What You Can Learn From Survivor

I got an email the other day. It said, “In an unprecedented
collaboration, four of the premier independent mountain destinations in the
West: Alta, Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows have
created an alliance to form the Mountain Collective, offering a groundbreaking
pass for the 2012-2013 season.”

The word that stuck out, besides unprecedented, was alliance. I’ve
never watched the TV show Survivor but I know that the difference
between winning and losing can depend on your alliance. Seems like the premier
independent mountain destinations Alta, Aspen, Jackson Hole and Squaw Valley
think that may be the difference between winning and losing too.

Mutual benefit

Alliance marketing is the term used to describe marketing activity
undertaken by more than one entity, jointly to promote and sell a concept,
product or service which has benefit to all the stakeholders.

Elizabeth Mansfield

Elizabeth Mansfield


Who is in your alliance? Do you have one? I know that there are plenty
of alliance marketers on the vendor/manufacturer/distributor side of O&P
but what about on the patient care side? An alliance will always have a common
theme that all participants will benefit from. It could be that you provide
complementary services. Physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, diabetes
management, wound care and therapeutic shoes could be considered complementary

What You Can Learn From Survivor

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Have you ever been to a Greek diner? I don’t know about where you
live but where I live every Greek diner has a paper placemat and on that paper
placemat are ads for many local businesses. Now they haven’t actually
formed an alliance, they’ve bought advertising space on the same placemat
but the reason they were chosen by the advertising company is because they are
all local businesses. Perhaps they only sell space to one business in each
business category, making it a de facto alliance.

Know your alliance

To most people a paper placemat is a collection of ads, and you
don’t really run the risk of being negatively associated with any of the
other businesses. I don’t think that offering a group ski pass is terribly
risky either. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be cautious when
setting up your alliance. You need to realize that you could be dealing with
conflicting objectives, strategies, corporate values, and ethical standards.

It’s a good idea to brainstorm some worst case scenarios before you
go ahead and form that alliance. What if your alliance is as simple as allowing
other complementary services to place their brochures in your brochure rack in
exchange for you placing your brochure in theirs? Sounds great but what if they
let all three of your closest competitors put their brochures in there too?
That would defeat the purpose. It would be a shame if you did all the work and
ended up getting “voted off the island.”

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