Co-marketing campaigns are popping up all over the place, especially with the rise of social media marketing. This marketing method has been a huge success for my fitness business, Barre Base. It’s made our brand more reputable and helped us reach more clients. Here’s what I’ve learned from our experiments in co-marketing.

What I learned by using co-marketing in my business

Co-marketing is a partnership between at least two businesses or brands with the objective to share one another’s resources, and customer base.

Basically, I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.

In this case, unity is strength. Successful co-marketing campaigns generate “win-win-win” situations that offer value not only to the partnering businesses, but also to your clients.

I mean, who doesn’t want a fabulous goodie bag?

Execution is key with co-marketing — you want to be sure you’re pairing up with the right brand to make the best possible impression on potential customers.

Who should I co-market with?

Start out by thinking about what businesses share your values. At Barre Base, we’re advocates for holistic health, so we made sure to look at products and businesses who shared these values.

Be picky

Many businesses fall into the trap of partnering with anyone willing to offer them products. This can be detrimental to your brand and can make your clients question whether your ideologies are genuine or not.

Most commonly, brands with similar values share similar clientele. If your business’ point of difference is being eco-friendly, for example, there’s probably no point in co-marketing with a brand whose followers don’t care about being environmentally conscious. Your brand isn’t as likely to appeal them.

Your campaign is much more likely to be a success if you’re marketing to people who are already into your philosophy!

This Barre Base competition was a partnership with Natural Things. Natural Things is a business who sell organic and ethical products. Their goal is to educate and empower people to make healthier choices; a perfect fit for our philosophies.

If your clients picked you for a certain reason, be sure you don’t pair with an unlikely brand.

Don’t pair with a direct rival

Once you’ve found a brand with similar marketing ideologies and buyer personas, make sure they’re complimentary. While you want to consider brands that work well together, it’s best to steer clear of people who might be in competition with you.

If you’re a hair salon, why not pair up with a massage therapist and offer the complete relaxation package? Or a personal trainer with a local health food co-op: appeal to the clients who want overall wellness and selfcare.

Create your campaign

Once you’ve paired up with another business, it’s important to plan it out. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just decide what services you want to offer and post about it on Facebook.

Laying the groundwork

Don’t leave any room for confusion about what each party expects from the other. Some things you’ll want to lock in before starting:

  • due dates for all materials (images, logos, blogs, etc)
  • number of posts or blogs
  • number of emails or SMS to be sent
  • length of campaign

Once everyone is clear on what’s expected, you can get to work!

Remember, these partnerships only work when the relationship is mutually beneficial.

Both parties need to benefit and feel as though equal work has been put into the campaign.

Identify your strengths

All businesses have different strengths and resources, and that’s what makes co-marketing so effective. Do you have a dab hand designer on your team? Then put your hand up for that task! If you assign tasks based on strengths and resources, the process will be more effective and efficient.

Our business was still in its infancy when Manuka Doctor and Artemis paired with us. We had around 1k followers on Intagram. In comparison, Manuka Doctor had 30k and Artemis had 5k. However, with both business keen to heighten brand awareness in New Zealand (where we’re based!), they both stood to gain from being involved.

Because we had less value to offer them, and fewer followers, we knew we had to bring something else to the table. We used the skills available to us (pre-existing relationships with professional photographers and designers) and created high-quality advertisements featuring their products.

Both Manuka Doctor and Artemis ended up using these images for their own marketing later on, so they found further value from our relationship, despite it seeming on-sided in the beginning.

Sharing contacts/clients

One of the most advantageous things about co-marketing is that you can share each other’s clients and followers to create new networking opportunities. All of a sudden, you’ve got access to heaps of potential new clients! If you’ve chosen your co-marketing buddy well, they’re people who will be interested in what you’ve got to offer.

Sharing the client list from another business is hugely cost saving too. Rather than paying to capture the attention of a whole new reach of clients, you can piggy-back off your partner’s list. Save your marketing budget for other things!

Create enticing prize packs, packages or events

By buddying up with other businesses, you can create enticing campaigns which would be more difficult to execute alone. Co-marketing is about sharing or swapping resources, products or skills.

You could:

  • Create a prize bundle for a giveaway on social media using each other’s products or services
  • Provide their clients with discounts or benefits when they choose you
  • Create an event alongside other brands
  • Create a new product that combines elements of both brands

This co-marketing stunt combined Lewis Road Creamery Milk with Whittaker’s Orange Chocolate. This has been a hugely popular and widely shared co-marketing campaign across New Zealand.

The better your prize-pack or incentive, the more attention your brand and the campaign will receive. And the more attention the campaign receives, the more likely it is that you’ll get some new clients!

Partnerships heighten credibility

Co-marketing helps to build your brand’s credibility. Not only is your visibility increased, but also the arrangement made between you and your partner is reflective of the level of trust they are willing to invest in your brand.

Co-marketing has endless benefits, from doing more with less money, to enhancing your brand’s reputation! Every business is unique and offers different values.

When diving into co-marketing, identify the strengths you have to offer, both to the other business and to their clients.

We ended up getting over 1k new followers on Instagram in the week after our co-marketing campaign with Manuka Doctor and Artemis. It took careful work, but was well worth the effort. And most importantly, it was worth the effort for all parties. Reciprocity is key to any relationship, and it’s no different in marketing.