The proper care and feeding of revenue partners Written by Alex Lekas
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The successful partnership, of course, is one in which both sides bring something of value, leading to next step: R, for Reciprocity. Is there any aspect of their business that competes with any aspect of yours? Is buying or borrowing partner’s product/service more cost-efficient that building it yourself? In perfect world, both businesses are complimentary and you can each sell to other’s customers. In semi-perfect world, one of you has something that other’s customers need and buyer gets a cut of revenue. In world to avoid, a potential partner is too closely aligned to your core business and will likely become a competitor. One partner offers merchant accounts that online stores use in order to process credit cards, a natural tie-in for AIT to offer its customers who use their web sites to make sales. This company wanted an exclusive agreement, and one that had a non-compete clause in it. It wasn’t long before their repertoire expanded to include hosting, making non-compete a very dangerous part of agreement. Eggo, waffle-maker, recently went into syrup market, which its own commercials depict as a no-brainer of a decision. Now, imagine that you’re Log Cabin or another syrup maker, and you had a co-marketing arrangement with Eggo. How valuable would that deal now be?
Be wary of any deal points in which ownership of customer, exclusivity, or length are issues, bringing up “E” for Escape. Is potential partner in a hurry to close a deal? Is there an upfront or setup cost? Any partnership agreement must have a clause that allows for reasonable termination in case deal sours, or if cooperation becomes competition. Some years ago, one company dominated domain registration, and mindful of both its monopoly and coming of de-regulation, this company offered providers like AIT long-term partner agreements. AIT also anticipated de-regulation, and modified its agreement to a month-to-month basis while creating its own accredited domain registration company. That company has since added web design and hosting, making them a direct competitor and confirming importance of escape clause.
Partnerships have become a fact of business as companies look for ways of developing new customers and giving existing clients more reasons to stay. They’re also a catalyst for serious self-analysis: being sure of who and what your company is, and equally important, who and what it is not. A little introspection is vital in determining how to responds to current trends and how to be pro-active in planning for what your customers will expect next. So after those initial dinners and late-night phone calls, make sure you follow through with details like due diligence, checking of references, and using Internet for research. Just as right partnership can be rewarding, wrong one can be disastrous.
Alex Lekas is the VP / Corporate Communications for AIT (http:www.ait.com), a provider of hosting and Internet services to more than 190,000 business domains around the world.
7 Steps to Launching a Top Media Relations ProgramWritten by Andrew A. DeMuth
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Give them Something to Look At The media loves visuals. This is especially important for television media. Visuals are something that can be photographed to accompany article. In law enforcement, we use mug shots, photos of seized contraband, or pictures of involved officers. Visuals can really be anything associated with event. Just use your imagination. When preparing written press release, indicate that you have visuals for any interested media entity. Sometimes, having available visuals will mean difference between your release making paper or making shredder.
Develop Contacts As with most things in business, contacts are king. The best way to have your story actually make it into paper is to have a contact with press. Developing relationships with reporters and editors is crucial for a successful media relations program. Start by issuing press releases to different reporters, and when you find one who you relate to well, forward all releases to him or her. Reporters have bosses breathing down their neck for articles, and they love nothing more than a contact who feeds them ideas and stories. Contacts should be made at all of local and regional medial outlets.
Press Release Distribution Faxing press releases or sending them via regular mail is, of course, better than nothing, but emailing it gives reporter option of cutting and pasting text. Keeping them happy yields better results.
Be Proactive Here, especially if you are new to media relations, it is important to think outside box. Take a look around your business or organization. Anything newsworthy? Sure there is. Below are some examples: Promotions and transfers Organization member was recognized for an accomplishment Introducing a new, innovative product Launching of a website Creation of an innovative program When Wal-Mart learned of one of their truckers stopping to help a stranded woman change a tire, they did a television commercial on it. Get idea? Be proactive!
Timing Once you have prepared press release for distribution, don't send it. Yes, don't send it. You first need to grab newspaper and see what's happening. If a major scandal with a local politician was just uncovered, or something else that will take up news space for several days occurred, you should wait. Ideally, you want to distribute your release when things are quiet. Of course something could pop up at last minute after you have submitted press release, and that will occasionally occur. Just do you best. If you follow these seven steps, you will well on your way to launching a top-notch media relations program.
Andrew A. DeMuth is a long-time small business owner and police officer with extensive experience in marketing. He currently runs one of the nations largest law enforcement websites, http://www.NJLawman.com and has authored many articles for both http://www.NJLawman.com and other periodicals.