What is the result? “White-labeling” occurs. What is white labelling? It’s when a product that a company creates gets rebranded. It’s presented as if a second company also created the product or service. “IFraming” can also occur. This is the online version of “white-labeling.” A website uploads content that came from a separate website or company.
What is the Purpose of Integrated Partnerships?
What’s main goal of integration? It is to provide the customer with better content or an improved product. The notion of convenience plays a major factor in integrated partnerships. For example, a customer will no longer have to leave a website to go to a separate website or app. He or she is able to find the content on that same site. This does more than save customers time. It increases a company’s profit margins. How? It is beneficial to put as much content in someone’s face as possible. People are lazy. Not everyone is going to make the effort to browse a separate website or download a new app. But when it’s right in front of them, people are more willing to spend money. What is another key benefit? A company can offer more services without having to build those services from the ground up.
Integrated Partnerships Can Make a Huge Difference
Businesses are always on the hunt. They’re searching for new strategies. They strive to keep their clients and customers coming back for more. This is why integration is so important. Customers must be able to browse your website with ease. This will give you a better chance you have of increasing your revenue. No customer wants to waste time. They will if they shift from one website to a phone call to another website to having to send an email out of confusion. They want results fast. This is why partnering with like-minded organizations is beneficial. It can help keep customers around in the long-haul. Customers don’t care about the features of your company’s products. They are seeking value. And you will increase the value of your brand when you integrate with other similar brands.
Below are seven keys to success when it comes to establishing integrated partnerships:
1) Only select a partner after doing plenty of research.
Keep in mind that it takes time to find the right partner. There’s no recommenced timeframe. It all depends on what your company’s needs and goals are. That’s why your staff should hold regular meetings. They can discuss which brands to collaborate with. Sometimes it’s better to dive in fast. Other times, it takes months of preparation and discussion. They key is to do as much research as you can about other brands. Do not stop at only researching the brands you may want to work with. Also do research on your industry and the direction that it’s headed in the future. This will make your company better prepared to face new obstacles and challenges. It is inevitable that both are going to occur. Integration never takes place without a few road bumps. That is why your company needs to be as prepared as it can be.
2) Measure how your integration gets accepted by customers.
Sometimes companies do all the right things when it comes to integration. Planning. Research. Collaboration. Marketing. Communication. Yet, few customers or clients seem to feel interested after the launch. When this occurs, your company (and your partner) must ask itself a few tough questions. These can include:
-Are our marketing efforts not living up to our expectations?
-Did we not do our research?
-Did the other brand mislead us?
-Does this product or service not connect with customers?
-Are there technological problems stopping customers from reaping the benefits?
Keep in mind that asking questions is only part of the equation. You and your company need answers. That is why asking for feedback from recent users is so important. They will be able to inform you what the like and what they dislike. You can find creative ways to ask them questions such as:
-What do you like about this feature/product/service?
-Do you have any ideas for improvements?
-Would you recommend this to your friends?
-How likely are you to return to our website?
The easiest way to knock this out is to have a comment box featured on your company’s website.
3) Make improvements.
Feedback does not matter if you’re not going to use it. It’s great that you have gathered it. But now it is time to apply it. You and your team should figure out what improvements need to occur. The most pressing issues should get addressed first. For example: stop the website from crashing before you change the images on the homepage. Collaboration with your partner is key. If it is a 50/50 partnership, then your partner should be making fifty percent of the contributions. Again, it’s all about value. Many integrations fail because customers are not receiving much value. Without getting value, what’s the point of customers using your website or app? Unless everything has gone well, you and your partner should consider:
-Re-designing the app or website.
-Changing marketing strategies.
-Seeking new ideas to improve promotion.
-Developing improved functionality.
4) Test out new strategies and techniques.
Every partnership is going to have its own unique pros and cons. What works for one company’s integration might not work for your company at all. That’s why you have to be willing to try new things. Otherwise, it is unlikely you will determine what can drive the most traffic to your app or website. You and your partner should meet and go over questions like:
-Is our integration pricing too high? Too low?
-Are our marketing efforts failing?
-Should we release a beta version to do more testing?
-Have we gathered enough feedback to serve as a resource?
Never be afraid to think outside-the-box. It is the only way to discover killer strategies that will take your company’s success to the next level. Do your best to stay realistic and take things one day at a time. It is easy to jump to conclusions and think that your integration was huge failure. But the most successful companies on the planet all have one thing in common. They do not give up.
5) Communication makes or breaks success.
This statement is not an exaggeration at all. Most businesses sink or swim based on how well they communicate. Communication applies to:
-Talking to your own staff members.
-Talking to the staff at your partner’s organization.
-Communicating with current customers.
-Communicating with potential customers.
If your partner is failing to communicate in a consistent manner, do not let it go. Speak to a higher-up at that company. Let him or her know that their communication and participation’s needed. This has to be urgent. Say the partner continues to fail to communicate. This means you may need to consider finding a more reliable partner. On both sides, there must always be someone stepping up. To do what? To keep the communication channels flowing.
6) Inform customers and potential customers about the new integration.
You have heard this old adage many times in business. “Build it and they will come.” Well, that is only true if certain parameters are in place. Yes, they will come…if you tell them that they should. This means your marketing team must be at the top of their game. They must devise strategies and gimmicks to inform people about the integration. Otherwise, you will get a lukewarm response at best. You and your team should be aggressive. You have to find plenty of ways to prove to prospects why your integration matters.
Do not wait until launch-day to start thinking about marketing strategies. There should already be a plan in place at least one month in advance. Specific deadlines and tasks should get conveyed in the plan. Otherwise, there will be little structure and order. Delegation is key here. Specify which person is going to handle which role. Content is also key. There should be at least half a year’s worth of content ready before launch-day. Consider all these factors:
-social media posts
-social media videos
7) Keep measuring.
No matter how well or poor the launch goes, your team must stay on a mission. What is the mission? To measure everything and always strive to make improvements. Even if the launch receives a lot of traffic, there is no guarantee the traffic will continue. That is why your team needs to stay on the hunt toward perfection. It cannot become complacent and assume everything will always be fine. Your partner must also have this mentality. Otherwise, your company is going to get stuck doing ninety-five percent of the work. Measure every detail that you can. For example, say you offer a free trial to customers. Use that trial to your advantage. You can do so by figuring out what is driving people to convert to paid accounts. Analytics are your friend. That is why you should consider holding regular meetings to analyze the data. This will prevent your company from getting lost in the dust to your competition.