By Richard Bailey, Certified Guerilla Marketing Coach
Tuesday, August 10, 2003; 5:30pm EST
Some business owners have a difficult time identifying who their competitors really are, believing that every other business is their competition even if they have little to absolutely nothing in common. This stifling belief affects just about anyone (probably even you) who does not employ this simple concept of, fusion marketing.
In today's day and age, rising advertising and marketing expenses can become overwhelming for new and even established business. According to Jupiter Media, The cost of erroneously blocked permission based e-mail (i. e., sent but not delivered) will increase from $230 million in 2003 to $419 million in 2008, making a once zero cost advertising option, (email) a potentially expensive means of communication thanks to junk mails senders. There is an obvious need for strategic and cost effective Marketing and advertising alternatives.
What is Fusion marketing?
The military strategist, Sun Tzu wrote, to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence is breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting.
This Guerilla Marketing concept of turning your competition into a friend is a blend of relationship building and a twist on traditional marketing in which your competition becomes your marketing partner, thereby alleviating some, if not most, of your advertising/marketing burden.
Fusion marketing can be used to win any marketing battle, rather than fighting against your competition, you turn your competition into friends.
Search Engines are some of the best examples of fusion marketing in action, where would-be-enemies become friends. According to the Chairman and CEO of the popular search engine Google, Eric Schmidt, their partnership with competitor Ask Jeeves, was brought on by a shared vision to grow the overall search market. And according to their press release this union is projected by industry experts to generate over $100,000,000 over a three year period.
In this fusion relationship, Google's ads will appear on Ask Jeeves search pages. Ask Jeeves shares the revenue generated from showing the ads, while Google additionally gets a whole new audience of potential customers who perform over 14 million searches per month. You can see that this is a win-win for both companies and their advertisers.
In another example, Brigitte Nadeau, President and founder of Audio Strategies Inc., a Troy Vermont based company, focused on leveraging audio products to generate profits (http://www. audiostrategies. com/), found that a Fusion marketing opportunity with a potential rival eventually lead the way to an unexpected, but welcome long-term contract with a major customer.
Audio Strategies is a teleconference recording service that assists in attracting clients with audio products. So it was normal for us to use audio in our Fusion marketing strategies, says Brigitte.
I created a real audio 'tip of the week' on improving your teleleader skills for a Teleclass training company in 2002. At the beginning of each 2 minute clip there was an introduction saying, 'AudioStrategies. com has created this audio clip, for more information you can contact us.' The tip was freely distributed on the teleclass website every week as a service to their customers. This provided the training company with free content and served as no cost advertising for us. As a bonus, this helped to land a big recording contract with Boeing Aerospace that I still have to this day. After one of their trainers heard the clip, they contacted me to work with them.
Fusion marketing opportunities are everywhere:
Question: What does a Chinese restaurant and a car wash have in common? Answer: People who wash their cars also need to eat.
In the above example, that's exactly the question that I had to ask myself recently, after being asked by a media company to save a customer relationship that was in jeopardy. In this case, an optimistic Chinese Restaurant owner, had purchased an advertising package that didn't get the results he was looking for. Oddly enough, another client, a car-wash/oil change center, directly across the street, was getting great results from a similar ad campaign and had nothing but great things to say about the steady flow of customers who were coming in to his place of business.
As I pondered how this could be possible, I decided to quit pondering and went over to the car wash with its beautiful showroom, popcorn maker, vending machines, and lounge area to take a look around. The waiting room was intentionally designed to create a feeling of comfort and warmth in an otherwise cold, industrial looking place.
After asking some questions, I found out that a good deal of this car wash's business came from busy drivers on their way home from work. A flash-bulb went off in my head as I imagined car wash patrons enjoying (or taking home) an order of vegetable Lo Mein and fried rice while they waited for their cars to be serviced. I immediately explained the idea to the owner and asked if he would mind my placing a few hundred restaurant menus in his lounge area, so that his patrons could get something to eat or take home while waiting for their cars to be serviced. He agreed, since this would also allow his patrons to feel even
more at home.
To make a long story short, I helped two business owners who admittedly never talked before take the next step to becoming profitable friends by referring business to each other and made the media company happy in the process by making their client happy.
How to create a fusion marketing partnership:
First: Stop thinking of every other business as your competition
Second: Identify businesses with the same target audience, who sell non-competitive products.
If you're a software author selling word-processors this might be another software company that sells spreadsheets.
If you're a fitness club owner, try talking to local licensed Massage Therapists or Chiropractors in the area. Place their flyers or business cards in your fitness center and ask them to do the same in their reception rooms.
Third: Look for possible ways to either share marketing expenses or to help advertise each other's products or services.
For brick and mortar business, this might mean putting your fusion partner's signs up in your place of business while they do the same for you in theirs. For an Internet business, you might add your fusion partner's ad to your email newsletter while they place your ad on their downloadable brochure or promote your complementary products on their order thank you pages (the pages that are usually shown after an order is placed).
Doc Pratt, President of Pratt Computing Technologies, fused with others of like mind to boost each other's sales, "We are working with other people who sell to our type of accounts, and have formed a (Fusion marketing) group. We have actually put together a marketing plan for the group and our niche market is businesses that are relocating or moving. We are in no way officially connected, but since we complement each other, so well, we have created a web site, www. transitionresources. biz that promotes the entire group," says Doc.
Where can opportunities for fusion partnerships be found?
1. Look out the window.
2. Contact your key suppliers.
3. Ask your local chamber of commerce.
4. Contact your existing customers.
5. Where possible, consider creating an affiliate, reward or reseller program to get others to sell your products for you and then help them promote your business.
6. Do you know someone with a large mailing list? There might be a great opportunity there.
7. Use search engines to locate companies similar to your own.
8. Download and install the Alexa. com toolbar, it will display related sites as you surf the web. Just visit your own site with the toolbar installed and see what related sites it recommends, then contact the web masters of these sites regarding a potential partnership.
9. Try searching for "joint venture" on the web. This might turn up several organizations that can help you setup a joint venture (another type of Fusion Marketing relationship).
Fourth: Ask potential partners you have identified to partner with you. Let them know it can be a win-win for everyone, since Fusion marketing only requires cooperation and will not force you to make major changes to the way you do business or to modify your business structure.
As you can see, working with your competition via fusion marketing requires a change in the way we think, however it is a paradigm-shift that can actually push your sales and profits to the next level.
Source of Article Certified Guerilla Marketing Coach, Richard Bailey is an Internet entrepreneur with 8+ years of technology based marketing experience. Learn Internet Marketing by joining Internet Marketing Alerts or send email to seminars@clientbydesign. com to participate in Richard's TeleClass seminars. Visit: http://www. clientbydesign. com/.