A Beginner’s Guide to Co-Marketing

Companies engaged in co-marketing inside an office.

There are A LOT of ways to market a brand. Some companies kill it with email, others excel on social media. Influencer marketing and video creation have gotten a lot of press lately. Oh, and we can’t forget about blogging, which is still highly effective.

But there’s one proven strategy that doesn’t get talked about nearly enough: co-marketing. 

In this article, you’ll learn what co-marketing is, why it’s so beneficial, and four best practices you can use to make sure your co-marketing campaigns are successful. Sound like a plan? Then let’s dive in and get started!

What is Co-Marketing?

According to Sprout Social, co-marketing is:

“A marketing strategy where brands or organizations partner together to expand their reach. Typically, the companies working with each other have some similarities, such as being in the same industry or having similar audiences.”

For example, back in 2012, at the height of the GoPro craze, popular energy drink company, Red Bull, partnered with the camera maker to support Felix Baumgartner as he made his record-breaking skydive from 24 miles above the earth’s surface. Remember that?

This was an excellent co-marketing example because both GoPro and Red Bull serve a similar audience (extreme sports enthusiasts) and were able to collaborate on a monumental event that the entire world tuned in to see.

But co-marketing can be done on a much smaller scale, too. For instance, your company could partner with another organization to write an ebook or a series of blog posts, host an event (in-person or online), or just rep each other on social media.

Why is Co-Marketing Beneficial?

The benefits of co-marketing are pretty clear. Using this strategy, you’ll be able to reach more people in less time and with a lot less hassle. Let’s take an in-depth look at both of these important advantages:

Greater Reach

A well-planned co-marketing campaign will give you immediate access to new potential customers. Think about our example above. Both Red Bull and GoPro cater to extreme sports enthusiasts. Because of this, each brand was able to get their products in front of a new audience that’s already primed to appreciate what they do.

If you can connect with a company that serves a similar audience to yours, but isn’t a direct competitor, you can quickly grow your brand’s reach.

Less Hassle

Let’s face it, planning and executing a successful marketing campaign takes a lot of effort. Co-marketing will allow you to share the load with another brand.

For instance, maybe you and your partner decide to write and distribute an ebook together. Normally, this kind of project would require you to do the research, write the content, and promote the finished product to your audience all by yourself. With co-marketing, these time-consuming tasks can be divided equally between you and your partner.

4 Co-Marketing Best Practices

Now that we know what co-marketing is and why it’s beneficial, let’s talk about how to develop this kind of campaign. Keep these four best-practices in mind when entering into a co-marketing agreement with another business.

1. Find the Right Partner

This is the foundation. Without the right co-marketing partner, your entire campaign will fail. So make sure you ask yourself these five questions before partnering with another brand:

  1. Do they serve a similar audience? This is the first question you need to ask. If the answer is “no”, you should probably find a new partner as the connection won’t prove valuable enough to you.
  2. Does this brand have a good reputation? They may serve the same audience as you, but do they have a good reputation in your industry? If not, you might not want your brand to be associated with them. 
  3. What do I get out of this partnership? What are you hoping to get by co-marketing with another company? Many times the answer will be “leads”. Make sure the value you get out of the partnership is worth your time.
  4. What do they get out of this partnership? In a similar vein, ask yourself how your partner will benefit from a co-marketing campaign. They need to receive value, too. Don’t approach a company with a one-sided deal.
  5. Is this brand fun to work with? Lastly, try to assess whether you’ll enjoy working with another brand. You don’t want to saddle up with a company who drives you crazy or holds contradictory values to yours.

2. Play to Your Strengths

Once you’ve found the right partner to co-market with, take an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Where does your company excel? Where does it fall short? What can your partner do really well? What do they struggle with?

Jumping back to our ebook example, maybe you have a couple of amazing writers on your team so you volunteer to handle the content creation. And perhaps your partner has a few connections they can use to secure in-depth interviews for the ebook research process.

If you split up tasks based on strengths, your co-marketing campaign will run more efficiently and achieve better results, guaranteed.

3. Create and Promote Stellar Content

Without great content, your co-marketing effort will be dead in the water. So make sure you take your time and craft materials that are truly exceptional. Here are a few content ideas:

  • Ebooks: An ebook is one of the most common forms of co-marketing, mostly because the work is easy to divide and the end product is high-value. 
  • Blog Posts: If an ebook is too big a project, try collaborating on a simple blog post that’s published to a high-traffic site. Or, even easier, agree to a guest blog post or two. 
  • Videos: Video is an incredible powerful marketing medium. Why not capitalize on it for your co-marketing campaign? For example, you and your partner could take turns interviewing each other via Zoom. 
  • Events: Try hosting an event with your partner. The easiest way would be to co-host a webinar, but an in-person get-together is a viable options as well. 

Once you’ve created a piece of content that you’re proud of, you need to promote it. We’re talking about email newsletters, Instagram posts, blog announcements. You may even decide to run a few Facebook ads and/or an Adwords campaign.

Promotion should also be a joint effort. Make sure you coordinate your marketing strategies and run promo campaigns that contain similar messaging.

4. Analyze Your Results

The final step is analysis. If you don’t take the time to run the numbers, you’ll never know if your co-marketing campaign was successful or not. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Did we hit our goal?
  • Was the process enjoyable? 
  • Why did we achieve the results we did?

This last question is super important.

For instance, let’s pretend you just wrapped up a successful co-marketing campaign. You hoped to acquire 100 new leads, but actually scored 150. Win! But if you don’t know why this happened, you won’t be able to recreate the results.

Was it because your content was so incredibly amazing? Or did you just market your material in a new, more effective way? Was it something else? You need to know the answer.

Wrapping Up

Co-marketing, when done correctly, is a highly-effective way to promote a brand. It will allow you to reach more potential customers with less hassle. Fortunately, it’s not a difficult strategy to implement. Simply adhere to the four best practices outlined in this article:

  1. Find the Right Partner
  2. Play to Your Strengths
  3. Create and Promote Stellar Content
  4. Analyze Your Results

We encourage you to experiment with different co-marketing campaigns and partners. You may be surprised by what you find. Good luck!

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