Collaboration is one of those buzzwords that business people use all the time, but rarely mean anything to most of them. However, I use the word often – with purpose and intent. I do so because collaborative marketing – where two or more businesses help their clients to see new, valuable opportunities — has improved my business and I want to help other businesses see the same results.
The best collaboration occurs when two or more businesses work together to serve the needs of clients. Notice: I did not say to make money. The money will come, but only when the collaboration is truly serving the needs of their clients. And that is where most business people fail. They focus on dollars, not delivering what their clients’ needs.
Through my MarketShare collaborative marketing program, I help companies to apply the strategies of collaboration to joint marketing efforts. This coordinated and cooperative marketing approach saves companies time and money, but more importantly, it helps them to solidify relationships with their clients. What client won’t appreciate knowing about goods and services that can help them, suggested by a trusted business. That’s the hidden beauty of collaborative marketing: While it helps businesses to obtain new clients, it reinforces the value a business places on its customers by providing them with complementary products and services that might be useful.
Here are a few collaborative marketing strategies, appropriate for two or more businesses seeking the same clients:
- Making personal introductions – ideally, in person, not by phone or email of each other to their clients who could benefit from the complementary service. A mutual friend introduced a business person I do not know to me and we have great potential synergies. The mutual friend didn’t just do each of us a favor, but she reinforced that she understands and appreciates each of our businesses. I should point out that I went to the lunch because I trust her, which was key.
- Introducing each other in their respective emails. This approach can be really successful, but it does require some careful wording to ensure it doesn’t look like a sales call.
- Cooperating on programming such as seminars or workshops. Two complementary businesses might invite their clients to an event where they will talk about each of their new services. By leveraging each customer database, both companies increase the benefit of giving one talk.
- Sharing coordinated advertising costs. Two or more businesses can cut their advertising costs in half by working together on ad campaigns.
- Creating joint products and/or services. Pooling two or more companies’ expertise can lead to great market innovations that wouldn’t be possible without the collaboration.
These are but a few of the possibilities available to companies open to collaboration. The possibilities are limitless, as long as two or more businesses come to trust each other and their goal is to serve their clients more effectively.
The best collaborative marketing plans I have seen require strategic goal-setting, planning and implementation and evaluation.
My MarketShare program is designed to ensure maximum benefit from collaborative marketing efforts with minimal costs. It isn’t right for every business, only those businesses who are looking truly provide additional value to their customers.
If you believe collaborative marketing might be right for your customers and your business, contact me. We can discuss what might work for you and who good collaboration partners might be for your business.