As big players prove partnerships’ popularity, is it time SMEs followed their lead?

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ITV and BBC just announced BritBox for the UK – over a decade in the making, it’s a partnered platform aimed at becoming a rival to Netflix in catalogue and original content.

Similarly, M&S and Ocado recently clinched their joint delivery service deal to the tune of £750m. Partnerships can be a game changer for many businesses, including SMEs. What lessons can SMEs learn from partnerships, especially when it comes to launch?

Alexis Eyre, head of marketing at launch marketing agency Five by Five, believes partnerships will play into the future of SME launches in a big way:

  • The importance of a challenger mindset: This is key – SMEs have the agility to build partnerships and adapt, so to challenge the status quo and offer a genuine alternative is integral in 2019. Collaborate to expose and close the gap, like BritBox can in the increasingly confusing era of subscription services.

  • Look for the low hanging fruit: M&S needs to boost its online premium retail offer; Ocado knows its wealthy customers well. Both trusted brands, so customers are more likely to trust in their new partners too. Identifying the low-hanging fruit is vital in any launch because mass-market blitzes rarely work. Growth and expansion will follow.

  • Think long-term: don’t just focus on the initial launch. Think how your need to crossover in marketing and activation over the next two years, so you can engrave the symbiotic relationship in the customer’s mind. For example, Lego has evolved partnerships with some of the most valued entertainment franchises around the globe, but it was not an overnight success.

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