3 Partnering Pitfalls–and How to Avoid Them

20386489_mIn our 3rd annual CMO Innovation Trends study, participants told us their two biggest challenges are 1) a lack of talent to address business imperatives and 2) effectively building a strong brand across online and offline touch points. What’s a CMO to do when resources are this scarce, yet growth is an imperative? Many turn to partnering.

Today, partnering is often the first strategy CMOs evaluate to help their organization reach new audiences, test new products, accelerate domain knowledge or IP, expand geographically, access capital sources, and close revenue shortfalls. Yet the probability of success is quite low. Partner pitfalls abound. One study found that 80 percent of the respondents deem the majority of their efforts unsuccessful. That’s a sobering figure.

Other factors can exacerbate well-intentioned partnerships. The most common pitfalls occur when:

  • Disproportionate commitment levels emerge. One partner becomes overly eager to gain market traction, and invests significantly more resources in the relationship than the other. Martina Navratilova, among others, has been quoted as saying “The difference between involvement and commitment is like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved; the pig is committed.”
  • Partnership scope creep sabotages potential. Look no further than the 2014 Apple-IBM alliance. This announcement was intergalactic in scope. Initially, both companies triggered a PR tsunami. Within weeks, we heard crickets.
  • Partners suffer from “shared goal amnesia.” Daina Middleton, Principal with Larcen Consulting Group, observed this ailment at Hewlett-Packard. In 2007, Middleton led ProjectDirect, an HP alliance with YouTube and several creative agencies. Thanks to her persistent focus on the shared mission, HP customers voluntarily posted personal stories of how they used HP products. The initiative generated 188 million impressions and 1.37 million video views.

In my latest HuffingtonPost, you’ll find four preventive actions to ensure your partnerships thrive. Check out this article to hear how Novartis, HP, Staples and Workspace have forged some noteworthy alliances.

Which partner strategies have bolstered your brand and growth? I’d love to hear your stories—post your comments below.

Copyright 2016, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

Other posts you will enjoy:

Three Reasons Why Technology-Driven Customer Data Gathering Fails

5 Ways Marketing Can Turbocharge Your Sales

Danger Or Opportunity? Marketing Lessons from the Sharing Economy

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