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Cross-Promote Your Business Through Partnering

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Say the word "partnering" and company execs immediately tune you out. The term drums up notions of giving up your business goals or limiting your creative license. But in reality, becoming advertising partners with another company can be very beneficial for all parties.

Ford Motor Company is a prime example of partnering success. This time last year, Ford yanked $100 million of their magazine ad dollars. Instead, they began the hunt for ad partners so they could tap into events, performances, sports outings and database marketing.

Their ultimate partnering strategy was announced recently. With the release of the 2001 Ford Escape came the My Dream Escape promotion. Ford partnered with 15 different publications to create two-page advertorials unique to that particular magazine.

Best of all, the magazines did all the work! Over 150 publications were asked to produce their own version of a "My Dream Escape" package. For instance, Food & Wine magazine proposed a dream package where the winner gets to spend a weekend learning cooking tips and secrets from a classically-trained chef. Esquire magazine places one lucky winner with a trip to a writer's workshop to develop their personal writing skills with a professional author.

Even cereal distributors are actively involved in partnering. When you purchase certain General Mills cereals, you instantly get a free full-version game on CD-ROM. But this CD contains advertising messages from Lightdog.com and Pfizer Animal Health. And the very first thing you hear is, "This CD is brought to you buy General Mills, makers of your favorite cereals."

CVS and WebMD jumped on-board the partnering ship to raise money for the National Women's Cancer Research Alliance (NWCRA) in their fight against breast cancer. In turn, all ads mention both companies and both Web sites have prominently displayed links to the other through specially designed banners.

Blockbuster Video and Domino's Pizza also join forces for special offers. Order a pizza and receive Blockbuster coupons. Commercials mention both companies and show their logos.

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