Finding New Ways to Sell Bananas (and Four Other Reasons to Consider Co-Marketing)

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Dole, the world’s largest producer of fruits and vegetables, found it had a lot of overripe bananas on its hands. This decaying product was costing it money each year, so it successfully partnered with a company that created a kitchen appliance that turns overripe bananas into frozen treats. Both companies solved their individual marketing problems by teaming up and expanding sales.

Similarly, Intel Software Partners already see the value of partnering with Intel to help develop and promote their product. And that can be just the beginning. If you’ve got big marketing ideas and small marketing resources, co-marketing with a business partner is a powerful way to do more with less, and we’re not only talking about marketing funds.

Your ideal co-marketing partner is a business with a similar target audience, different products and services, and similar goals (like helping fruit lovers find better ways to use overripe bananas). Co-marketing can be as simple as sharing the cost of advertising, and as complicated as regularly sharing client and prospect lists or integrating your products for special offers and discounts.
Here are some key reasons to consider co-marketing:

Break Down Borders
Want to penetrate a new market? Find a partner who’s already established and team up. If they’re interested in expanding into your market, then you’ve got a match made in marketing heaven. Let’s say your client base is primarily in Europe and you’d like to break into North America. A Canadian developer with North American distribution could be an ideal partner. You could promote your new partner’s app on your company’s Facebook page and in your next email newsletter to your European client base. And your partner could do the same for you with their U.S. client list. That’s a simple, no-cost way to co-market.

Grow Your Prospects
Direct marketing is only as effective as the quality of your list. It’s common for co-marketers to swap customer and prospect lists. Depending on your relationship and your business goals, you can either partner up and send a combined email offer, or, as in the example above, you can send individual direct response campaign pieces to your prospect lists. Both are powerful ways to immediately increase leads and potential sales. Keep in mind that if you and your partner don’t have comparable prospect leads or followers, the partnership agreement may have to take that into consideration. Weighting the partnership (who pays for what) to align with each partner’s contribution (who’s providing what) is vital to maintaining a strong, healthy co-marketing partnership.

Pump Up Your Offers
To effectively market and remarket to your clients and prospects, you want to test a variety of offers, including discounts and two-for-one deals. A co-marketing partner gives you more options, and another source for creative ideas, so you can mix up your offers and catch the attention of your prospects. Ask your new partner what offers have worked for them and share your own history and results. Chances are you’ll learn something new. Consider adding a trial software of your partner’s app to all your new sales, and vice versa, of course.

Maximize Your Budget
The most obvious benefit of co-marketing is the ability to do more with less. When you share the marketing expenditures, (media buys, printing costs), those economies of scale pay off quickly. For example, you can hire a designer to create an online banner ad that promotes both your products, and split the creative costs. And when you purchase your banner ad space on websites, you can pool your marketing budgets to purchase a bigger ad buy for more reach and more frequency.

To get started, research those companies who also serve your target audience, but don’t compete with your business. Then reach out. Start the discussion. And be flexible. The details of your partnership need to be beneficial for you and your new partner. You should both ask, have we created a win-win marketing partnership?

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Oleksandr C.'s picture

Added this blog entry to my favorites to keep in mind main points of co-marketing.

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