Co-marketing is a form of relationship marketing that allows companies to expand their reach and share in increased revenue with a partnered company. This type of marketing works at any scale and can fit into nearly any marketing plan.
Co-marketing can take on many forms: co-sponsored events, shared campaigns, co-written blogs, eBooks, infographics, co-produced videos, or webinars. Co-marketing can help companies shore up any weaknesses in their marketing approach and garner exposure to new audiences.
How is co-marketing different from co-branding? They are not synonymous. Co-branding takes place when two companies assign their name to a product to increase its value. Co-branding has become wildly popular in partnerships like those between apparel companies and athletes (think Nike’s AIR Jordan® line). Co-branded products often can attract leads and customers from a wider base than either company could muster normally. Co-marketing, on the other hand, takes co-branding a product further. Each party is involved in the full promotion of the product and shares in the results of their work.
Two brands footing the bill can also free up additional funds for future marketing efforts. Beats Audio, a hip speaker production company, partnered with computer company Hewlett-Packard to include their speakers in HP laptops. HP brought in a whole new demographic of young audiophiles, while Beats Audio gained a foothold in the computer manufacturing industry.
The best co-marketing partnerships create a synergistic relationship where both companies become stronger as a result.
Companies looking to enter the co-marketing arena should first look for a match in their own industry. It would not make much sense for an audio hardware company like Beats Audio to co-sponsor an event with snack company Clif Bar due to the disparity in services offered and target demographics. Finding the right partner is often half the job when investing in co-promotion. Always show the potential value your company can bring to theirs first and foremost.
Remember that the marketing carries the weight of two brands and thus everything needs approval by both companies. Keep track of the results. You may even find the partnership was so beneficial to both companies that you will continue working together over the long term.