COVID-19 has changed a lot about how business is done. One of the most common impacts has been the need to tighten the belt, like really tighten it. So, how exactly do businesses cut back on costs? Well, crazy times calls for crazy consequences. Businesses across NSW, Australia and the world have been cancelling projects, events and laying off record numbers of people. As unfortunate as it is, it’s also kind of expected. After all, this is the general route that most businesses take when they face unprecedented events and are financially cornered. A new type of marketing may change the direction of most businesses’ survival mode. Instead of solely focusing on cutting, firing and cancelling, they can focus on partnering, collaborating and growing. What’s this magical tool I speak of? It’s collaborative marketing.
Collaborative marketing is when two or more businesses partner, create a product or service and cross-promote it. Though fairly new to the scene, it has made its way into several big companies. Here are a few examples.
- Uber and Spotify
- Both companies teamed up to offer car share rides where you were able to connect your Spotify account and customise the music for your journey. Though both cross-promoted on each business’ platform, both are also incredibly popular and generated huge publicity and media buzz from the collaboration.
- Pepe Saya and Gelato Messina
- Right at home, two of Australia most-loved businesses have engaged in collaborative marketing. Gelato Messina used Pepe Saya butter to create ‘Pepe Knows Best’, a Pepe Saya Butter Croissant gelato flavour. Each cross-promoted the product on their platforms and tapped into each other’s customer base
As you can see, collaborative marketing has been happening right under your nose. If you’re a fan of any YouTuber, you’ll also know that content creators on YouTube are excellent at utilising collaborative marketing. They often appear in each other’s videos and cross-promote each other’s channels which results in increased audiences, followers and eventually income.
This is a fair question. With everything going on in the world at the moment, why would you focus on yet another type of marketing? Well, the difference between collaborative marketing and other types is that it’s a big bang for your buck. We simply mean that your business can receive a big return on their relatively small investment in collaborative marketing. The American Express Business Collaboration reports that medium-size Australian companies typically see sales increases of $430,000 or savings of $319,000, thanks to business collaborations.
Believe it or not, there are even more benefits to this type of marketing.
- Increased engagement
- Collaborative efforts are usually extremely buzz-worthy. You’ll find that engagement on social media goes off the chart as customers who don’t usually comment, tag their friends and express excitement.
- Exposure to new customer base
- Once cross-promoted, you’ll now be appearing on your business partner’s platforms allowing their customer base to become aware of your brand. With this, you build brand visibility and awareness and eventually, your customer base.
- Product innovation
- Collaborations bear amazingly innovative products and services. Who would have thought that butter croissant gelato would be a hit? Well, it was, and often collaborations are the secret behind creating that one product that blows up your business.
- Positive brand association
- We’re not trying to break hearts here but, sometimes, customers love and respect the brand you partner with more than your business. That’s okay because you get to piggyback on your new partner and gain a positive brand perception and association from customers.
There are many ways that you can collaborate with a business however, what you do depends on your industry, marketing goal, budget, contribution and target audience. Look for a business that share:
- a complimentary marketing goal
- There’s no point in entering a collaborative marketing partnership if only one party achieves their goal. Select a business that is searching for something that you can provide and vice-versa. Each must have a clear benefit to achieve.
- complimentary products
- To put it simply, if your business produces glass screens then you’re not going to partner with an underwear company. Choose wisely.
- brand perception is similar
- There’s an exception to the previous guideline. If your products are not complementary but your perceptions are alike, then you can capitalise on this and create an innovative marketing campaign. Arizona Iced Tea and Adidas Sneakers, while not complimentary products, are like-minded brands and created a limited release sneaker release that was a booming success.
- similar target markets
- Look for overlaps in the demographics of your and your prospective partner’s business. Remember, this is not targeting the majority of your or your partner’s base, but the percentage that falls between both businesses.
Collaborative marketing is a genius way of achieving many goals of a business. The trick is in finding the right collaborator to partner with. However, it’s worth the troubling of finding one, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. The benefits of this type of marketing are extremely impressive and can lay the road for your business in a post-COVID-19 world.