Collaborative Marketing: An opportunity for the small business economy

My holiday dinners, and likely yours as well, are a collaborative effort. Each person brings a dish that plays to their strengths, whether that’s turkey, green bean casserole, pie, or, even canned cranberry sauce. By combining all of our cooking/baking strengths, we end up with a delicious holiday meal.

Not to drag out this metaphor, but the act of collaborating doesn’t stop “cold turkey” at holiday meals.  

Collaborative marketing is an excellent way to combine your business’s resources with other companies to accomplish your marketing goals.

As the marketing manager at Chronogram Media, I am often on the lookout for local businesses and events that we can partner with. Whether it’s as simple as an advertising trade or a long-term sponsorship with co-hosted events, B2B collaboration is an invaluable way for small businesses to support one another during this unpredictable time. When Chronogram Media decides to collaborate with another business, we consider the audience we’ll reach, the benefits for both organizations, and how this partnership can support our community.

Here are some easy ways to make the most out of collaborative marketing.

So where do I start?

Start by doing your research. You want to work with a brand that is similar to your own but isn’t a direct competitor. Work with a brand that is complementary to yours and/or has a similar audience or marketing goal. 

Large brand examples of these include Uber & Spotify, Impossible Burger & Burger King, and even the classic Bonne Belle & Dr. Pepper. Collaboration isn’t just for large companies, though. If done right, collaborating is a great opportunity for all small businesses to create partnerships, regardless of the industry you’re in. Some of the most successful collaborations (like those mentioned above) are those that bring together different skill sets and strengths. Creating partnerships offers the potential to grow your audience and attract new customers. And creating connections with fellow small businesses can also enhance your network and help you grow your business to new heights.

Some examples of collaborative marketing include:

1. Social Media Amplification

It should come as no surprise to hear that social media is a great tool for small businesses to collaborate. Over 77% of small businesses use social media platforms to promote their business and 90% of small business owners report that social media has increased their business’s exposure to new customers. By working with another business, you can reach new followers and—hopefully—those followers will become customers. This involves sharing, liking, and reposting each other’s posts and images to reach the largest audience possible. Remember to partner with businesses that complement your own; you want to reach a similar audience that fits your brand. For example, if you’re a local interior designer why not team up with a home builder. You have a similar audience, who are likely in need of both your services. It’s a win-win.  You are likely to have overlapping audiences that are interested in your business.

2. Giveaways

Giveaways are a great opportunity to collaborate, and social media giveaways are one of the best methods to increase online engagement. For example, if you’re running the giveaway on Instagram, both businesses would post the competition on their Instagram feeds or stories. To enter, people would be asked to follow, like, and/or comment on each of the posts. Just like that, an instant driver of online engagement. You can then select the winner randomly. This is an easy and free way to collaborate and get more followers engaging on social media. 

You can also partner with another brand to be able to offer a great prize for your giveaway. Just keep in mind this key fact about giveaways:  The prize is what is going to drive entrants into your giveaway and it’s also what should be driving your target audience. 

Learn more about how to get the giveaway right the first time here.

3. Co-hosting Events

Co-hosting an event is a great collaboration tool. Events increase brand awareness and create networking opportunities. You can use events to showcase other businesses’ products or services while still promoting your business. To increase your collaboration efforts, try creating branded marketing to promote your event. This could be via social media, print materials, or an email campaign. This kind of promotion benefits both businesses. 

Okay, I’ve identified a business that fits the bill.

Time to reach out to see if this business is interested in collaborating with you. 

  • Start with an introduction about your business and why it’s relevant to this brand. 
  • Tell the brand why you chose them. What made this brand stand out amongst the rest. Don’t make this completely about how they could help your business. This needs to be a complementary relationship. 
  • Now it’s time to tell the brand why you are writing to them. What do you want from them? And what are you offering in return? There needs to be a benefit for both of you. Are you looking to run a social media collaboration? A content collaboration? A giveaway? Or perhaps a co-run event? Know what you are looking for from this collaboration. 
  • End it with an action item. Ask to set up a call or a Zoom to take the next step in making collaboration happen!

If you’ve never worked with another business before, now is a great time to consider a collaboration. Take the next step and partner with Chronogram Media. Want to learn more about how we do it? Reach out to our Sales Manager, Andrea Aldin, at [email protected] to start the conversation!

Want more marketing tips geared toward small businesses in the Hudson Valley, Catskills, and Berkshires? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, The Art of Business!


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