Funny old game dating. Being recently single again after a long time out of the fray finds me contemplating the prospect with a mix of idle curiosity and dread (in roughly equally measures). In one of those strange ironies which fate delights in throwing into the mix now and then it struck me how similar the process is which leads to good, and sometimes not so good, partnership activity;
Marketers and agency bods in particular are essentially the dating agencies and matchmakers for brands who wish to get together, as their antennae tends to be (and certainly should be) more attuned to what’s happening in the wider marketplace. The net:net is that agencies should then be able to match personalities and motivations to ensure the best chance of success. This may be on a prescriptive basis i.e. as a direct instruction from a client “I want you to go out and find me some like minded brands” or on a more opportunistic and speculative basis, as in “There’s someone I think you should meet”.
Either way it’s important that both parties have a firm idea in mind as to what they are collectively prepared to both put into the venture – and also what their expectations are in terms of what they would like/need to take out? Get it right and it’s an interesting and fun thing to do, otherwise it’s destined to end in tears. With budgets stretched and hopes of an economic recovery any time soon looking about as likely as a TV talent contest with some actual talent, more and more brands are taking a closer look at partnership opportunities as part of the mix.
One of the first questions that prospective partners contemplating partnership marketing activity have to ask themselves is ‘what type of partner am I looking for’? And ultimately, even for longer term couplings, they probably eventually need to think about a suitable exit strategy when it starts to go stale.
Back to dating then – and if anyone finds a guitar-playing, single-malt drinking Helena Christensen lookalike (or Daisy Lowe), be sure to drop me a line won’t you…
Martin Barratt – Bullet