NOTE: I previously shared with you my thoughts on 10 marketing trends that I plan to focus on in 2015. Of those 10 trends, I plan to break each one of them down into its simplest form so that you can understand it and implement it in your own destinations or places of business.

As I bring this series to a close, I’ve said many times before, people don’t trust organizations, people trust people.

With that being the case, it is imperative that you develop strategic partnerships to further your marketing efforts. When most people think of strategic partnerships, they immediately think of finding a complementary organization or business to complete a project. And while that is one way of doing strategic partnerships, there is another way…and that is old-fashioned networking.

Being involved in various networks of your industry will provide you with strong partnerships that do not involve monetary transactions. Remember, people trust people, right? So, allow yourself to be one of the many faces of your company’s brand, and connect with like consumers. Show a genuine interest in people and make sure your product has something of value that they would want to share and pass along. And be sure that you are sharing and passing along their information too. Don’t make it a one-way street or this will be a dead end for you.

For destination marketers, here are four ways to develop key strategic partnerships:

  1. Get to know your media vendors. While this relationship involves a monetary transaction, it is definitely worth the investment. Rather than spread your marketing dollars too thin across numerous vendors, select key vendors to work with. These relationships will help you in negotiation and also being in the know when new products are launched.
  2. Get to know your destination influencers, online. Go beyond the ‘likes’ and have genuine conversations and interactions with the top influencers in your destination. Thank them for their work, brag about them to your networks and send them small gifts from time to time to reinforce your gratitude.
  3. Get to know your destination influencers, offline. Nothing is better in any relationship than putting a name with a face. Once you’ve had online interactions, move some select relationships to the offline world by meeting up for coffee or cocktails to discuss similar initiatives.
  4. Get to know other organizations. Not all organizations share the same end goal, but lots of organizations share similar agendas. Learn about those organizations and find similar initiatives that you can work on together while still accomplishing your respective organizational goals separately.

These key partnerships you are building will not only aid your business, but they will aid you in growing your professional network. A professional network that can give you advice about new products. A professional network that you can call on for assistance in gaining insight to a new a business endeavor. And a professional network that you can use for help with a potential job opportunity.

People Trust People – remember that!

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