Know the pros and cons before you dive in
Like any endeavor, B2B collaborative marketing has its up and downsides. It’s up to the partner-brand companies to strike a good balance. Before we dive too deeply into B2B collaborative marketing pros and cons, definitions are in order because a few related terms - i.e., co-branding, co-marketing, brand partnership - are often bandied about and may cause confusion.
Collaborative marketing combines or merges one brand’s assets and resources with those of other brands with similar products, audiences, or interests to more effectively achieve marketing goals for both organizations. Combining both companies’ strengths accrue to the benefit of both parties. Because it is a marketing effort, it's closer to the term …
Co-marketing, the process in which two brands agree to promote each other’s products or services to their respective audiences. Each partner uses the other to help market its offerings, thereby attracting untapped market segments and mutually boosting brand growth. For example, a co-marketing partnership between Intel and computer manufacturers can take the form of each party promoting the other on their respective websites, social media, events, and other marketing channels.
Co-branding is a branding effort in which two brands team up and together develop new products or services. In B2B, where there are significant investments associated with product development - R&D, operational costs, technical know-how, etc., two companies uniting - with all that entails in sharing and saving on resources - to realize a new common project is an attractive option. Consider a real-time indoor GPS platform for retailers integrated directly into a loyalty software app.
Brand partnership, in which one or more related businesses - sharing a target market - align so their respective clients can see the partners’ products and services. A partnership between a food and beverage company tied with agriculture and a platform that puts ag intelligence at its fingertips is advantageous to both parties. Having another company’s existing and loyal customers check out your offerings advances your sales funnel, saves money on outreach, spreads your message more quickly and easily, and just may provide you with ideas on how you can add more value for your customers.
Whatever form it takes, collaborative marketing has its pros and cons. Always do your due diligence first.
Not smooth sailing - As with any relationship, you’ll encounter disagreements and conflicting ideas with regards to the what, when, where, and how of your marketing campaigns – and how to divvy up costs
Boosts brand credibility by associating with a brand partner whose sterling reputation matches yours so you will reflect well on each other
Let the marketing experts pave the way
The road to B2B collaborative marketing success can be bumpy, but you needn’t traverse it by yourself. Before you partner with another brand, partner with a B2B marketing consulting company who can play “brand matchmaker.”
From finding the right partner to helping you manage the details of win-win collaboration activities and to providing support and success measurement tools, the right collaborative marketing agency can help.