In this era of unprecedented growth stemming from the shifting behemoth known as social media, it is easy to lose our way. We often get so caught up in the scramble to evolve our marketing efforts that we leave a proven marketing tactic in our wake.
Co-marketing, the art of creating relationships with like-minded, strategic partners, is often forgotten. Which is unfortunate, because it is the most powerful marketing tactic you can use.
A Common Marketing Problem
Let’s say you are a mortgage broker looking to expand your clientele. Sure, you have taken out ads in the local paper, created various social media accounts, shared your blogs about current interest rates, and linked every post back to your website. These efforts have gained some interest, but your conversion rates are low. What should you do?
This scenario can be applied to any business. You have a product or service but need to find a way to make it more profitable. Now is a good time to think of co-marketing. In doing so, you need to take some steps that will ensure this marketing tactic proves successful.
- Know Your Business
Knowing your brand inside and out is the first step in successful co-marketing. Ask yourself: What is my brand’s existing or desired culture? What strengths can I leverage and what weaknesses can I address? Who is my target clientele? What results will prove this marketing tactic successful?
- Look For Similar Values
Now that you know your brand, it’s time to start looking for the right collaborator. Create a checklist of traits your ideal partner would possess and use this as the basis for your search. Here are some good questions to include:
- Do our brands share the same values? If yes, you are on the right track. Sharing values will strengthen your partnership and enhance your decision-making ability.
- Do we share a similar core clientele? This is of utmost importance—if you are both speaking to the same audience (but offering different services), your collaboration will feel natural and beneficial to both parties.
- Do they possess expertise in which I am lacking? If your potential partner has a skill that you lack, or vice versa, feel free to leverage these differences in order to enhance your co-marketing venture.
- Do we offer the same product or services? Don’t enter into partnerships with direct competition. Using the mortgage broker as an example, teaming up with another, more established broker might generate leads, but it is all too possible that they solely reap the benefits.
- Forge the Partnership
Now that you have found the best partner for your brand’s needs, it’s time to reach out and pitch your idea. Of course, this is easier said than done. If you are the one pitching the idea, it is most likely that the brand you have chosen to contact is bigger and more successful than your own. In order to entice them, you need to offer a compelling reason for partnering.
Take the time to get to know their business the same way you did your own: inside and out. Educate yourself about their history, product offerings, market share, consumer base, growth plans and marketing habits. The more knowledgeable you are about their business, the easier it will be to tailor your pitch. Highlight how your partnership can bolster their market position.
Come prepared with concrete examples of your value as a partner. You have already done the groundwork when assessing your business and vetting potential partners. Include these shared values and competencies in order to solidify your stance as a viable collaborator.
Outline a plan for your co-marketing efforts. When choosing a marketing event or cross-promotional campaign, make sure you meet the needs of your presumptive partner and showcase the benefits to their brand. Once they are on board, it is time to get to work.
A Common Marketing Problem, Revisited
After really getting to know your own brand as a mortgage broker, you found out that you have a lot of the same values as the real estate firm down the street. Their team specializes in finding housing options for low-income families, they take great pride in customer service, and their clientele is very similar to your own desired clientele.
After meeting with the team and pitching your idea for a co-marketed open house event, you decide to become partners. In order to sweeten the deal, you even pay for the catering. Through this effort, you are able to meet many of their clients and, eventually, became the go-to broker for their small team!
This fictional account of the mortgage broker is just one example of the various ways co-marketing can be utilized to elevate your brand. If you have a sock business, why not team up with an online shoe seller and offer a discounted or free pair with each purchase? If you run a local appliance store, you could partner with a plumber and distribute each other’s marketing materials at your places of business. Here are some examples compiled by Chron.com of real-life co-marketing that have produced great results.
Begin Your Co-Marketing Strategy Today
Whether your business is big or small, brand new or well established, your brand will benefit from co-marketing. It may not be the most cutting-edge or technologically advanced marketing tactic, but it has proven itself, time and again, as the most powerful.
What are some of your favorite co-marketing programs out there that you can draw inspiration from? Share in the comments.