Strategic alliance best practices: Survey results

strategic alliance survey results

The survey numbers

Yesterday’s survey to determine the three most important “best practices” for architectural, engineering and construction community strategic alliances provided some useful insights — and others I didn’t expect.

So far, we’ve received 17 responses from this blog and an online survey of 1900 readers (a combination of my Construction Marketing Ideas newsletter list and selected friends or others interested in the topic).

If you look at the raw results, you’ll observe that the selected alliance topics are close to even in popularity.  However, I sensed something not quite right in the data — readers were confusing “least” with “most” in ranking their choices from one to eight in terms of importance.  And, indeed, when I checked for consistency and repeated selections, I discovered that about half of the readers had reversed the instructions.

(This isn’t the “fault” of the survey participants — it is a flaw in the survey itself.)

So I re-ranked results, assigning three votes to the “top choice”, two to the second and one to the third.  In order, here are what readers consider to be the most important best practices (based on my review when 14 readers had responded.):

  1. Knowing and truly trusting your prospective partner(s) well before joining — 27 votes
  2. Developing a Thoughtful alliance strategy, which can evolve over time but gives yo a baseline on which to select and work with partners — 16 votes
  3. Ensuring appropriate contact and regular communications — 14 votes.

No one ranked by anyone among the top three:

  • Hiring or developing a specialized alliance manager to co-ordinate the relationships both within your allowance counterparts and within your own organization; and
  • Establishing and maintaining a fair, and responsive governance system.

Of course it is unwise to read too much into these results.  The survey is not scientific, and the first and second items on the list are also the first and second on the actual survey document –(the “establishing appropriate contact and regular communications” choice is second-last.) As well, I explicitly asked readers to vote without worrying about whether they really know about the topic; I sought out quick, “gut feel” responses, rather than carefully researched observations.

Nevertheless, this data is helpful to me in framing my presentation.  I can now focus it on the themes that listeners are most likely to appreciate.  If we had in-house electronic surveying capacity, it would be interesting to modify the approach, so that actual attendees could vote before my presentation, I could design it accordingly, and then I could invite a vote at the end.  (Hey, maybe that isn’t such a bad idea — if I can set it up.)

Surveys like this are often helpful in your marketing decisions.  They provide feedback before you spend money, effort and resources and could warn you off of duds or provide clues about real interest.  They aren’t a magic bullet — but they are still helpful.

I’ll send readers who requested the free copy of my white paper a copy within the next couple of days and think my presentation at Construct Canada on Dec. 1 will be much better because of this research.

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