Forming strategic marketing alliances with other businesses is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach new audiences and maximise engagements.
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Successful Marketing Collaborations
Look at the amazing collaborations with global giants such as Nike and Apple, Heinz and Cath Kidston, Starbucks and Spotify, they are truly amazing. It’s not just global giants that can benefit from a good marketing collaboration, these concerned strategies can work just as effectively for a SME and larger organisations.
Never Average Marketing is going to help you by creating five steps to make your marketing collaborations a success whatever your company size.
As we know the biggest challenge for most brands is lack of awareness – which is why more than 80% of businesses say that finding new customers is one of their biggest barriers to long term growth. This need combined with limited budgets is what drives a number of brands to explore marketing collaborations to grow their business and brand. But collaboration remains one of the best-kept secrets of the entrepreneurial world.
More than 60% of start-ups and small businesses are working together to find new customers, because it can be one of the most productive and cost-efficient ways to grow a business and brand. At one end of the scale, businesses are co-creating completely new products, or running whole marketing campaigns or on-pack promotions together. At the other end of the scale, savvy start-ups get together with other brands to promote each other and share each other’s products to expand their own reach.
Here’s how to set up a successful marketing collaboration and get results on a budget the Never Average Way:
Be clear on your objectives
All effective marketing starts with clear knowledge of what you want to achieve and developing collaborative marketing activities is no different. Firstly, identify what you want to achieve. Identify whether you want to reach more people- your potential target audience; whether you want to reach a very specific or niche group of people; perhaps you want to improve your brand reputation; or reward your current loyal customers in some way.
Always knowing your objectives will enable you to be clear about what activities you would like to do with another business and brand.
Thinking like a customer
Having your customer at the heart of all your marketing decisions is vital to effective marketing and a very important part of your whole marketing strategy, and sadly one which is sometimes overlooked. So, when it comes to choosing a brand to collaborate with, your customer is the best place to start. What brands does your customer base buy and interact with? What brands do they aspire to buy? Which ones complement your brand? Ultimately which one best suits you and your business – business culture, aims and objectives are as equally important, and most importantly think about your customer.
Knowing your customer is key and a good customer profile is essential.
Be true to your brand
The final filter for selecting the best brands to collaborate with is brand fit. The most effective marketing collaborations are when the very essence of the brands involved genuinely work well together.
Whether it is having a common cause, matched brand values, or a similar culture- something must be complementary between you and your potential partner to make a successful relationship, rather than a superficial one. Ultimately it has to feel natural and believable to work successfully.
For example, When McDonalds where announced as a brand partner of the London Olympics back in 2012, they came under some pretty heavy scrutiny, because the perceived brand values jar with each other on several levels regardless of their similar brand size and giants of their respected markets – The Sponsorship of a world sporting event by a fast food just caused major issues and heavy scrutiny .
So, by contract, Nike and Apple working together to create fitness accessories that talk to each other makes collaboration genius and gives added value to the consumer. Perfect Brand fit.
Think ‘mutual benefit and gain’, not payment
There will always be a role for paid-for sponsorship deals, but it’s best to build relationships based on mutual benefit rather than monetary gain . Once you know who you want to reach and what you want to achieve, the art is to identify what you have of value that you can offer potential brand partners. – Mutual benefits and gain.
You could give away products in return for free advertising; offer up competition prizes for editorial coverage; feature other peoples’ competitions in your marketing in return for featuring in theirs – the opportunities are endless and it’s also about being creative and thinking outside the box.
Don’t get caught up thinking you have nothing to offer because you’re small or don’t do much marketing and limited budgets. If you have just one shop, there will be non-retail brands itching to access the people that walk through your doors every day. If you have a great social media following, or awesome client base that is well received by a specific group of consumers, then these are your assets and help create your business leverage.
Focus on the relationship
In return for reaching new customers and promoting your business for little or no cost, be prepared to invest time in creating a strong relationship with your brand partner.
Like every part of your business, be open and honest about what you both want to achieve and agree your joint objectives upfront. We have a great saying at Never Average Marketing – “They are only words, say them and together we can sort anything.”
If you get the right balance, you will both want to repeat the activities again and again, which really pays back on the time spent finding, meeting and working together on your collaboration.
Also be flexible- remember this is a partnership and creativity in the early planning stage is key. Once you have established a central idea for working together, look at all parts of your respective businesses and see how and where you can spread your idea across multiple marketing channels. An important point that is often missed is the monitoring process and the reporting of this – together look at roles and responsibilities of all activity’s time involved and tasks ,print adverts or social media you will get a better return on investment (ROI) and a clear understanding of all parties gains of the collaboration.
Plan ahead and agree clearly who will do what by when. The best ideas can sometimes fall down at the final stage – so make time to go through the detail and agree responsibilities upfront. If there is any copy, creative or artwork required, set up a process so that both parties can sign it off in good time by the deadline. Always allow extra time and patience to resolve any differences of opinion that may crop up without pressure. And identify some key measures (key performance indicators or KPIs) that you both feel are good ways to track success by.
Reaping the rewards of collaboration:
The only limiting factor for collaboration is finding the right partner to do it with.
The majority of businesses we work alongside find this the biggest hurdle, as it often takes meeting someone whilst networking to get the ball rolling ,and that’s where some businesses massively struggle .
Never Average Marketing can help with this process – we have thousands of connections in all different types of industry, markets and sections and especially via our own brand – Yorkshire Information Point.
We can facilitate the whole process from identifying a potential collaboration, introductions, meetings, producing all creative media plus all campaign development and management and the all-important monitoring.
Because with some time, effort and careful management by Never Average Marketing and our network we can find the right partner brand and business, you could reap serious rewards.