Marketing collaborations are a great strategy that can help you to break into new markets and expose yourself to a lot of new customers in a short period of time. If you’re looking to grow your business and you aren’t having much success with your current marketing strategies, it’s definitely something that you should look into. If you can find another company that sells similar, but non-competing products, it’s likely that their customers will have an interest in your products and vice versa. It benefits both companies and your investment in the marketing campaign will be shared so it’s very cost effective. If you can partner with a company that is doing very well in market areas where you are struggling, you’re likely to see a big increase in sales in the following months.
However, you’re always taking a risk when you partner with another company because you’re putting your fate in their hands. If they don’t have the number of customers that they claim to or they’re unreliable financially, it could backfire and you might find yourself in a difficult situation. That’s why it’s important that you think carefully about it and you know what you’re doing before you get started. If you think that your company may benefit from a marketing collaboration, it’s important that you follow these steps before you rush into anything.
Establish Your Goals
Any marketing strategy must start with some specific goals. If you just decide that you want to make more sales generally but you don’t go into more detail, you will struggle when it comes to choosing another business to collaborate with on this marketing campaign. What you need to do is outline exactly how you want to increase sales. For example, are you looking to market existing products to a different demographic that you have previously struggled to connect with? Perhaps you are launching a new product that is slightly different to your existing ones and you want to reach a different market segment because your existing customers aren’t likely to have an interest in it? In some cases, you may simply be looking to increase brand awareness by partnering with a company that has a larger reach than you do.
Whatever your reasons for seeking a marketing collaboration with another company, they need to be clearly defined from the outset. Your goals will determine who you decide to partner with and direct the details of the marketing campaign itself so if you don’t know what they are, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to create an effective campaign that yields any tangible results.
It’s also important that you have clear metrics to measure your success so you know whether the collaboration was worth the investment or not. For example, if you want to increase sales of existing products, what percentage increase are you hoping to see? If you’re trying to break into a new market segment, you need to use website and sales analytics to see whether you’ve successfully reached those customers or not. Without these metrics, it’s impossible to know if you’ve actually achieved your goals and whether you should consider another collaboration in the future.
Make Use Of The Right Software
Managing a collaborative project between two companies like this is difficult and if you’re just trying to do it all through emails and phone calls, you’re really going to struggle. Communication and organization are key and it’s important that you use the right tools to help manage the marketing collaboration properly. Using good project management tools is absolutely vital, even if you wouldn’t normally use them in your own business (although you should be). When you’ve got employees from both companies working on a project together, it’s vital that everybody is on the same page and they’re all aware of the progress that is being made. Everybody involved also needs to know about potential issues or delays that need to be dealt with. The right project management software will make communication between the two parties quick and easy and also collect all relevant information and documents in one place. That means that both marketing departments can clearly see exactly where they are with the marketing campaign and what is still yet to be done, so nobody is left out of the loop. It also saves people having to email things back and forth all of the time.
Use Solid Contracts
When you enter into an agreement with another business, solid contracts are absolutely essential. If you don’t nail down the legal aspects of the partnership right from the very beginning, you’re likely to run into some big problems further down the line. If there is a dispute of some kind about how much each company is investing financially or how the workload will be divided up between the companies, you need a contract to refer back to. These contracts can be very complicated and they may also need to be updated if there are any changes agreed along the way. An outdated contract can be a big problem if there is a disagreement of some kind so it’s vital that you stay on top of the legal aspects of the collaboration. This can be quite tricky so you should use legal case management software to collect all of the contracts and any communications that you have had with the other business in one place where you can easily access it. You’ll also be able to track any changes to the contract and ensure that they are always up to date.
One of the most common reasons that contract disputes arise is that there is confusion about the specific meaning of some of the terms in the contract. That’s why it’s important that you meet with the company that you are partnering with and go through the contract item by item to ensure that you’re on the same page before anything is signed.
Set Up Regular Meetings
Using technology to make collaborations easier for your marketing department is important, but that isn’t sufficient if you want to keep communication open and ensure that business organization is effective. If you’re going to take this collaboration seriously, you need a regular communication schedule so you can track progress, discuss any potential issues, and decide how best to move forward with the campaign. It’s not easy to get all of that across in an email and it will take a long time to get things done if you’re relying on a long email chain with all sorts of different people. Things will easily get lost in translation or people will get missed out and it will be difficult for people to follow exactly what is happening. Instead, you need to set up regular meetings where both marketing departments get together and discuss progress. Any issues can be raised and dealt with there and then before they cause too many problems. Between meetings, you should also be having regular conference calls so everybody is always on the same page.
This needs to be established before you enter into any agreements because you don’t want to start a collaboration with a business owner that is not available. If you’re discussing a partnership with a business in another time zone, make sure to take that into account and clarify whether they will be available for regular communication.
Audit Their Business
This is the most important step you need to take because you need to know whether the business you’re entering into a partnership with is reliable and whether they can actually offer you the exposure that you’re looking for. It may be the case that they’re in financial trouble or they are exaggerating the number of customers that they have. You also need to remember that the people you choose to work with reflects on your business. If they’re involved in unethical business practices or they are the subject of a scandal of some kind, a lot of that negative attention could damage your reputation and your brand.
When you’re looking at potential companies to collaborate with, it’s essential that you do your research first. Ask them to give you a run down of their finances and their sales figures for the last few years at least. You should also look for any mention of them in the media so you can be sure that they haven’t been receiving any negative attention. Finally, you need to ask them for the metrics on any previous marketing campaigns that they’ve run in recent years so you can see whether they are effective or not. Knowing exactly who you’re dealing with is so important because if you get involved with the wrong company, it could end up hurting your business rather than improving it.
A marketing collaboration can be so beneficial when done right. It will open you up to so many new customers and improve your brand recognition a lot. However, it can easily go wrong if you choose the wrong company to partner with and you don’t manage the collaboration effectively. But if you follow these steps to the letter, you should be able to avoid any disasters.