Collaborative Marketing

Collaborative marketing can bring benefits beyond what money can buy and it involves partnering other businesses/media. In other words, this is how you can stretch your marcom budgets.

In business, just as in personal lives, finding the right partner will always bring positive outcomes. Here are some pointers to consider next time you want more bang from your bucks:

Can we pool ad budgets? It is possible to find a non-competing entity with which we can share a theme. A nutrition or diabetics centre and a health club can split the cost of a campaign, focussed on slimming excess fat or getting in shape for happier life. Or, a cosmetic dentist and plastic surgeon can combine their resources for a look-your-best campaign. A cosmetics manufacturer can tie up with a dietician and a fitness centre for an anti-ageing campaign. A plumbing supplier and landscaper can mount a radio campaign encouraging drought victims to conserve water by replacing thirsty fixtures and greenery. By sharing a 100 sq cm advertisement instead of putting two separate 50 sq cm ads, both advertisers will enjoy better visibility for less.

Can we swap mailing lists? Specialised lists epitomise target marketing but can be costly. Suppliers of home security systems and consumer medical equipment can trade rosters to expand their markets, as can a commercial insurance broker and temp agency. Appliances marketers can tie up with credit card providers for identifying target customers in offering customised deals.

Construction companies can benefit from a tie up with banks.

Can we share display space? Automobile dealers should sell the experience, not the wheels. Picture this showroom display: The luxury SUV that is packed with golf gear. Nearby, two attractive mannequins, outfitted in golf gear and accessories. This set would simultaneously bag customers for the participating sporting goods store, which might even offer the displayed items as drawing prizes. Entry forms available at the dealership would have to be deposited in a box at the sporting goods store. Just about any firm that uses display space should consider co-promotional opportunities. There are ample opportunities to do this in any business. For a major exhibition of industrial goods where the investment involved is steep, one could get a partner to share costs. This partner must be complementing to each other. For instance, if you are a supplier of seating mechanism to carmakers, you could partner with an accessory supplier while participating in an automobile trade show.

Can we share literature racks? Lobby and waiting room captives will read virtually anything, and some ultimately will respond. Similarly, business-card holders can be placed on counters. Web page designers and quick-print shops are proven partners. Advertising agencies and design studios can form partnerships. In fact, service providers can easily tie up with other service providers or retailers. Hotels and airlines get into such partnerships very often. Banks also have joined them in recent times.

Can we insert promotional items? A bookstore might tuck a bookmarker of an advertiser into its shopping bags, while the advertiser encloses best-seller book circulars in its bags. A consumer promo of a talcum powder can be done through insertions of discount coupons in a similarly fast moving item such as a fairness cream or shampoo.

Can we do statement stuffing? A brokerage/investment firm and travel agency can mutually profit by recognising that each relies heavily on HNIs and affluent retirees. The brokerage can insert an enticing cruise leaflet in its statements, and the travel agency can include a flier about tax-free bonds in its ticket envelopes. Credit card statements can accompany special offer leaflets of others.

Can we consider co-sponsorship? Some event promoters allow multiple exhibitors to rotate within one space, solving staffing problems of small firms.

Seminars also are lucrative opportunities, especially for professionals. For instance, a psychotherapist and holistic healer can stage a stress-buster seminar.

Can we share below-the-line promotions? Why shouldn't two companies share exposure on calendars, coffee mugs, and myriad other giveaways? Simply concoct a tie-in slogan, like “refreshment for body and mind” that can be successfully used by Coke and a deodorant brand. A dress material marketer can get such sharing with watch or perfume brands. The possibilities are endless.

Can we bundle products and services? Dinner at a fine restaurant and movie tickets are an unbeatable combination, especially when a discount is promoted in ads.

Can we share unconventional media? Consider such alternative media as newsletters, shopping bags, marquees, and bulletin boards. All offer viable audiences. Restaurant menus or table talkers can suggest catching a current play after dinner. In turn, the movie theatre can promote the restaurant’s late dinners and memorable desserts during the break or on the tickets.

Have you done any collaborative marketing as yet? Do share your experiences for others to benefit and learn from.

(The author spearheads execution and innovation for clients @CustomerLab)

M Muneer