Is B2B Collaborative Marketing Good for Business?

Posted by Amy Kenigsberg on Sep 22, 2022 1:35:00 PM

Two  colleages discussing ideas using a tablet and computerKnow 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.

To clarify:

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.

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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.

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Whatever form it takes, collaborative marketing has its pros and cons. Always do your due diligence first.

Pros

Cons

Multiplies your audience size by exposing you to new highly targeted potential clients

Not easy to set up - Expect to spend a lot of time on communications, ironing out wrinkles, getting to final agreements

Reduces costs by sharing expenses of various marketing activities

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

Not equally beneficial - One brand or company may end up walking away with the bigger advantage - and it may not be yours. Carefully choose who you partner with.

Lets you access your brand-partner’s unique skills, expertise, and experience to help you develop more effective marketing campaigns

Not easy to control - Each brand comes with its own creative and marketing philosophies. To make the collaboration work, each side may have to compromise or cede some creative control

Brings new ideas to the table, and new perspectives in how to grow your business, as you open your eyes to new markets, promotion strategies, marketing channels, etc.

Not focus-friendly - Shifting your focus to an external partner might cause you to de-emphasize your own brand and get distracted from your own brand goals

Enables and nurtures long-term relationships that can be beneficial professionally as well as personally

Not for the commitment-shy - Every business endeavor, including collaborative marketing, requires deep commitment. If you’re not ready to go all-in in terms of time, effort, and resources, think twice before you act.

Expands your business social network and enlarges your pool of financing options

Potential liability issues - Just as business partners share in the benefits, they may also equally split the results of liability and other negative issues

 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.  

Topics: content marketing, marketing, social media, brand, customer communications, integrated marketing, collaborative marketing