The More — The Merrier: What Is Co-marketing & Why You Need It, Too
Back in the days when I was a kid, I was fully convinced that my favourite dish was pasta, and I preferred it to anything else. Probably my mom used some secret ingredient (as moms usually do), or she simply cooked it perfectly on time. Nowadays to make sure we cook it well (and when mom is not around) we set up timers with Siri & Google. But last night I saw an interesting collaboration, which not only solves our overcooking problem, but also inspired me to discuss with you co-marketing today.
Barilla, the renowned pasta brand, partnered with Spotify for an unusual solution to help hobby-cooks say goodbye to overcooked pasta, and finally have a perfect al-dente. Spotify created Barilla-branded playlists, which last exactly as long as it takes to make the pasta on-point. It contains 8 playlists, ideal for cooking different types of pasta. What is so charming about this besides a creative idea? Let’s have a look.
What is co-marketing?
What Barilla & Spotify are doing could be called co-marketing. In very simple words, co-marketing can be described as partnership marketing. It is a collaboration between two brands, which join their forces together into developing a shared marketing campaign and promoting their products. In case of co-marketing, there is no need to launch a new product — it is rather about two brands using their existing products, wrapping those under one umbrella marketing campaign, and watching the numbers go up (hopefully!).
What is so beautiful about such collaborations?
- You have a greater audience. When two brands collaborate, you give them access to your ‘fan-group’ and they give you theirs. Sounds like a good exchange, isn’t it? Depending on your business goals, you can decide if you want to increase your reach to an existing target group, or test a new audience. In the first case, it is better to focus on cooperation with a brand, where your customers might be similar. In the latter, you might want to seek a partner, which gives you access to new audiences to experiment with.
- You save up a great deal of money. This one is quite easy. You have your budget for rolling out the marketing campaign, your partner-company have theirs. If both brands invest into building an impactful promotion — you share the costs by two. This is good to remember when planning your campaign, evaluating your ROI, and yes, convincing your boss.
- You build your brand identity. Coming back to our pasta, what did Barilla want to achieve? Besides the target group and splitting the costs? They might have also considered how they want people to perceive them. Once Barilla is on the supermarket shelf, it is more like a commodity product, you do not give too much thoughts to it. You know the brand, grab the box and just cook. Now that you see the connection with Spotify (and happen to like the service as well) you have a different emotional attachment to the same box of pasta on the shelf. You might not even consciously notice this, but now you associate this brand with another service or product you like. So think how you want to be positioned in the market. What do you want people to think and most importantly — how do you want them feel about your brand? Hip and contemporary? Hard-to-get and luxurious? Here you go, define that and partner up with your role model.
How to find the right partner?
Now that we have decided that co-marketing could be a useful tool for you, too, it’s time we have a look into selecting a right partner. Just like in real life, you choose your partners or friends, who are somewhere similar, yet compliment you, and can be trusted. Business world is actually not much different:
- Same same but different. As we discussed, we want co-marketing to increase your chances to reach out to your target group. Who are the first companies coming to your head? Well, probably, the companies with similar products and service. But not only — think bigger, be careful not to limit yourself to those similarities, and rather focus on how you want to be perceived. As a suggestion, try to think of different businesses, industries, where your products do not overlap. Maybe such formula as product + service could give you quite an interesting collaboration, too.
- You make each other complete. It is very important that you identify your skills and areas of expertise, where you are strong at, and where there is a space for improvement. Find the company, with the exact opposite situation, or at least a company you could learn from. They are experts in digital marketing or their SEO cannot be more optimised? There you go! But be ready to offer some skills of your own in return. Okay, this is quite a pragmatic approach, but what about creativity? Here the very same principle applies — you are stronger together. Think of one problem your customers have, but you can only solve it by pairing up with an expert. This will set your direction. The problem can be as simple as an overcooked pasta.
- Can be trusted. You do not want to find yourself in the situation, when you want to upgrade the boat with the sail, and get yourself an anchor, instead. Reputation is really important, and be careful, who you choose as your partners. Do your homework and set partnerships with reliable brands with a positive image. This is the only time I would ask you not to look for a partner-in-crime.
- Make the first step. Prepare a good sales pitch with mutual benefits and draft a couple of ideas. As I mentioned above, think of some problem you can only solve together, and off you go!
Co-marketing can be a powerful tool to gain new audience, improve your brand identity, gain new skills and also expand your network. This can help both large enterprises as well as smaller businesses, as each of us can learn from one another. Even though such joint campaigns can give your business a good boost, make sure this is an instrument which you can resort to once in a while.