04/18/2012 02:01 EDT | Updated 06/16/2012 05:12 EDT

The Power of Brand Collaboration

Marketing Rule #1: Make it easy for your customers to engage and transact with you. Trust me when I say that if you follow this rule that you will generate more revenue, profit and repeat transactions for your business. The same thinking applies when it comes to your co-marketing and co-branding programs. If you have chosen to collaborate with another brand to reach a new audience, that's great, but remember to make it simple and easy for that audience to engage with you and that you can deliver a great experience and a story that they will love.

I recently purchased an Acura RDX and as a gift with purchase I received three months free of XM Radio. Nice brand collaboration, but I have to say that the overall experience was horrible. A few days after I closed the deal with Acura, I got a call from the XM customer service team asking how I was enjoying my "free 90 day trial"? I was amazed because I was yet to take possession of my new vehicle.

Then, to make matters even weirder, the call centre agent went on to up sell me to commit to the full year of XM service which. This was really bizarre since I had not tried XM radio at all at that point as I didn't have my new car yet. I received another call the following week and it went exactly the same way. Obviously, the people at XM didn't understand that I was yet to take possession of my care and until I did, I couldn't try their service. What was most disturbing is that when I picked up my car about a month after purchasing it, I learned that XM counted that first month as part of my 90-day trial so I now had a 60 day trial. Even more frustrating...what is wrong with these people?

The issue here is not that XM or Acura sell bad products. It's not that they are difficult to purchase from and it's not that these brands are a lousy strategic fit as marketing partners. It's that as partners, they didn't discuss how the customer on-boarding process was going to work and how would they ensure that their shared customer has a great experience when they purchase a new vehicle and received a free trial for XM radio with it.

The issue is that they didn't keep it simple for the customer. Some advice -- keep it simple and you will win more and drive more profit for your business. I'm not talking about "simplicity" here, but I'm speaking of keeping it simple for the customer so that they have ease of use in dealing with you and that you keep your promise. Once my 90 turned 60-day trial is officially over, I am pretty sure I will be hesitant to subscribe to XM radio, given the lousy experience I have had to date with them.