As marketers, we are always keen to explore the most effective ways to drive business success and one such method is co-marketing. It creates opportunities for revenue growth and builds lasting business partnerships that will help with strategy, and ideation and be a supportive influence on your long-term goals.
But how do you find a best-fit partner that is fully aligned with your company’s vision and take your business to the next level?
A strategy where two companies combine their marketing efforts pooling their talent and resources to generate better quality leads and increase conversion rates.
How does it work in practice?
A successful co-marketing campaign involves two businesses using their combined expertise to grow together and be exposed to an audience similar to your own. There are a number of ways businesses can come together and expand their reach from mutually beneficial partnerships but in practice how does co-marketing work?
Activities such as a promotional campaign where both companies share a percentage of the revenue are typical of co-marketing partnerships, or even hosting an event together and splitting the cost. Guest blogging on each other's websites is another way to increase lead generation and maximise audience reach.
Successful co-marketing campaigns
One excellent example of when a strategic alliance pays off is Uber and Spotify's partnership. For this collaboration, Spotify's premium users were able to link their account to their Uber account and for the duration of their taxi journey could stream their playlist in the car. Clever.
And who would have ever predicted that car giant Volvo would team up with Lego? But Volvo's strong reputation for producing reliable family cars made it possible to forge a family-friendly collab between the two brands with Volvo now being the Official Car of Legoland.
Hubspot’s Co-Marketing Guide is an excellent resource for marketers wanting to think outside the box for creative ways to partner. Options include:
Co-hosted events – Split the cost and make real-time connections with your audience.
Ebook – Collaborating on a topic of interest is an effective way to generate leads.
Blog post swap – If both businesses share a similar audience then the type of content created should be of interest across the board. Swapping blogs is a clever way to get the most out of your content and including a link back to your website in the blog will also increase your search engine visibility.
Instagram Story features – An Instagram story swap will provide you with the opportunity to feature in your partner’s Insta stories.
Webinar – Using topics of shared interests is a great way to introduce your brand, your vision and company goals to your co-marketing partner’s audience.
How to choose a co-marketing partner that is right for you?
It’s critical to put in the required due diligence when choosing a partner so that you can create genuine win-win arrangements that will endure. If a partnership is not entered into properly from the get-go difficulties could arise so here are some common co-marketing fails to avoid:
Choosing a partner in direct competition with you. Business is competitive by nature so don’t devalue your own business by opening up to a competitor who could use your strategies and resources to their advantage.
Miscommunication. If two companies are not fully aligned throughout the lifecycle of the project or campaign this could result in one company exhausting all of its time and its talent to get the job done while the other company reaps the benefits of doing very little.
Contract issues. The art is in the detail and this is very true in the case of contracts. Get it in writing at the start to avoid any confusion down the road.
Strategies don’t align. More individuals involved in a process means more strong opinions which can spark conflict. This is where strong leadership is needed to motivate, inspire and keep everyone on track.
With that in mind, here’s how to go about creating a successful co-marketing strategy to find the best-fit partner for you.
Choose a partner with a similar audience to yours. Select a company whose audience will have a genuine interest in your specialist area. There’s little point in a SaaS company collaborating with chartered accountants, for instance. But two SaaS companies that sell different software services make complete sense.
Make a wish list of companies to work with. Google search companies and consult with colleagues about who they feel would make a good match. Use social channels like Instagram or Twitter to get an insight into the type of content companies are posting. If their style of content aligns with yours you could be close to finding your perfect co-marketing match.
Do your homework. Scroll through company websites to fully understand and research their vision, values and future goals and use LinkedIn to reach out if you feel a compelling reason to connect.
Communicate effectively. Use clear, concise and direct language from the start that demonstrates how both companies must be 100% committed before going further in the negotiation process.
Determine if the collaboration will yield positive results. Find out how many leads the other company can generate using evidence-based research on past campaigns.
Test the waters. Before leaping into a full-on campaign, test how responsive the other company is with a smaller task. This will also give you the chance to experience if this feels like a positive partnership.
Agree on deliverables. Decide who is responsible for each task and draft an outline of how the work will be split equally between teams to avoid frustration further into the process.
Find effective ways to communicate remotely. In-person meetings are less popular with the advancement of technology, so finding effective tools to stay digitally connected regularly with new partners will push your collaborative efforts forward, faster.
Benefits of co-marketing
When an organisation wants to do business with you it signals that you are someone to do business with and by partnering together you can reap the following benefits:
Generate quality leads without having to expand your business to acquire a new audience.
Established businesses deciding to partner together to achieve a common goal conveys credibility and will strengthen their reputation.
Increasing your business relationships with like-minded people is a strategic way to build loyal and long-term partnerships.
Combining budgets and resources for campaign activities will maximise campaign impact and reach a broader audience.
Sharing of digital tools and knowledge results in technological benefits such as streamlining communication and collaboration to solve problems and improve productivity.
Risk sharing increases stability and limits the liability factor for a company – it also provides a good dollop of reassurance that you’re not in it alone reducing the uncertainty of things going belly-up.
With the many immediate advantages to co-marketing partnerships, like gaining exposure to a wider audience, acquiring access to more resources and improving your credibility in the marketplace clearly, it’s a strategy worth exploring. So what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone, make that introductory call and get the ball rolling.