Marketing Partnerships: How You Can Play Nice-Nice, Just Like Hanover and Sears
In a roundtable discussion held on April 11 during a Hudson Valley DMA luncheon in Greenwich, Conn., Hanover Direct Vice President of Corporate Marketing Amy Schilder led a group on the best practices involved in partnership marketing. Specifically, she pointed out that partnerships with other marketing companies require several key components in order for them to work for both parties.
Below are several take-away pointers from the discussion in which she focused primarily on Hanover’s own partnership with Sears, in which Sears offers a line of clothing from Hanover’s Silhouettes catalog.
* Make sure both partners’ goals are in line with one another. In the Sears-Silhouettes relationship, Sears fills a void in its women’s apparel line by adding the plus-sizes of the Silhouettes line. For Silhouettes, Hanover Direct was attracted to the arrangement because most Sears customers placing orders for the line are new-to-file for Silhouettes, Schilder said.
* The structure of the relationship must work for your company. Previously, the two companies worked together by marrying Hanover’s Domestications (linens) catalog with the Sears brand so that Sears customers were receiving a “Sears Presents Domestications” catalog. That deal fizzled out a few years back, and the Silhouettes-Sears Web deal came along as a better fit for the times.
* Don’t let the relationship become a “sleeping giant. Never put it on ‘auto-pilot’,” Schilder cautioned. Approach the partnership as you would your own business by testing all channels and integrating among all areas of your business. Seek continuous improvement with constant evaluation of the relationship, she noted.
* Constantly measure your success. Ensure that your objectives are constantly being met. Gauge your own revenue stream. It should always be an appropriate supplement to your product or service offering and serve as something of a reward to your best customers. Also, she said, see if it can serve as a means of reactivating or activating customers, as well as a brand enhancement.
* Use a partnership as a means of increasing your distribution channels. Because Hanover doesn’t operate any stores, Schilder said that the Weehawken, N.J.-based multititle cataloger seeks other means of distribution through such relationships as the one with Sears.