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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Effective alliances -- the marketing power of co-operation

This image is from the website in Venice, Florida. You'll see many clues within the website about this company's effective marketing approaches -- but there are even more ideas in its quarterly magazine.

I have rarely seen such effective (and economically inexpensive) residential construction marketing as the work of Glen Kohlenberg at Absolute Aluminum in Venice, Florida. Glen, who goes under the name "Carport King" within the forums, has put together an alliance of non-competing businesses and, together, with supplier-support for advertising and production costs, they publish a quarterly magazine, "Home Improvement Time" and mail it to thousands of qualified readers within Absolute Aluminum's market area.

In reviewing the sample magazine (and collateral marketing materials) Glen sent to me, I recall this impressive posting within that drew this initiative to my attention.

When you receive it notice all the supplier logos on their products. They came to us wanting to feature their products in our magazine. We figured why not because we use their products anyway.

This paid for the last est summer edition in full. We had no out of pocket expenses. This is why co-branding works and then when you add the marketing alliance with other business in your area to sell other products that you are talking about here everyone wins.

In another posting, Glen says his company distributes 260,000 copies of this magazine at an average cost of 60 cents per copy -- representing an overall budget well above $100,000. But note that Absolute Aluminum, definitely the dominant presence within the publication, doesn't pay a cent of its own money -- and everyone is happy with the highly measurable results.
Ok, this model won't work for a small start-up. You need to have real influence with your suppliers -- it helps to purchase several million dollars worth of materials each year. But variations of it will work for most businesses, regardless of size. You just have to figure out where your market is, and where your alliances are. If you are a larger business, Glen's approach is simply brilliant and probably worth writing him a check for some consulting time.
In fact, as publishers, this co-operative marketing is the basis of our own business. We strategically integrate the marketing objectives of our clients, encouraging supply-chain co-operation to fund powerful publicity for featured companies, while respecting and supporting the suppliers who pay the bills.

(This blog, in fact, has its roots in our initiative to serve our clients, regardless of size, with the highest quality marketing advice and suggestions we can provide. It has now thankfully grown a little beyond its original local focus. We, like Glen's business, appreciate that the essence of marketing success lies within the way we treat our clients -- and initiatives such as the Absolute Aluminum's quarterly magazine are successful because they build upon the underlyin effectiveness and client focus.)

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