Recently, there has been an increase in the number of marketing campaigns involving multiple businesses. Some of these businesses don’t even seem remotely related to each other. This mostly happens on social media, but it is by no means the only way businesses market together.
What is collaborative marketing?
Collaborative marketing is a marketing strategy where multiple businesses work together to either promote their brands, minimise costs, or increase their exposure and sales. Importantly, these businesses work together for mutual gains. Typically, these businesses would work in different industries so as not to compete with each other, but they would also share common characteristics between their target markets.
Collaborative marketing can take on many forms. These include influencer and celebrity endorsement, creating new products incorporating multiple brands, exclusive bonuses given by either business for the other, or sharing physical business space to attract consumers from both markets. These forms are not the only ones and can certainly be blended together to create a more effective collaborative marketing campaign.
Benefits of collaborative marketing
Working together with other businesses to market allows you to strategically mask your weaknesses and promotional shortcomings. On top of this, you have the opportunity to market to those that may not necessarily be within your target market. This will allow your business to broaden its horizons and bring in new consumers. Working with relatable businesses makes this easier to do. Having similar goals or target audiences with some overlap works in your favour.
This overlap helps your collaboration to make sense to the customers even if your collaborators are in entirely different industries. While sneakers and iced tea don’t seem to be related, Adidas’ and AriZona’s brands have a common characteristic in that they appeal to “cool” audiences in similar age ranges with relatively cheaper prices. Due to this similar style of marketing and audience, Adidas and AriZona worked together to create the 99c sneakers. These sneakers incorporated designs from both brands and advertised the same message.
However, brands do not need to have the same values in order to achieve this level of collaborative marketing success. Businesses can increase their exposure and sales just by taking into account their markets’ interests. Netflix partnered with Baskin Robbins to create new Stranger Things-themed ice-cream flavours. Stranger Things fans rushed to try out these new flavours garnering more sales for Baskin Robbins, and those buying ice-cream were more exposed to Stranger Things content. It was a win/win scenario for both businesses.
Increasing your reach is the main draw of collaborative marketing. Working with another business to market allows you access to more than just one set of customers to draw in. Game development company, miHoYo, worked with Chinese KFC restaurants to advertise their game, Genshin Impact in a similar way that Netflix and Baskin Robbins did. People who ordered a specific meal from KFC would also gain Genshin-themed badges as well as exclusive in-game items. KFC customers were exposed to the game and Genshin Impact fans were drawn to the exclusive items. This garnered a lot of social media attention as customers had to recite a specific phrase to order the exclusive meal and many fans dressed up as their favourite characters.
Overall, it seems that collaborative marketing provides a bigger ‘bang for your buck’ in terms of exposure and overall marketing success assuming both businesses are equally invested in the collaboration.