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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.

Why Pursue Co-Marketing

Startups and early stage companies often don’t have the budget, brand recognition or marketing capabilities to do anything significant when it comes to marketing.  And marketing is a fairly wide business discipline with many sub-disciplines, including social media, public relations, demand generation, shows & events, account-based marketing, content marketing, advertising, creative services, brand marketing, and more.  of their new-found strategic alliance partners.

Big companies have a huge budget, a huge voice and seemingly-infinite resources.  If you find yourself pursuing partnerships with such big companies, co-marketing activities can be a hugely valuable part of the partnership (to you).

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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