If you negotiate, manage or read about strategic partnerships, the chances are you’ve heard the word ‘comarketing’ crop up here and there. But what exactly is it?!
If you’re looking for answers, you’re in the right place. Here, we’ll look at everything to do with comarketing, from what it is to some effective comarketing ideas and tips on developing a comarketing strategy. So, first things first…
What is comarketing?
Comarketing is a kind of partner marketing that involves two brands teaming up together to promote something. What they choose to promote could be anything from a joint product to a landing page or a piece of content. But the important thing is that both brands should share the benefits of their joint marketing efforts equally.
We know what you’re thinking...
What’s the difference between comarketing and co-branding?
It’s true, comarketing and co-branding can look pretty similar. And let’s be honest, lots of people use the two terms interchangeably. But there is a difference between them.
Generally speaking, co-branding is the act of putting two businesses' branding on something. For example, they might create a new product or offering that displays both of their logos. Comarketing would then cover the act of actually promoting this product to both their audiences.
Okay, so nothing’s ever black and white and there are some messy grey areas in between where comarketing and co-branding share a pretty big overlap. There are actually two types of co-branding – communications-based and product-based.
Product-based co-branding is pretty much what we’ve just described, where two businesses collaborate to create a product that incorporates both their identities. Think Doritos Tacos Locos or Betty Crocker’s brownie mix with Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup.
However, communications-based co-branding is where two partners collaborate on a marketing campaign that jointly promotes both brands – which sounds pretty much identical to comarketing! You can see now why people don’t often bother to differentiate between the two.
We’ll let you be the judge, but we think that there is still a difference, albeit a very subtle one.
As far as we’re concerned, co-branding in this case refers to the act of branding the two businesses' joint efforts. In other words, the partners might collaborate on a co-branded billboard, co-branded flyers, co-branded Facebook ads or even a co-branded event (like Stratos, Red Bull and GoPro’s famous co-branding example). The act of sharing those things with their audiences or of using them to promote the brands or their products, on the other hand, would be comarketing. Subtle, but you can see the difference!
As you’d expect, where co-branding is found, co-marketing is often found as well, and vice versa. So, they really do go hand-in-hand.
4 Effective comarketing ideas
Comarketing can look quite different depending on what exactly two brands are hoping to achieve and what they’ve decided to promote together. Here are some popular comarketing ideas that are tried and tested.
1. Collaborate on exclusive content
Exclusive content is a super popular form of comarketing. Basically, it involves the partner brands collaborating on an informative piece of content, such as an ebook, a webinar or a template, which sits behind a lead generation form or email capture wall.
Both partners share the content with their respective audiences. But in order to access it, consumers have to enter their details.
This brings the brands a whole host of benefits. Firstly, the brands are each able to leverage their partner’s audience to increase brand awareness amongst new markets. And secondly, the content itself (and the brands’ association with one another) helps to frame the partners as industry leaders.
However, the biggest benefit of all comes from the sharing of the leads generated. In this form of comarketing, the partners actually receive the contact details of all the leads they’ve jointly collected, and are able to use them in whatever way they choose. This is where comarketing can overlap with lead account mapping, a form of distribution marketing partnership that involves partners working together to share leads and look for opportunities based on the overlaps they identify.
A great example of brands that have collaborated on exclusive content in this way is inbound marketing and sales software provider Hubspot and social media chatbot platform, Chatfuel. The pair joined forces to create a free ebook on how to build a chatbot that users couldn't access until they'd chatted with a Facebook Messenger bot that captured their information. To learn more, check out our selection of the best comarketing examples.
2. Co-host an event
Co-hosting an event with a partner can be a great way of reaping the rewards of comarketing. Generally, this involves partner brands splitting the cost of an event and working together to market it to their respective networks.
Hosting an event can help brands to achieve a whole range of objectives, from generating revenue to growing their pipeline, building a community and boosting brand awareness. By hosting one in collaboration with a partner, brands can hope to achieve these benefits while only forking out part of the upfront cost. So, this form of comarketing can effectively help to increase an event’s ROI.
However, the benefits of co-hosting an event are much more far-reaching than that. With both brands marketing the event to their audiences, partners are likely to find that they’re able to reach a greater volume and more diverse range of attendees than they could alone. In this way, co-hosted events can be an invaluable tool for leveraging a partner’s reach and capturing new leads.
3. Release a joint or co-branded product
Although comarketing most often involves collaborating on content, partners can also team up to comarket a product.
In this case, your comarketing partnership would usually supplement a larger product partnership or product-based co-branding activity. In other words, you might collaborate with your partner to integrate your products or to create a new product that’s jointly owned between you, and then use comarketing to leverage it to your advantage. For instance, a comarketing strategy could be central to your product launch.
Collaborating on a new product is one of the more resource-heavy types of strategic partnership out there. However, it can often be one of the most effective. By working together to create a product that solves the problems of both brands’ audiences, and then collaborating to boost the sales of that product, partners can directly help one another to increase revenue. Check out our October partnership news roundup to see some brands who’ve recently formed partnerships of this kind.
4. Guest blogging
For businesses that want a high impact yet low effort comarketing activity, guest blogging is a good option. With guest blogging, partners write blog posts to appear on one another’s websites.
Guest blogging would usually be regarded as a content marketing partnership (where brands collaborate on a piece of content). However, if brands agree to participate in comarketing, the blogs will be shared widely by both partners.
