What is Collaborative Marketing?
The term “collaborative marketing” might sound new, but the concept has been around—and used successfully—for a long time. What is it? And why would you do it?
Collaborative marketing is the process of sharing resources to increase sales leads, market share, and awareness. You might share resources with another like-minded company to broaden awareness of each other’s product with the same target market. You might team up with a social media blogger to increase your company’s influence in a specific market or demographic. Collaborating with customers can help you gain loyalty, increase influence, or innovate your products.
Essentially simple, but potentially profound, collaborative marketing brings people, ideas, and resources together to create something new that benefits everyone involved.
The Creativity of Collaborative Marketing
Collaborative marketing can get really creative. For example, Uber and Spotify teamed up in a campaign to enhance the customer experience. Both companies are tech startups, both offer popular apps, and their services complement each other. Now, Uber riders can connect their Spotify apps to the car’s radio and choose the music they want to hear during the ride. Uber users were introduced to Spotify, bdoth companies could tap into each other’s users base, and both sets of customers enjoy a more personalized experience.
Sometimes, all you have to do is ask your customers what they want. In the case of cult brands Jeffrey Campbell shoes and Black Milk Clothing, both companies’ fans were buying both companies’ products and posting pictures on social media. By marketing to the same audience together, they leveraged two popular trends and turned it into a super trend. Both companies have cultivated stronger relationships with their customers, expanded their fan communities worldwide, and shoes and printed leggings flew off shelves.
With blogs considered among trustworthy sources of information, many companies want to collaborate with bloggers so that people pay attention to their message. Collaborative marketing with a blogger can take the forms of a gift to an influential blogger who mentions your product, sponsored posts, product reviews, running a giveaway contest through a blogger, social media contests, influencer competitions, and others. The sky is the limit to creativity here.
Challenges of Collaborative Marketing
Like any marketing partnership, there can be pitfalls along the way. Be on the lookout for:
- Lack of a common mission, or an inability to maintain a common mission
- Lack of commitment, such as not providing sufficient resources or equal focus to the partnership
- Costs of group decision-making, which can range from extra time required for collaboration, delayed decisions or less market agility, to unanticipated financial costs
- Moving from independent to interdependent thinking, which is one of the most difficult challenges for businesses
How to Succeed with Collaborative Marketing
Successful campaigns are strategic. You have to know exactly what you want to achieve. Reach more people? Reach a specific group of people? Reward existing customers? Whatever your goal, the more specific you are, the better.
You need to choose the right collaborative marketing partner. What brands do your customers buy? Which ones complement your brand? A “like-minded” brand partner or one that has a similar culture will likely be easier to work with. You have to be true to your brand and work with a partner who is also authentic.
Once you have narrowed down your choices, take a hard look at what you have to offer them. It doesn’t have to be financial—it can be exclusive access to a limited retail presence, a large social media following, existing media presence, etc.
Teams must share data, resources, and information freely to make better decisions and achieve the most desirable outcomes. The more resources that are shared, the better the outcome of the collaboration. Not only does this give you better raw material for inspiring creative ideas, it’s critical to sharing customer feedback, tuning your tactics, and continuing to improve on the campaign. Honesty and transparency are critical.
Engaging brand partners or customers through collaborative marketing requires a lot of two-way conversation—with your own team, your brand partner’s teams, and your customers. Make the entire collaboration process easier with a common tool that’s easy to use, such as Amium. Chats, files, activity feeds, and the ability to work with anyone, anywhere will help your collaborative marketing effort go more smoothly. And Amium is free, so give it a try.