Alliance announcement summary: what’s the customer value?

Alliances are announced every day, one day a bit more than other days. Somehow the Tuesday seems to be the prime announcement day with many new alliance press releases and the weekend seems to be the moment in the Middle East to announce new alliances. It remains difficult though to be clear on value proposition in the announcements. Let’s have a look at some of the announcements of the past week:

China Mobile and 360buy.com: ChinaTechNews.com brought the news of Chinese B2C e-commerce website 360buy.com and China Mobile to “have signed a strategic cooperation agreement in Guangzhou to cooperate in eight sectors, including retail sales and customized products.” Although the partnership sounds impressive with a cooperation in eight sectors and seven provincial branches it remains unclear what the two parties really will do together and hence what the value proposition will bring to the customer.

The launch state of the art POS Acquiring services is what the new partnership between Network International and Ahli United Bank will create. The press release is a traditional one, including the quotes of senior managers from both firms and including the benefits for the partners. However, what benefits will it really bring to the customer?: an “unrivaled range of end-to-end payment solutions”. I am clearly not in their target group, otherwise I would of course immediately have understood what an “unrivaled range of end-to-end payment solutions” means to my business.

Another approach is been followed by Pinnacle Strategies and SAS. The first quote in the press release starts with “Our customers” and also the reasoning for the partnership for Pinnacle is underpinned with a customer focus: “Becoming a SAS® Alliance member enhances our ability to give our customers breakthrough results, quickly.” Even though the press release has its traditional elements in it, it is very customer value focused.

Penn Schoen Berland & VIA Media Health work together “to deliver the best returns on the communication investment by our clients”. This press release has its focus on the customer drive being the reason these two partners work together in healthcare communications.

These four announcements are just a small take from an estimated 150 announcements that made their way into my Google Reader the past week. Reading that amount of press releases is nearly impossible so every morning I browse through them. Some of them stand out, but most of them don’t. My best guess is that 80% of the press releases is lacking the customer benefit of the partnership and often finding any benefits at all in the announcement can be quite difficult. I hope these companies do a better job at there internal launch and communication, otherwise these partnerships will be off to a false start.


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