Conclusion

While the customization principle seems straightforward, enough permutations can be developed to help small business marketers with all of their marketing objectives. Staples used the principle to build brand equity. American Express used it to gain a powerful physical aggregator. Pfizer, IBM, and Microsoft are creating a market for a new and customized vertical software solution.

The key to successful partnerships is maximizing customization either along the product axis or along the contact channel axis. Although each situation is different, these general guidelines may be helpful:

  • The more competitive the category, the more product customization is required
  • The more complex the offering, the more contact-channel customization is required

As small business marketing becomes increasingly competitive, simple discount offers become decreasingly sufficient to change behavior. Marketers need to become more and more relevant in order to be successful at capturing their targets.

Y

HAVE PRODUCTS TO SELL

HAVE TARGET MARKET TO REACH

Y

Y

WHO IS THE TARGET?

WHAT IS OFFERING?

Is product differentiated/relevant to this market?

How is target segmented?

Who are the category influencers?

What needs are fulfilled? Which behaviors are Leveraged? Which advancement/improvements does this facilitate?

Need partnership to reach them?

HOW IS OFFERING COMMUNICATED?

What is the complexity of message? What is the difficulty in reaching target? Does appropriate channel already exist? Does channel have credibility with target?

Need partnership to strengthen offering?

Need partnership to create/strengthen contact channel?

Figure A.13 High-Level Trigger Points for Partnership

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