You’ve probably heard the saying, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Co-marketing is like that. When done properly and with the right partner, your small business stands to gain a lot more visibility and sales among your target market than you might by going it alone. Plus by pooling resources with another organization, you can potentially implement an attention-getting program that would otherwise be well beyond your resources both financially and in terms of manpower.
The goal of your small business co-marketing campaign is to find a partner whose products or services complement yours and don’t compete, at least not across the full breadth of your offerings. One small business-to-business company I know of in the healthcare area currently is engaged in a co-marketing effort with another company in the same market. Most of their products complement each other; but there are a few that could be considered competitive depending on their application.
There’s more to finding a good partner, than complementary offerings. Also consider:
- Are your target customers the same? Your current customers don’t have to be one and the same, but they should potentially benefit from the collaboration you offer.
- Does a potential partner have good industry standing? After all, you want the partnership to enhance your reputation not detract from it. You also want to anchor the partnership on a foundation of trust.
- Does the other company have the resources – time and money – to make a contribution to the effort equal to yours? Even if you invest more time, and the other company more money; you want to be sure that the division is equitable.
There is any number of options for a co-marketing relationship considering the growing importance of social media marketing as well as traditional offline marketing. Here are a few examples:
Make it social: When it comes to social media, you can cost effectively co-market simply by mentioning each others’ products in your social media channels. If the budget allows, consider special Facebook promotions – some kind of discount on combined purchases for Facebook followers. You can even come up with a special Facebook page focused exclusively on your co-marketing effort or a YouTube video showing how the products work together or services complement each other.
Content marketing: As appropriate, come up with content materials bearing both company logos that address issues/questions joint customers and prospects would have. For example, a real estate firm and a law firm could do a piece on reverse mortgages and their relevance to trusts and wills.
Events: At trade shows, host an event with your partner or offer information on each others’ products/services at your booth. If the media are in attendance, talk about your relationship with the other company during interviews.
Whatever you decide, just be sure to have the same goal in mind, communicate a lot and periodically review your efforts to make sure they are on track. If done right, a co-marketing campaign “could be the start of a beautiful friendship.”