“Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.”
-Apple co-founder Steve Jobs
As marketers, we love to huddle in couch-lined rooms and dream up brilliant marketing initiatives that we then thrust upon the world with a passion normally reserved for preachers and politicians. It’s not even difficult to reach an audience anymore—our countless platforms run the gamut from the traditional (television and radio) to the new-fangled (mobile and social), each one a soapbox/megaphone combo with unlimited height and volume.
So get up there and just belt it out, right? Not so fast.
Turns out, Steve Jobs was onto something (shocker). And while the strength in numbers’ idea isn’t a new one, it’s often underutilized by many businesses when it comes to their marketing tactics. Fact is, one of the most beneficial strategies you can engage in is co-marketing or co-promoting.
Side note: This is not to be confused with co-op advertising—which is a business or brand partnering with a seller of a product and running ads with that product in it, in exchange for splitting advertising costs. This is a great tactic as well, but a topic for another day.
For now, we’re talking about aligning yourself with media partners or other businesses to help expand your brand and tell your story in new and different ways. The goal here is to maximize your exposure by connecting with this other organization’s audience. For instance, take a TV or radio station. These guys offer a plethora of advertising options and love to pitch them in bright, shiny packages. The mistake many companies make is not taking advantage of all of the components in the mix. Each one is there for a reason, and has its own cost-to-benefit to consider. So, if you cherry pick just one element (say, TV advertising) but ignore others (like event sponsorship), you could be missing out in a big way. Don’t get too singular! You’re pigeonholing yourself.
Spray and pray is not the way.
This is no time to leap without looking. Take a sports team partnership. Let’s say you love baseball so you’re looking to align yourself with the local professional ballclub and advertise during games both in the stadium and over the airwaves. While this is a super fun notion and comes with some sweet perks (think great seats), first you need to ask yourself a very important question: Will this allow your message to reach its intended audience? If your demographic is affluent and Caucasion but the baseball audience is predominantly middle class and Hispanic, you’re liable to strike out looking. Don’t let your fandom skew your judgment.
Follow the leaders.
The sheer number of partnership opportunities is staggering. To navigate them, you need to ask the right questions. Don’t simply rely on numbers provided by media and partnership salespeople who are trained to make everything sound amazing. A statement like, “We’re the #1 website” may actually mean, “We’re the #1 website in a very narrow demographic.” Most importantly, if you don’t know what questions to ask, align yourself with a skilled marketing or advertising firm that does. We will evaluate every available opportunity and advise accordingly—analyzing the actual value of all package elements and projecting ROI to help you activate your partnerships for maximum success. Teamwork, FTW.