John Joe-McGinley says advisers should consider what he calls 'product placement' using strategic alliances to attract new clients.
You may have heard of product placement, the art of including your product in the narrative of a story or in the background of a television program.
It has been around for many years, the earliest documented example was in the nineteenth century.
This involved Jules Vern - such was his fame that transport and shipping companies lobbied to be mentioned in his upcoming novel Around the World in Eighty Days!
Thirty years ago this year, one of the films that defined my generation was released, Back to the Future' and this was heavily influenced and funded by product placement from both Pepsi and Nike.
If you don't know, Back to the Future, involves time travelling, so the plot presented an opportunity to showcase different brands in various time periods.
Some reports suggest that Robert Zemeckis, the director of the film, at first wanted to have Coca-Cola in the movie, but realised that the design of the iconic Coca-Cola's bottle was basically the same throughout the 20th century, which did not suit the plot narrative.
Undaunted he approached Pepsi, which was willing and very eager to participate as was Nike.
If you remember the movie when Marty visits 2015 he finds a new drink called Pepsi Perfect and special lace-free Nike shoes.
In 2008 Nike made special limited edition Hyperdunk sneakers that were very similar to those from the movie however, I haven't tasted a Pepsi Perfect yet; but then again I'm more of a Coca Cola man!
You don't have to be a super brand or help fund a blockbuster to take advantage of product placement.
Any business can and should use this marketing tactic as part of its interaction and communication.
I would rather call it proposition placement where you can promote your brand and service proposition using your strategic alliances as a bridge to your clients and potential customers.
When you establish a new business alliance the foundation has to be what's in it for you, any alliance and everyone's clients and potential customers.
Most strategic alliances fall at the first hurdle because people forget to have a plan to promote their solutions and services to each other's clients; proposition placement can help.
Proposition placement if done well is an excellent marketing technique that can be successfully utilized with your strategic alliances and benefits all parties if you return the favor.
Put simply, it is just ensuring your message is in the view of the clients when they receive or view a communication from any alliance you have established.
It can be done in the following ways:
• Make sure you have promotional material issued with your alliances newsletters or mailing to clients, again you can ensure your alliances are included in your client communications
• Alliances need to be aware and convinced of the elevator pitch for your proposition and know the type of clients you want to attract to your business. They can then promote your solutions to the right people as part of their own service pitch
• Have your alliances promote your services in their tweets or face book and LinkedIn communications to clients
• If you have any promotional videos make sure you add these to an alliances website or YouTube channel
• Place a poster or your literature in a prominent position within your alliances offices. This is something you can off course reciprocate
• Ensure any promotional give aways your organization produces such as calendar's and pens are available and on display in the offices of your alliances
• Have you considered writing a blog? You could draft a suitable blog that promotes all that you do and ensure that any alliance you have includes this on their website or even issues it as part of their client communications.
Many businesses issue a newsletter for clients and are always grateful for relevant content. The key is to ensure what you write is relevant and targets the clients you wish to attract to your business and think creatively.
Remember proposition placement is not a dark art of communication, it just ensuring when clients or potential customers visit alliances or receive communications from them that your branding, service proposition and key messages are on view.
You should of course return the favor for all your alliances.
What could you do now to take advantage of proposition placement and how could you pay back an alliance by ensuring you promote their brand and messages?
John Joe McGinley, Glassagh Consulting
On Monday 6 April
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