I am so excited to have Marc Gordon’s interview going live this week. He’s a Customer Experience Expert out of Toronto, Canada, and is an internationally recognized thought leader in the field of customer experience. In our interview, we had a chance to discuss what it takes for two companies to create synergy. This is essential for there to be a positive outcome for buyouts or partnership opportunities. We also dig into the importance of integrating the culture of a business post-merger and post-deal. After all, you can have the greatest deal structure, legal agreements, and finances, but if the rest of it doesn’t come together? You’re in trouble.
Marc has been regularly featured on TV and radio. He’s even been referred to as Canada’s Marketing Superstar by the Oprah Winfrey Network. As an award winning keynote speaker, Marc has spoken for some of the world’s most respected companies, including Bausch and Lomb and Hilton Hotels.
Corporate Staging to Enhance Deal-Making
One thing Marc has done a lot of work with lately is what he calls “corporate staging”. A lot of companies have a great product or service, and they reach a point where they are looking for either partners or buyers. But even if their books are good, they can’t get into a conversation. Their online presence is sabotaging them. Potential buyers and partners go straight to Google, and when there are huge issues with a company’s online presence, they can’t even make it to the table to discuss deals.
Whether the issue is their branding, their website, or their social media; they have massive barriers. These problems are based on the way they’ve curated their online presence. And who can blame other organizations from saying, “If this is such a great company or opportunity, why do they look this bad?”
No matter how good the numbers might be, it’s hard to overcome perception issues. Marc’s had the opportunity to work with companies on corporate staging in order to turn their image around. Often, this is done quickly. 72 hour turnaround times are a regular request. Why so fast? Well, it seems that many businesses realize in the final days before a proposal goes out that they are going to be under a whole new level of scrutiny. Of course prospective partners and buyers are going to be heading to their website and social accounts! And in order create synergy for a great deal, details have to be considered.
Drive Deals With Marketing
When people think of deals, they don’t automatically see how something like customer experience or marketing might play into success. However, deals can absolutely be impacted!
The truth is, quite a few companies that are turning a profit look unprofessional. When they reach the stage where they may be looking for venture capital, a buyout, or a business partner, they just aren’t prepared.
Often this happens when a company has been super focused on creating a stellar product or service. They simply let marketing and branding fall by the wayside. Essentially, they realize too late that they’re walking into a formal affair wearing jeans and a t-shirt. That’s a problem, especially when they should be wearing a tuxedo!
When they call me, says Marc, they’re saying, “We need you to make us look like the company that we believe we should be.” And the truth is, they ARE that company. It’s just that no one else can tell. This creates huge issues when it comes to sitting down at the negotiating table.
Marketing Reveals Who Your Company Truly Is
By focusing on marketing, they have the ability to look established. They can come to the table and look as strong as they actually are. They want to look like they are leaders in their niche and market, and they can do that by stepping up their marketing and brand presence.
Hoping to gain a partner, start a joint venture, enter into a strategic alliance or sell your company? Marc recommends that you work with a branding and marketing expert sooner than later. Certainly make sure you have a strong online presence before you start putting out offers or bringing people to the table.
And speaking of the table… When you go to make a deal, you have to consider the perspectives of everyone involved. Yes, that includes the CEO. But it also includes the people in charge of sales, marketing, and branding. And everyone is looking for reasons it might not be a good idea, reasons it might not work. If you have a poor online presence, you can expect there to be conversations about that. At the very minimum, someone will have the due diligence to say, “We’re going to have to sink time and money into laying a groundwork that doesn’t exist yet.” I’ve personally seen that be an issue during negotiations. It can literally result in a less lucrative deal for the company.
Create Synergy and Position Yourself for a Strong Deal
Another great way to think about your marketing and online presence is as a key to your corporate culture. A website or social account is a great way to actively show what kind of culture you’ve built, and how dynamic your business is. That also means it’s a great place to create the synergy for a strong deal.
However you desire to position yourself or be perceived, a solid online presence can help make that a reality. When done right, you can artfully reveal exactly who your company is. You can profile how you relate to your target audience, and why you’re positioned to be an industry authority. Those are all excellent things to have established long before you sit down to make a deal!
Again, you have to remember that the first thing an interested party often does is Google your company. And no matter how much of a positive impression you or your product may have made, it’s really hard to overcome what Google turns up. Of course, we’re not talking about inflating your company. We certainly aren’t misrepresenting who you are. Ideally, your online presence is a robust extension of your culture, values, product, or means of service. It’s vibrant, it’s clear, and it’s directly connected to who you are.
It’s Worth the Investment
That’s why it makes a difference to work with a true branding or marketing professional. It’s a field where you get what you pay for. It’s worth investing here in order to put your best foot forward in a digital age. Essentially, you have to have your ducks in a row. To start with, you have to have the product, the service, the quality support, and a great team. Marc uses the analogy of icing a cake.
When you buy a cake, you don’t look at the cake inside. You look at the frosting. It’s your first impression; the thing that makes you go, “I want that one.” Now, if you take a bite and the cake’s stale, everything goes downhill from there. Marketing and branding can’t compensate for a mediocre business. But when you have the business foundations down, they can be a really fun way to top things off. You can use them to create synergy and set yourself apart as a top candidate to anyone in the market looking to make an acquisitions, merger, or other profitable deals in your industry.
Marc and I also had a great conversation about customer service. We discuss how creating great customer experiences can build the foundation for strong deals. To hear more about that, listen in over on the podcast!
Corey Kupfer is an expert strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. He has more than 35 years of professional deal-making and negotiating experience. Corey is a successful entrepreneur, attorney, consultant, author and professional speaker who is passionate about deal-driven growth. He is also the creator and host of the DealQuest Podcast.
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