What do your clients need most? What are the hot topics, biggest challenges and critical business problems in your market space? What other companies do a great job providing complementary products and services to solve these problems? Are you working together? Perhaps you should be.
Cooperative marketing efforts hold significant advantages over marketing programs run by an individual organization, including:
Enhanced value propositions. This is the biggest reason that co-marketing works. Customers and prospects can tune out communications that are perceived as “just another embellished message from the ABC Co.” Receiving a joint communication from multiple companies about a solution provides objectivity and greater credibility than hearing from just a single provider. Stepping outside the creative and messaging norm without hiding your identity can create renewed interest in your offerings.
Lower costs. Partnering allows companies to reduce creative, management and delivery costs. Sharing the investment in reaching a target audience can also allow for beefier campaigns without the corner-cutting that takes place when budgets and resources are more limited.
Shared resources. Pooling talent, divvying up the labor and sharing resources allow for major accomplishments that otherwise would be virtually impossible. The “mind-width” factor allows different experiences, expertise and perspectives to be brought to bear on marketing challenges. Branding constraints can be loosened to allow flexibility in design and creative that you may not be able to execute alone. The opportunity to expose your company and products to new prospect lists may be reason enough to consider a multipartner marketing campaign.
Channel development. No company works in a vacuum. The more successful companies are those with allies, partners and spheres of influence that magnify their market presences. Management teams from different companies that have rolled up their sleeves and worked hard together to reach a common goal develop trust and a valuable sense of the team.
A word of caution here. You can't manage by committee. For a partnership to be successful, you must identify one strong leader to serve as referee and filter for opinions and ideas. This leader must be able to step back and objectively evaluate the enhanced value proposition for the end user, keeping the program focused, educational and mutually beneficial.
At the end of the day, everyone is in business to be successful and profitable, and those who figure out how to leverage relationships with other businesses stand a better chance of succeeding.
Craig Conard is president of Sudden Impact Marketing, Columbus, Ohio. He can be reached at Craig@simarketing.net.