How to best make use of large corporate "partnership"?


Let's say a small software company has a product which can help several very large key players within the industry sell far more of their products. Let us also assume that these corporate giants have heard of the small software company and are interested in forming a sort of "strategic alliance". Placing the risks aside, what kinds of things can the little guys ask from the big boys for help with?

Some ideas are:

  • Exposure/marketing
  • Access to the big boys' software and dev teams
  • Receiving sponsorship to travel to industry events for free etc...

Marketing Strategy Partnerships

asked Feb 16 '10 at 00:55
515 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

1 Answer


First, good business relationships are two-way. What do they hope to gain from you? If it's just a logo-swap, who cares.

But here's some things that can work out:

  • Marketing dollars. Not the same as co-marketing. Usually people ignore ads from well-known companies, so it's not clear that co-marketing is useful by itself. Funding for your own ads (with them listed in the corner or "powered by" or whatever) is terrific.
  • Access to dev teams. I haven't heard of a big company volunteering to do development for a small company and giving up the IP. If that did happen, you're dealing with a non-stellar remote team, which also doesn't sound terrific, but sure free is free. This sounds unlikely.
  • Sponsorship to events. Yes! Going alone is good; also carving out a section of the big boy's booth can be very good. Gives you legitimacy and gives them something new to talk about at the show.
  • Reselling. Their salesguys sell your stuff. This is how IBM operates and is often the precursor to being bought out completely. This opens new channels not accessible to you, which is good. It probably means a ton of new features, training, and time, so be comfortable that the reward is waiting for you.
  • Introductions. People answer the phone when the big guys call. Who else do you need to talk to? Ask for introductions.
  • Funding. Big companies fund little companies all the time. VC money is often not "smart" money, but company money often is because they're more attuned to the market and opportunities. And of course it makes it even more likely that they'll buy your company eventually because it will be at a "discount" (in the sense that their investment comes back to them).
answered Feb 16 '10 at 01:30
16,231 points
  • Thanks Jason! Some great points. Will definitely shoot for marketing dollars. Reselling sounds like a great idea, although difficult to approach, any tips? – Nbeecroft 14 years ago
  • Reselling has to be in their best interest. Of course making money is always interesting, but the real question is: If the salesfolks had your product in their arsenal, why would that lead to MORE sales or upgrades of their EXISTING product? That helps their core competency rather than being an add-on. Often it's even just good to give the salesfolks an excuse to call everyone up with something new, or to get a maintenance renewal that would have slipped due to inactivity. – Jason 14 years ago

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Marketing Strategy Partnerships