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Ideas to build your brand through collaboration: host beneficiary alliances

By Brenda Thomson

A host beneficiary strategy is an alliance strategy where one business owner (The donor) supplies another business owner (the host) with the offer of something of value to pass on to their clients.


• A new massage therapist is looking for clients so she approaches her local dentist and offers him gift vouchers for complementary neck massages that he can give to his clients.

• A mechanic approaches real estate agents working in his local area and offers them $50.00 gift vouchers of the cost of a service which they can give to new home owners in the area.

• A jewellery store owner gives gift vouchers to a limousine company to give to clients as a “thanks for driving with us” gift.


Some important keys to successful Host Beneficiary Strategies

WIN WIN WIN Any successful Host Beneficiary Strategy must be a 3 way WIN:

• A WIN for you – obviously no one expects you to do something for nothing (although never overlook the value of building goodwill among your network)

• A WIN for the other party to the alliance – you can hardly expect another business owner to jump into a strategy which has no real or perceived potential benefit for them or their business.

• A WIN for the clients or potential clients involved in the strategy. A Successful Host Beneficiary Strategy MUST include an irresistible offer to engage the attention of the clients or potential clients.

Unless they are excited by the opportunity/offer being presented to them then the Host Beneficiary Strategy is doomed to failure from the start. (No sales pitches packaged up as 30 minute free consultations please!)


Types of Host Beneficiary Strategies

Host beneficiary programs can take many different forms and open up almost unlimited possibilities for business owners with a creative streak. However typically they fall into six main categories.

1. Gift Voucher Host Beneficiary Strategies

2. Complementary Services Host Beneficiary Strategies

3. Competition Host Beneficiary Strategies

4. Special gift letters Host Beneficiary Strategies

5. Give Away” or “Loyalty Program” Host Beneficiary Strategies

6. Multiple Partner Host Beneficiary Strategies


Category 1 – Gift voucher Host Beneficiary Strategies

With a “Gift Voucher” Host Beneficiary the donor supplies the host with gift vouchers for products or services which the host passes on to his or her data base or clients.


• You are a real estate agent. You arrange with local businesses to provide you with gift vouchers that you can pass on to new home owners – these can include restaurant vouchers, a gift voucher for a local mechanic, a complementary lawn mowing or pool clean. Whatever works for you and for the new owner of the house you have just sold.

• You are a massage therapist – you provide a local dentist with vouchers for a complimentary neck massage to pass on to their client as they leave the dental surgery. Once again a WIN all around when they happy clients come back for another massage. And they will certainly be talking about that dentist! (Note: there is potential to make this strategy even more powerful using a Special Gift Host Beneficiary Strategy see category 4)

• You are a childrens’ photographer – you supply local child-care centres and creches with gift vouchers for a complimentary photography sitting that they can give to new clients as part of their new client “Welcome” packages.


Category 2 – Complementary Services Host Beneficiary Strategies

With a “Complementary Service” Host Beneficiary the Host company allows the Beneficiary company to provide some form of free service at their place of business. The Beneficiary company wins when the people they provide the free service for go on to become regular clients.


• You are a naturopath – you arrange with a local health food store to provide their clients with a free initial allergy assessment. The health food store is able to provide added value to their clients at no charge. You benefit when some of those clients decide to continue with your services.

• You are an image consultant – you arrange with a local fashion house to provide their clients with free introductory image consultations. Not only do the fashion houses clients feel special, obviously you use clothes from that shop as part of your recommended solutions so sales are up. You use the opportunity to build your data base so that later you can up-sell higher value services.

• You run children’s fairy parties. You arrange to do story telling sessions in a local toy shop. The toy shop promotes your story telling, attracting more customers to their store, increasing sales and the number of times customers return. You use the opportunity to build your database of parents who will potentially employ you to run their children’s parties.


Category 3 – Competition Host Beneficiary Strategies

With a “competition Host Beneficiary” the Donor business provides the Host business with one or more gifts or prizes that can be used as incentives or rewards.


• You are a jeweller, you provide a local florist with 999 cubic zirconia and one diamond for a Valentine’s Day Promotion. Every time a customer orders flowers over a certain value for Valentine’s Day they receive one of the stones. The competition attracts more clients to the florist where they increase their average spend to qualify for the diamond competition. To determine whether or not they have the diamond they have to go to the jeweller who then happily sells them a mounting for their stone. A great Valentine’s Day gift!

