Marketing partnerships are an invaluable channel for powering up a brand or business. They build credibility and trust, create relevance, and unlock new audiences and marketing channels. One particularly exciting way to create a strategic alliance with another company is through co-marketing.
Co-marketing is a business approach where two brands combine forces to promote each other’s products and/or services to their respective target audiences. This creates a strategic partnership that enables companies to execute campaigns that they otherwise would be unable to do on their own. The two sides match offerings that complement one another, and combine their efforts instead of creating stand-alone marketing initiatives. As a result, they achieve better content quality, larger visibility, increased lead generation, and improved customer loyalty.
Modern marketers have to face many challenges and fight an on-going battle to successfully reach out to their target audience. When you add a highly competitive industry to the equation, their job seems next to impossible. However, by engaging in co-marketing activities they can find a new angle, showcase their products and services in the best possible light, and reach a wide range of new customers.
In this blog post, we will explore the essence of co-marketing, and present to you 5 powerful insights on how to run a successful co-marketing campaign. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.
How to Engage in Co-Marketing?
Engaging in co-marketing does not have to be overly complex. The logic behind it is pretty straightforward – there are companies out there with unique products and services that can complement yours really well. These touchpoints mean that there’s a high probability that you share similar target markets. As long as you are not competitors, this provides a fruitful opportunity for a memorable collaboration.
The marketing partners you choose should reinforce your mission and what you stand for. They enable you to take action and further your impact. For instance, our mission at DevriX is to bridge the gap between WordPress and the enterprise world. As such, we have, on multiple occasions, partnered with Pagely – a managed WordPress hosting provider, to build scalable web solutions and support business growth.
All in all, the main co-marketing objective is to provide mutual benefits, consolidate a firm’s reputation, and be cost-effective. For this to happen, however, you need to craft a co-marketing campaign with a shared goal and purpose that work equally well for both sides.
Let’s discuss how you can do this successfully.
1. Get to Know Your Partner Well
Co-marketing partnerships can help businesses reap great results, while also giving them a competitive edge. However, to ensure your collaborator is your match made in heaven you need to get to know them really well.
According to Blend, there are three important aspects to consider when deciding on the right marketing partner – brand values; company size and scope of brand awareness; and shared knowledge and expertise.
When engaging in co-marketing you’re not only promoting your own products and brand, but you’re doing the same for your partner. To create mutual value, think about how closely your mission, vision, and purpose are in line with your associate’s. This will have an immediate effect on your collaboration, so you had better do your homework well.
Furthermore, once you approach a company, you first need to make sure you are on the same page and share similar brand ethics.
Read also: The 6 Rules of Successful Brand Consistency
Company Size and Brand Scope
Scope and size matter. If your prospective marketing partner is a small to medium sized company but with a lesser known brand and limited brand awareness, they might not be the right fit for you.
On the other hand, trying to team up with well-established businesses will take a lot more work, as you would have to prove to them your high co-marketing partnership potential. You’d be better off pitching to an organisation that is relatively in the same range as you and caters to similar audiences.
Knowledge and Expertise
The more wisdom you can exchange with your associate the better return both of you will receive from your co-marketing campaign. Look for common interests and challenges your customers have. Once you find overlapping areas, think of ways to align your expertise with your marketing partner’s, and create a marketing message that will stand well with both audiences.
2. Define Roles and Set Expectations
Co-marketing allows organisations to bring their unique skills to the table, and reinforce them. However, to make the strategy work, you need to define roles and set clear expectations for both sides that determines what each side contributes and what they want to achieve.
All great business relationships follow three Cs – commitment, communication, and compromise. So, once you’ve found the right teammate, discuss responsibilities, goals, timeframes, and costs early on.
Start by analysing what each of your strong suits are and thinking about various ways in which you can cooperate. Consider the different aspects of the co-marketing campaign and what it’s supposed to deliver by both brands. Then, assign tasks accordingly so you can reduce the probability of complications down the line.
Finally, it’s really important to evaluate every decision you made on the final agreement against your own company goals. Mutually beneficial strategic partnerships require compromises, but this means that you can easily undermine your desired outcome for the sake of collaboration.
Therefore, respectfully communicate your expectations and welcome your associate to do the same. If you are unable to find a common ground, then this is not the right co-marketing partnership for you.
3. Pair Products and Services that Support Each Other
In a good co-marketing partnership, each party compliments the strengths and expertise of the other, while also compensating for the shortcomings. The purpose of all of this is to bring value to the customer, rather than simply create cross-promotion.
Тhe first step towards achieving this is to pick products and/or services that are a good match for each other. Secondly, focus on common customer problems. Then, identify which of them your product can solve. Use customer segmentation and persona building to spot complementary products and/or services, and pitch ideas on how you can emphasize this in your messages.
When creating the co-marketing campaign, ensure that it clearly communicates the value that the two products bring to the customer when used together. You can support this messaging with customer testimonials, case studies, and survey data. Furthermore, depending on the type of product or service, you and your associate can experience the benefits of the collaboration first-hand and share your feedback in a blog post, a video, or via social media.
4. Set a Project Management Plan
A project management plan will allow you to effectively plan your co-marketing campaign and track progress over time. This will ensure that the work is done on schedule, everyone involved knows what they’re doing, while resources are distributed appropriately.
Furthermore, having the process strictly organized into stages marking milestones and objective completion, enables you to spot issues as they occur. The building blocks of your project timeline will strongly depend on your goals, the type and scope of the campaign, and other unique factors of your situation.
For example, if you undertake a larger project, like hosting an event, creating an eBook, or preparing an industry report, set aside some extra hours to review everything and make adjustments if needed. This way, you’ll be able to allocate enough time for adjustments and approvals within your team and with your marketing partner.
5. Split the Content You Promote
Once you have defined your goals, set expectations, and estimated the project timeline, it’s time to create a content marketing strategy. Consider your shared objectives and pick a type of cross-promotion that suits both parties well. You could settle on co-hosted events, webinars, videos, co-sponsored research, social media collaborations, and more.
Keep in mind that each type of content delivers different results. Webinars are educational, research projects that benefit industry professionals, while social media collaborations inspire new forms of communication. So, when you decide what you want to achieve with your co-marketing campaign, it’s important that you match the content to the marketing strengths of each partner.
Think about the marketing channels you will be using to advertise the collaboration. Are they going to be your own social media or dedicated project pages? Will you make a special press announcement or send out PR boxes to industry influencers?
Whatever you decide, it’s essential that the messaging used, by both you and the company you are collaborating with, is consistent and that it reaches the right audiences.
Finally, you need to decide what aspects each party will market. Your co-marketing campaign will be most beneficial when you and your partner promote different features of the collaboration. Each of you should focus on the unique requirements of your target audience and brand identity. This will give your alliance a competitive edge, thus improving brand awareness, and creating opportunities to target an even broader market.
If you want to spice up your marketing offer and get it across a wider audience in a cost-effective and memorable way, then co-marketing is the way to go . This will enable you to focus on your special strengths, enhance your marketing strategy, and create a truly memorable campaign.
When looking for the right marketing partner, research companies that solve similar customer problems as you, but in a different way. Consider if you can combine theirs with yours to create a unique and powerful solution, and pitch them your idea.
There are so many ways of bringing your co-marketing partnership to life, so experiment alongside your partner. And remember, the goal is to find the best-shared solution that would benefit both of your audiences the most.