These days, it’s possible to achieve nearly any marketing goal—if you have an unlimited budget. For those of us working within tighter constraints, the challenge is achieving measurable results while limiting spend. That’s why Return on Marketing Investment is the single most important metric I track, and the area that I’m always looking to improve for my clients.
Having kept a close eye on both budget and results, one of the areas that I think is sorely underused in the B2B realm is co-marketing. Co-marketing is where two or more companies collaborate on marketing efforts, whether for a short-term project or a long-term partnership, to the benefit of all involved. This can include:
- A joint promotional event or webinar
- Collaborating on the development of marketing content such as white papers, blogs or articles
- Cross-collaboration in social media promotion
- Creating a new product
Key to a good co-marketing effort is selecting the right partner firm or firms. While collaborative efforts between direct competitors is obviously off the table, co-marketing between companies that have complementary offerings or the same target audience can generate excellent results.
Co-marketing efforts generally result in lower costs for each organization, as expenses are shared across multiple company budgets—but the benefits go well beyond cost savings. Co-marketing provides access to resources and best practices from across multiple organizations, which can be especially powerful for firms with a smaller marketing team or limited resources.
Another critical benefit is that co-marketing efforts tap into both companies’ existing audiences, providing greater reach and attention within a targeted market segment. Co-marketing efforts also generate warmer leads—a benefit that can be further boosted through targeted customer introductions from the partner organization.
In past projects, I’ve seen additional co-marketing payoffs that include:
- Increased brand strength and awareness through association with another respected brand
- Value added to company’s offerings through connections to complementary services, products or knowledge
- Better, warmer leads
This is not to say that every co-marketing effort works well, or that you should run out and partner with the first interested firm. Sometimes finding the right organizations with which to collaborate can be tricky; even those that seem a good fit may have a conflicting goals, different timelines, or lack the manpower to effectively deliver on a collaborative project. You also need to keep in mind that the very nature of a partnership creates additional complexity that can slow down processes. However, such drawbacks are often minor compared to the tremendous benefits a co-marketing relationship can offer.
In my experience, co-marketing not only minimizes costs, but also increases the probability of success for both organizations. Now that’s great return on marketing investment.