The Power of Partnership



I guess you could say it’s a modern version of the old adage, “two heads are better than one,” but creating partnerships in the marketing world is back in fashion. In fact, over the last decade, you can see many instances of how partnerships can become financially rewarding. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett got together to record a jazz album. The unlikely partnership sold 750,000+ copies, earned a gold record, and a Grammy. The music was bold, creative…and made them both a lot of money. It was also unexpected. Who would’ve ever dreamed of putting together two vastly different singers with a 60 year age difference? The two stars were able to multiply their market value by combining their brands and leveraging each other’s fan base. 


The same basic principle applies to one of my favorite marketing strategies: Affinity marketing. Affinity marketing is a partnership that allows two companies — or a company and a nonprofit — that share an audience to broaden their consumer base. This ultimately doubles their marketing reach and subsequently helps them sell more products and services. 


For instance, two well-known brands Taco Bell and Doritos got creative a few years back to create products like Locos Tacos, Taco Bell tacos with Doritos-flavored taco shells. It was an instant hit and the most successful product launch in the history of Taco Bell. It benefited the Frito-Lay Doritos division as well, helping them capture a larger share of the snack food market. 


The Susan G. Komen Foundation has leveraged affinity marketing strategies for a long time, since I consulted with them more than 20 years ago. The Foundation’s partnership with Yoplait encouraged people to “lick the lid” on Yoplait yogurt containers. In turn, Yoplait donated ten cents per lid to fund breast cancer research. In more recent years, the Foundation has partnered with the NFL. The partnership has raised awareness for the nonprofit to unprecedented levels, and it has benefitted the companies it has partnered with. 


The good news for you is that you don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to put together an affinity marketing plan. Mark Smith, owner of four Richmond area Midas franchises, has made a name for himself and built a very successful business by partnering with nonprofit organizations such as Feed More and Virginia Blood Services. It’s smart marketing and it’s good for the community. Thanks Mark.


2020 will be here before you know it. In 18 days, actually. You may want to think about adding an affinity marketing strategy to next year’s plan. If you do, 2020 will be better than 2019 for your company.



Monday, December 9 – Here’s Y You Do Affinity Marketing



On Monday the Texas Inn got some great press from its affinity marketing partnership with YWCA of Central Virginia. I wanted to send out a big thank you to Texas Inn customers who helped us raise more than $4,000 by buying Texas Inn-themed Christmas ornaments. We sold out in less than two weeks. The money raised will help the Sexual Assault Response Program administered by the YWCA. Although we sold out, a little birdy told me that they have a few ornaments left at the YWCA in Lynchburg.






Tuesday, December 10 – I See Bread People

On Tuesday our Director of Business & Marketing Leanne Ferry organized a gingerbread house-building happy hour. Each of the Madison+Main-iacs lent their talent to the project and if you follow us on Facebook, you know what I mean. The conference room is still a mess, with sprinkles, dots, gumdrops, and dried out icing everywhere, but it was totally worth it. If you’d like to live in Madison+Main-iac-Ville, now is your chance. The houses are starting in the low $300,000s. Heck, why not? If a guy can duct tape a banana to a wall and sell it for $120,000, I can sell Haleigh’s gingerbread house for at least that much.


Account Executive Haleigh Newlin and Communications Director Kent Brockwell decided to give Creative Director Art Webb a tour of Pinnacle Living Cedarfield, the retirement home where we will be sending him later this month. #JustKidding They were there on official business, getting a tour of the luxurious West End community.








Wednesday, December 11 – Best. Present. Ever.



As you know, our COO Molly “Mrs. Jolly” Whitfield makes sure all the trains run on time and in the right direction. This week, it happened to be in the most literal sense. Molly rode the rails from Maryland to Virginia aboard Amtrak to spend the week with the crew in Richmond — and for everyone here, it was like getting an early Christmas present. 


Speaking of the season of giving, kudos to Account Executive Allison Nida who used her paid community time benefit at Madison+Main to volunteer at Housing Families First. She spent the day cleaning rooms, wrapping Christmas presents, and helping those in housing transition.





Thursday, December 12 – It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas



I arrived early Thursday morning full of Christmas Cheer, like an overgrown elf. Nobody told us it was tacky sweater day, but Santa and one of his favorite elves, Art Director Carissa Ghaffari,  showed up rockin’ theirs. 


Thursday afternoon we had our Secret Santa Gift Exchange and I took the crew out for dinner and drinks at Max’s On Broad. All of the Madison+Main-iacs got an envelope stuffed with an old-fashioned present, cash. The Millennials were kind of confused, having never seen any. I told them it was like Venmo, but printed on green paper. 


But the room really buzzed when I told that we’re taking the entire company to Key West and Cozumel next May for another M+M Company Cruise. #BestBossEver




Friday, December 13 – Buckets of Tears


We sighed — and nearly cried — as we said goodbye to our awesome PR/Copywriting intern McKenzie “Buckets” Pickett this week. She’s been a huge help around the agency, creating stellar press releases and social media posts for various clients. On her final day, she wrote a letter to a future intern. It was a very heartfelt letter and contained great advice for the next intern who steps into the Crow’s Nest. #DaveLOVESHotDogs 


This morning I broke several local traffic laws on my way to RIC to catch a flight to Orlando, where I am speaking at the World Research Summit at the University of Central Florida, where I will enthrall tourism and hospitality pros with my wit and wisdom. Maybe. But, what the heck, I get to spend the weekend where it’s sunny and 70. #SeeYaLater






A Few of Our Favorite Events


Virginia Spirits Roadshow: A. Smith Bowman Distillery

1 Bowman Drive | Fredericksburg, VA

February 8, 2019 | 12 – 5 p.m.


Come join us for the Virginia Craft Spirits Roadshow at A. Smith Bowman Distillery! Tickets will include all samples of artisan spirits as well as craft cocktails from numerous Virginia distilleries; while guests can mix, mingle, and engage with Virginia distillers firsthand! Purchase any bottles you enjoy to take home — they’ll even store them at their concierge station while you enjoy the event. Save money by purchasing your tickets at the advanced promo prices vs. the day of: $20 for one general admission, or $35 for two general admission tickets.


Got an upcoming event you want to share? Can we come? Send us the deets!




“A cause will prompt 61 percent to try a product they’ve never heard of.”

— Joe Waters, Cause Marketing For Dummies