In Guerrilla Marketing in 30 Daysthe late founder of guerrilla marketing, Jay Conrad Levinson, and guerrilla marketing expert, Al Lautenslager offer a dynamic marketing blueprint to help business owners attract more customers and maximize profits. In this edited excerpt, the authors explain how you can double your marketing results by teaming up with another business to do fusion marketing.

Imagine the surprise on people's faces when three weeks after they move they get a coupon in the mail from Lowe's home building supplies stores that says, "Congratulations on your move! Here's a housewarming gift for you--10 percent off special savings, compliments of Lowe's."

No one ever sends a change-of-address notice to Lowe's. How does the company know? Coincidentally, the same day the coupon goes out, a confirming change of address letter arrives from the USPS. Lowe's and the Post Office know all about fusion marketing. Now you will, too.

Mention fusion marketing, and nonguerrillas react with a questioning look on their faces. But fusion marketing is nothing more than a strategic alliance with another business. There are several ways you can partner with other businesses to get more business. Let's discuss these noncustomer partnerships.

Fusion marketing makes sense when two companies have similar target markets, prospects and values. Take, for example, the whole world of online marketing, a commonplace area for fusion marketing. Here companies work together to display one another's information. It can be as simple as a link to each other's sites or links to articles, order forms, applications, case studies, etc. Each participant gains more exposure while adding to the content and quality of each other's marketing.

An estate-planning attorney might supply a "Top Ten Tips to Avoid Probate" article to a life insurance company's site, and the insurance site would have a "free consultation for will preparation" link back to the attorney's site. The guerrilla factor here is that the cost to put these links on the sites is next to nothing. That, along with the energy and imagination involved, equals coins in your guerrilla piggy bank.

Power partners are another example of fusion marketing: two companies working with like customers and like prospects in synergistic fashion.

Examples of fusion marketing partners in the power partner sense include:

  • A printing company and a graphic designer
  • A professional organizer and a moving and storage company
  • A construction firm and an architect
  • A hotel/resort and travel agency
  • A real estate professional and a mortgage broker

This list of examples is endless, bound only by your guerrilla imagination and the ability to work together. 

I visited my local dry cleaners recently to drop off a batch of cleaning. I approached the counter, deposited my clothing, obtained my receipt, and turned to leave. As I did, I looked down on the counter and there in plain view was a coupon. The coupon was for the pizza store, two doors down from the dry cleaners, in a concentrated strip mall. I walked in to the recommended pizza vendor and cashed in my coupon. When I turned to leave, I noticed a coupon on their countertop for a discount off of dry cleaning at the dry cleaners I'd just left. That's guerrilla fusion marketing. These two businesses were driving traffic and buyers to each other simply by referring each other. There was no cost associated with this, only profits to enjoy as traffic increased.

Each fusion partnership offers the opportunity to market to an audience that's interested in what you offer and one that you want to ultimately purchase from you. Without fusion marketing, new audiences aren't reached and new wallets aren't found.

Fusion marketing is one of the most underused, inexpensive and effective methods of guerrilla marketing. Anytime you can tie in your marketing efforts with those of others, you stand to gain more.

Consistent with all guerrilla marketing thinking, fusion marketing doesn't have to be complex. Power partners aren't complex. A joint mailing isn't complex. Referring others with a coupon exchange isn't complex. Including your partner's fact sheet with your next delivery and vice versa isn't complex. Fusion marketing can be as simple as putting a stack of your business cards on a partner's counter in their place of business and their cards on your counter.

But fusion marketing partners don't just show up on your doorstep one morning. Using the time component of time, energy and imagination, the guerrilla marketing formula comes into play to develop the partnership. Guerrillas have to search for the right partner. When looking for partners, consider the following:

  • A company with similar values
  • A company with similar business goals
  • A company with a similar marketing attitude and mindset
  • Online marketing possibilities
  • A willingness to share and give

Finding companies like this to share your fusion is the ultimate in cooperation and the ultimate in profits.

Two forms of fusion marketing that aren't necessarily labeled as such are co-op advertising funds and sponsorships.

A sponsorship is nothing more than a mention of a company in advertising in exchange for money, favors, services, or other benefits. Just look at the nonprofit and charitable worlds you participate in. Sponsorships are heavy in that area.

Co-op advertising funds are marketing monies made available to businesses by manufacturers of products or their distributors. If a manufacturer, distributor or other supplier doesn't have a cooperative ad program, ask them to establish one.

In the online world, fusion marketing is ever present and growing at a fast rate. Most relationships are in the form of "affiliates." Affiliate marketing programs are simple partnerships between a seller and another seller or distributor that reaches beyond selling their own products and services. Each gives an incentive or commission for products and services sold by the other. Another way to look at it is that it is as an online distributorship. Distributors are affiliates as well as fusion marketing partners.

There are many different ways to create alliances, affiliates and fusion marketing partnerships. Two marketers are almost always better than one, especially if the two share one cost. Fusion marketing will enhance your bottom line.