Cooperative marketing and advertising refers to partnerships your business or company might make with another business or organization. Marketing and advertising partnerships are one of the faster-growing ways to expand your target prospect audience and join forces to create an even stronger, more effective marketing campaign. While this isn’t necessarily a new concept, it is growing in popularity and there are increasingly successful partnerships that help to advance the efforts for all the businesses involved.
Cooperative marketing can be as simple as sharing mailing lists, or it can evolve in a variety of creative ways. You may have noticed cross-product advertising or the common “if you like this, then you’ll probably like that” marketing technique. Cooperative marketing can also involve sharing an advertising space or air time with a compatible vendor, or linking with a charity or educational event as a sponsor, co-sponsor or corporate partner.
It is important to find a compatible fit for cooperative marketing. For example, if you are in the insurance business, then partnering with a financial planner might make good sense. Two or more competitors might not be the best fit for a cooperative marketing project, but it just depends on the particulars and the goal. One of the main benefits of cooperative marketing is that you are able to reach a larger target audience. The old, “two heads are better than one” concept. It can also be an effective way to stretch your advertising budget and reach a larger prospect base.
Some cooperative partnerships are simply a reciprocal marketing approach. Two businesses may swap mailing lists or may agree to include the other’s marketing flyer or materials in a mailing. Often magazines who reach out to similar audiences may swap or trade ad space so that each can advertise in the other’s publication. This can save money and extend marketing efforts.
There are no hard and fast rules that dictate how cooperative marketing should be handled. You’ll need to evaluate partnerships based on your marketing plan, your company’s mission and what seems to make common sense in terms of expanding your public relations. Make sure that any agreements between two parties are in writing and have been well communicated to prevent problems and misunderstandings from developing. Additionally, make sure you do your homework to make sure that you are partnering with a reputable company–your association will likely not go unnoticed by your patrons and your goal is to help sales and market placement, not hinder them!