Co-Marketing Explained

Thanks to HubSpot for this valuable explanation of what co-marketing is and what some of the common forms are (article here).  One of my blog categories is devoted to business development (BD).  BD relationships can take on many different forms but often involve some form of co-marketing as part of the partnership.  Startups and early stage companies often don’t have the budget, brand recognition and marketing capabilities of their new-found strategic alliance partners.  In these cases, co-marketing can be one of the best value drivers of the relationship.

Here are some of my personal recommendations for optimizing co-marketing opportunities:

  • Early on, agree who does what (resources, responsibilities) and who pays for what
  • Try to be realistic about the value the other party will receive from the co-marketing activity.  Especially if you’re dealing with a strategic partner that is much larger than you, it’s easy to over-inflate (in your own mind) the value your side of the co-marketing campaign will bring.
  • It’s not out of the question to ask the bigger strategic partner to write the checks with you doing most of the grunt work.  Just don’t underestimate the effort involved, especially if you don’t have experience with the type of activity involved.  One of the quickest ways to sour a strategic partnership is to botch a co-marketing campaign that the other party paid for.
  • Don’t expect a much larger strategic partner to move at a pace anywhere close to yours.  Big companies move unbelievably slow, which means their planning horizons can be really long.  For example, you might discover that your strategic partner has a huge presence at an industry trade show that is a whole month away.  Don’t be surprised if your request to have a small demo pod in their booth receives a response along the lines of “We locked down all demo stations, content and messaging four months ago.  Maybe next year.”  To you, anything a month away is in the distant future.  But to a large enterprise organization, an event that is a month away is already causing panic about being fully ready when the day arrives.

You can find the HubSpot article here.

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Author: Gordon Daugherty

Over the past 15 years Gordon has seen nearly 1,000 startup pitches, advised more than 200 entrepreneurs and been involved with raising over $45M in growth and venture capital. Throughout his 28 year career in high tech, serving twice as President and three times as CMO, Gordon has both an IPO and a $200M acquisition exit under his belt. Now his emphasis is purely focused on helping startups and early stage tech companies. Through his Shockwave Innovations advisory practice and as Managing Director for Austin’s Capital Factory startup accelerator, Gordon is an active angel investor, VC and startup advisor.

5 thoughts on “Co-Marketing Explained”

  1. Really good thoughts Gordon, especially the part about understanding the real value you bring to the table as “the little guy”. We ran into some of this with one of our partners. The win came because we were honest and willing to do most of the work.

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