Just the other day I was involved in a discussion on this very issue and discussed with a colleague the wonderful example of the global strategic alliance that has been formed between: McDonald's, Village Cinemas and Pixar Movies Animation Studios.
What wonderful simplicity when you think of who the target audience is for all three of these businesses that you realise that they are for a large part, the same group.
But the simple truth is that and businesses or organisations can do it with a little thought.
The first question that needs to be asked is what other quality organisations out there, already target my target market and may already have well established good will, market expertise and professional networks already set up.
The second question you need to ask is which of these organisations from question 1, can I approach that are complimentary but not competitive with what my business or organisation does?
Finally what am I willing to offer and what would I like those other businesses to offer the same market in any co-marketing campaigns between us. Here you literally have a blank canvas and are only limited by your own imagination and creativity.
In the case of the example above the specifics are well known with movie merchandising available at the restaurants and access to McDonald's vouchers when you buy movie tickets, and so on.
In marketing I believe that this tool works so well because the businesses leverage and support each others efforts. It is a classic win-win scenario and one that should be very appealing to SME's everywhere.
So go to it and start thinking about who you could approach to form such an alliance with.
And until next time, good luck and good marketing.