Collaborative marketing, or put simply, businesses working with other businesses is a great addition to your marketing mix.
Since commencing the role as City Centre Manager, Lismore I have been involved in working with local businesses on a number of collaborative marketing activities. At present a thirty second television commercial is airing on Southern Cross Ten (view commercial) which features five businesses (Harris Cycles, Lismore Shoes, Inspired Youth Performing Arts, Mum ‘n’ Me Maternity and Madhouse Discount Variety). So this week I wanted to talk with you about how you can incorporate collaborative marketing into your marketing mix.
Collaborative marketing ‘also known as ‘horizontal’ or ‘fusion’ marketing, is the strategic alliance of two or more companies under a single marketing banner’, or put simply it is businesses working with other businesses (RedCMarketing).
In doing so you can reach new target audiences, minimise the amount invested (financially or otherwise), and create and make the most of new opportunities for your business. From the consumer’s perspective they receive additional value above the price on the swing tag which can result in positive word of mouth about your product or service and act as a way to start to build a long term, mutually beneficial relationship with your consumer.
Look to the big players for ways to use, and make the most, of collaborative marketing. RedCMarketing explains, ‘Think of James Bond films and Aston Martins, Disney and McDonald’s, Pepsi and Brand Beckham. If you fly with Emirates they’ll recommend you book your hotel with lastminute.com and hire your car from holidayautos.co.uk. But these are all examples of very different companies offering different things, enjoying a mutual association that increases their exposure in a market they may otherwise not reach’.
In practical terms here are a few ways you can implement collaborative marketing:
- A NIGHT TO REMEMBER – As I mentioned in a previous blog ‘Make Christmas your Retail Heaven‘ you can work as a co-operative effort with multiple stores that sell complementary products to deliver a VIP night. This will provide a positive environment in which you can deliver information about your products and services to new potential clients and an opportunity to build your database and relationships with new customers.
- TAILOR MADE – Go beyond simply recommending another business and work together to offer a comprehensive package tailored to your target audiences. A brief example is a hairdresser, beauty salon and manicurist offering a package of services for a single payment made at any of the three businesses. This builds rapport and the credibility of each business with the clients of the other especially as because the services are quite intimate in nature the customers highly value recommendations, or in this case, the higher brand reinforcement by seeing the three businesses working together.
- QUALITY INVESTMENT – Drawing on the above two concepts you can work with complementary businesses to market and promote your united enterprise. Use the most appropriate communication tool for your target audience and product/service. This may be traditional mediums such as television, radio or direct mail, or utilise social media, online or interactive outdoor tools to really drive home your message. Whatever the tool, I highly recommend ensuring that there is the option for longevity so that production costs in future are minimal and that the initial investment produces a quality advertisement and not something which detracts from the offer.
- IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL - for collaborative marketing to be truly successful each business involved in the initiative must have a clear understanding of their role and expectations. Furthermore a timeframe and budget must be set. As with any marketing a ‘flash in the pan’ approach is not enough for businesses to reap long term rewards. Instead have a commitment of at least three to six months and budget allocated and as always measure where possible.
If you have done some collaborative marketing we would love to hear about your experiences so feel free to post in the comments below or on our Facebook wall, or if you have questions just let us know.