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Marketing Through Cooperation – Collaborations and Joint Ventures

I really hate the term “Joint Venture” sometimes, because it has become a catch phrase for something quite a bit less than what it really is. I have chosen to use the words “collaboration”, and “cooperation”, because it encompasses a lot more than just a single event or narrowly defined class of cooperation.

The whole point is, that you can cooperate with your associates, and even with your competitors. Some people are paranoid of cooperating with competitors, but when you do, you end up with a benefit to BOTH of you, instead of harming your business as you fear. It works especially well if you are each targeting a slightly different niche, or if you have related but not directly competitive products, but even direct competitors can cooperate to succeed. Any trade show is exactly that – everyone groups together to make a bigger splash than they could make on their own.

To make them work, you have to think outside the “internet marketing” box. It is not all about swapping email lists, nor is it all about giving away freebies. The truly effective joint ventures go way beyond that, and have far more power than just getting subscribers from a bunch of people who are used to ignoring emails and just want the freebies.

All a joint venture is, really, is two people agreeing to cooperate for mutual benefit. It can be very small, or it can be very large. In its infancy, it is a link exchange or ad trade. All growed up, it is an event, product launch, marketing plan, project collaboration, etc.

Joint ventures depend on relationships. You cannot approach someone for a collaboration that involves trust (even if it just means trusting you to follow through with your part of the work) unless they know something about how you work, communicate, and whether or not they feel they can depend on you. And that means finding ways to associate with others within your marketing arena.

Collaborations and Joint Ventures can come in any flavor, and are limited only by your creativity. Some types of collaborations include:

  • eBooks – You can join with others, either by cooperating as co-authors, or by requesting contributions from other authors in return for giving them credit. The eBook can be sold, or given away for viral marketing purposes.
  • Ad Trades – These can be small, or large, and can take place in a wide variety of mediums.
  • Projects – Development of products, launch of products, etc.
  • Websites – You can collaborate with someone else to build a joint website.
  • Events – Online or offline events are usually organized by one or more business people, and then other businesses are solicited to cooperate and participate. This is a joint venture on a large scale, and with several levels of participation.

In order to spot opportunities, you have to get out there and get to know people. Once you do that, you’ll start getting an idea of people with whom you can cooperate successfully, communicate with well, and work together with for mutual benefit.

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