• You are a city hotel. You provide a City Getaway weekend package to a regional Chamber of Commerce for their members to run a competition over a six week period. The businesses in the Chamber of Commerce all benefit from increased average dollar sale and more sales per customer during the period while the hotel raises their profile as “the place to stay” when visiting the city.


Category 4 – Special Gift Host Beneficiary Strategies

With a “special gift” host beneficiary the host writes to his/her database offering them a product or service (which is being provided by the donor) as a thank-you or loyalty gift from the HOST!


• You are a hairdresser and you write to all of your repeat clients offering them a complimentary manicure that you have specially arranged for them with your good friend and business associate “Patty” the manicurist next door… as a special thank-you for being a loyal and valuable customer. All they have to do to receive their complimentary manicure is call your good friend Patty and tell her you sent them and she will book them in for their complimentary manicure. Of course it is now up to “Patty” to do such a great job that they come back for more manicures on a regular basis. The win for you? Other than Patty’s appreciation, think what you have done for customer loyalty! And if you would like new clients as well why not reciprocate by offering Patty the same deal to offer to her loyal clients?

• You are a dentist, every time a new client is due for their first revisit/check-up you write to them offering them a complimentary 30 minute massage at a day spa in the same shopping complex following their dental checkup. How many dentists throw in a massage with your checkup?


Category 5 – Loyalty Program Host Beneficiary Strategies.

With a “Loyalty Program” Host Beneficiary the client or customer is given a free gift, discount or promotional product (provided by the beneficiary) when they purchase another product or service from the host.


• The Coles/Shell Alliance is a perfect example of a Loyalty Program Host Beneficiary working in big business. Every time you spend more than $30 at Coles you get a discount voucher off your next fuel purchase at Shell.

• You sell costume jewellery. You provide local hairdressers with gift vouchers for ear-rings to give to customers every time they purchase over a certain dollar value. Of course to redeem their gift voucher they have to visit your jewellery store where the odds are that they will decide that they really want more than the free earrings.


Category 6 – Multiple Partner Host Beneficiary Strategies

One of the problems facing many small business owners is that they don’t have a product or service that they can give away as part of a Host Beneficiary Strategy, perhaps because there is too little margin in whatever it is that they sell, or perhaps because what they sell is too large a ticket item to give away under any circumstances. One solution is to use the competition strategy where you offer only one, or a limited number of your product or service as a prize in a competition being run by the HOST. On the other hand some businesses may have too small a database to justify the use of a competition by a business offering a large ticket item gift. In both of these situations a second option is to create a Multiple Partner Host Beneficiary Strategy where more than one business contributes to the Host Beneficiary Offer or more than one business acts as the HOST.


• Danni the Day Spa Owner offers gift basket to the local Mercedes Dealership to give to ladies buying new Mercedes cars. Included in the gift basket is a gift voucher for a complimentary day spa treatment together with samples of the exclusive range of Essential oils that Danni uses in her massage treatments. The essential oil samples have been provided by Emmanuel who wants to increase Brand Awareness of his range of essential oils.

• The wedding photographer, the florist, the reception centre, the limousine company and the wedding dress designer all act as the host to promote a competition for a $10,000 honeymoon provided by the travel agent. All the competition entrants get to “design their perfect honeymoon” as a part of the competition – giving the travel agent plenty of targeted marketing information to promote to all of the Non – winners.

Brenda Thomson

Brenda Thomson

CEO and Founder, Synergy48 Group

Brenda has an honours degree in organizational psychology and a Graduate Certificate in training and development and she is an experienced trainer, facilitator and counsellor. She is a firm believer in mutual collaboration combined with a practical, hands on tools, strategies and systems as the most effective way to achieve real results in business. 

Brenda has over 20 years of experience training in communication, team work, time management, productivity, organisation and strategic planning in large organisations. She is also the developer of the Business Benchmarking Toolkit used by Synergy48 Group members and clients to identify areas for improvement in their business processes.

Brenda is a sought after mentor, speaker and trainer in the areas of strategic partnerships and networking with a difference.  She is passionate about actively giving back to the community. In addition to donating her speaking fees and a proportion of every Synergy48 Group membership to provide microfinance to help women in Malawi to start their own businesses, Brenda has climbed the Himalayas to raise money for Kids Help Line and helped lay a pipeline to supply water to a remote village in Tanzania.


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