While guest blogging doesn’t have the same lead generation benefits as collaborating on exclusive content or co-hosting an event, it does provide a boost to brand awareness. Both brands will find their content being shared amongst their partners’ readers and followers, often on social media or in weekly or monthly newsletters.
Guest blogging can also come with SEO benefits if the content contains a link to a partner brand’s website. In a nutshell, search engines tend to favour brands that are linked to from other reputable websites (known as backlinks), and guest blogging can be a useful contribution.
How to develop a comarketing strategy
Now you know the benefits of comarketing and the different forms it can take. But how do you turn that into actionable tasks that will allow you to use comarketing to achieve your business goals? Just follow these simple steps.
1. Identify your goals
There’s nothing worse than embarking on a partnership purely because you think you should. Rather, any partnerships you embark on should have a clear purpose and help you to reach your business goals in some way.
Some objectives that can be achieved through a comarketing partnership include:
- Generate revenue
- Generate leads
- Access new markets
- Expand your community
- Boost brand awareness
- Improve brand reputation
2. Pinpoint suitable comarketing partners
We’ll cover how to actually find comarketing partners in a minute. But it’s important to make sure that any brands you’re considering match specific criteria. Decent comarketing prospects will normally have a decent overlap with your brand without being direct competitors. Consider...
- Audience: In an ideal world, you and your partner will have a similar audience so you know that your products will be of interest to your partner’s target market and vice versa. If you’re looking to expand into new markets, you’ll also want to find a partner that can help you reach the right ones.
- Reach: Does a potential partner have a big enough reach to help you generate enough new leads to make a partnership worthwhile? You could check the number of followers they have on social media, the size of their email list and the volume of traffic they get to their website.
- Expertise: Does your partner have expertise that you don’t have and vice versa? If so and your knowledge is in a similar field, you could hopefully both provide value to one another’s audiences.
- Reputation: Avoid partnering with a brand that has a negative reputation. Brands that have made a name for themselves as industry experts are likely to add credibility to yours. You may also benefit from boosting your own reputation through association with them.
- Values: Make sure that any brand you’re considering partnering with shares your values. Otherwise, you could lose the trust of your audience. For instance, if you’re a sustainable business, don’t partner with a brand that creates a lot of waste or emissions.
For more guidance on finding the right fit, read our guide to creating strategic partnerships.
3. Come up with comarketing ideas to pitch
Once you’ve selected brands to approach, spend some time coming up with ideas to pitch to them.
These ideas should be tailored around helping you to meet the objectives we outlined in Step 1. But it’s also really important to do some research and try to put yourself in a potential partner’s shoes – what kind of comarketing ideas are they likely to be interested in? How do your skills and theirs complement each other?
Remember that any strategic partnership should bring equal benefit to both partners. Otherwise, one brand will be more invested than the other, which is a common reason why partnerships fail. So, make sure that you stress how a comarketing partnership could benefit you both, and that you highlight the key things you can bring to the table.
Although you should certainly do your homework and put forward some well-thought-out ideas, remember that a truly great partnership is a collaborative effort. So, when you pitch an idea, you’re only really starting the conversation. Your partner may have their own ideas and that’s more than okay – be open!
Just remember to be really clear about what your goals are. While comarketing partners don’t always have to have the same goals, it certainly helps. And if your goals are wildly different, you’re going to struggle to come up with a comarketing idea that’s going to work for you both.
5. Formalise your comarketing agreement
The final step before you actually embark upon your partnership is to formalise your agreement. This is really important as it will avoid crossed wires, unrealistic expectations or arguments later down the line.
Your comarketing agreement should include details about:
- Your goals
- Your timeline
- What is actually going to be created
- Who’s going to own what
- Who is responsible for creating what
- Where any content will be hosted and shared
- What kind of promotion you’ll each undertake
- How any costs will be split
- How any revenue will be split
- How leads will be shared
- How you’re going to measure and report on your activities
How to find a comarketing partner
Finally, all that’s left is to tell you how to go about finding a comarketing partner – where should you look? Here are a few ideas.
- Search Google: Search Google for your primary and indirect keywords and click on the first few entries in the SERPs to see if they fit the bill.
- Use SEO tools: Tools like Moz, Ahrefs and SEMRush can help you to find other brands in your industry that aren’t direct competitors, or to analyse your competitors’ websites to see who their partners are (they might be worth approaching!).
- Search social media: Depending on your industry, you could use hashtags on Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn to discover like-minded brands that aren’t yet on your radar. This will also allow you to see what kind of content they’re posting and whether it would resonate with your audience.
- Attend networking events: Go to industry or location-specific events to form a relationship with business owners and partnerships professionals face-to-face. The chances are they could be at the event hoping to find partners just like you!
- Publish a partnership page: If you’re looking for comarketing partners, you may as well make it clear by publishing a partnership page on your website. That way, fingers crossed, you may even find that potential comarketing partners approach and pitch to you rather than vice versa!
You can find more ideas in our general guide on how to find strategic partnerships. However, as far as we’re concerned, nothing compares to signing up with Breezy!
We’ll help you to find hyper-relevant comarketing Leads and Prospects from all over the web with way less time and effort. And we’ll even find you their contact details when the time comes for outreach. As if that wasn’t enough, you can try it out with zero commitment, with our 14-day free trial. Enjoy!