- Partner co-marketing is becoming more common
- The business benefits of partner co-marketing
- Ways that you can join forces with other Microsoft partners
Research by PwC and IAB shows that there has been a significant growth in spending on partner co-marketing strategies in the last few years. According to the report, consumers in the UK spent £16.5 billion in 2014 on affiliate marketing and lead generation activities, and the trend suggests that this will continue to rise.
While this all seems good, for companies with a strict marketing budget and not enough time as it is, the question remains, do you want to invest even more of your time working with partners who have different branding, different goals and a different method of working to create content together?
Is co-marketing actually effective?
The answer is yes. There are challenges with partner co-marketing, but the benefits massively outweigh the costs. Some of these benefits include:
- Greater presence online
- More backlinks
- Better SEO impact
- Ability to reach your partner’s audience
Competition is fiercer than ever. Organisations are competing locally, nationally, internationally, online, etc. with each other. Digital transformation and cloud computing have allowed much smaller businesses to punch above their weight, business models are shifting, and so is marketing. Today, marketing is a combination of thought leadership, lead generation, measurable SEO, analytics and so to have a chance of making any sort of impact, partnering up is a way to combine all the above for greater results.
So, how do you go about developing valuable co-marketing strategies that will enable you to reap the benefits of such a relationship?
Let’s look at how to improve your co-marketing in seven simple but powerful steps.
Perfect your co-marketing strategies in 7 steps
- Make the most of events to connect with potential partners
- Decide if the partnership makes sense
- Define roles and expectations
- Develop an appropriate co-marketing idea with your partner
- Run local targeted events
- Know your audience
- Guest blogging and sharing production costs
1. Make the most of events to connect with potential partners
There are plenty of conferences in the technology industry where organisations of all sizes meet, network and partner with each other. For example, Microsoft has a huge ecosystem that supports and revolves around their channel partners. They host an annual event dedicated to these partners. Microsoft Inspire (formally Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, WPC) is the prime opportunity for partners to learn about Microsoft’s roadmap for the upcoming year, network and build connections.
2. Decide if the partnership makes sense
You should have some questions before you decide to move forward with co-marketing with a partner:
- Do you have a similar audience?
- Is it worth it from a lead generation point of view?
- What are they bringing to the table in terms of skills or know-how?
- Do they have a good reputation?
- Can you stand to be in the same room as them?
3. Define roles and expectations
Once you’ve found a company you think co-marketing makes sense with, you need to define clear roles and expectations about what you aim to achieve out of your co-marketing:
- Who is responsible for each activity
- Goals for campaign outcomes
- Clarity around how leads will be qualified and work distributed
4. Develop an appropriate co-marketing idea with your partner
What type of content are you going to create? Thinking about how you could split up the work might play a part in your choice. Common examples include:
- Blog posts
- Co-sponsored whitepapers
5. Run local targeted events
Bringing together speakers from around the country or even internationally and inviting your partners, clients and potential customers can do wonders for your brand. Splitting the planning, logistics and the cost of the event with your partner(s).
6. Know your audience
It is absolutely essential that you and your co-marketing partners know your audience inside-out. We’ve written before about the importance of personas before – make sure all the content you and your partners produce taps into your audience’s needs.
7. Guest blogging and sharing production costs
This is when a blog writer develops content for a blog that is not their own. This can expose your brand to a different audience, increase your traffic to both parties’ blogs, boost your brand’s authority, build relationships in the field, and provide your own blog with fresh content from guest bloggers of your own. Another interesting approach is to produce some kind of publication in conjunction with your partners – see how one of our clients does just that here.
Going in the right direction with co-marketing
So, in this current, competitive business landscape, taking advantage of partnerships across a range of business functions can help your organisation reach important new heights and milestones. And partner co-marketing is a great way of boosting your resources in a horizontal that can deliver excellent value.