Commoditization. For most B2B marketers, it’s the death knell. It can suck the soul out of your brand, products, and services. It transforms you, in the eyes of your customer, into just another vendor or solution provider. It takes away all that’s special about your high-value technology solution and turns you into little more than a list of features with a price tag.
Business partner relationships and alliances are tricky things. Unlike channel partners (where there’s a contractual/financial relationship), business partner relationships are often based mostly on the mutual desire to leverage each other’s technical compatibility and/or presence in the marketplace for cooperative marketing purposes. And when it comes to the base-level partner programs for many technology platform vendors, you need to follow the old axiom, “The squeaky wheels gets the oil.”
On its 1492 expedition with Columbus, the Santa Maria hit a reef off the coast of Hispaniola and quickly sank. The crew and the ship’s contents were saved and spread among the other ships of Columbus’ fleet. A small group of 39 men, tired of the perils and hard work of sea travel, had asked Columbus to let them stay and settle on Hispaniola. Columbus reluctantly agreed, and had a temporary fort built for the men – with the instructions for the men to establish and build a new settlement that would be named La Navidad.
Some years back, I ran a number of workshops for Strategic Alliance Managers who were responsible for managing joint marketing initiates with their company’s strategic partners. I’d begin each workshop stating that before we start, let’s all agree on a basic definition for “Strategic Alliance Partnership.”