Ever heard of the saying ‘two heads are better than one? Well, the same is true in running a business. When it comes to promoting your brand, collaborative marketing is usually the key to success. In fact, a recent American Express research found that mid-sized businesses that collaborated on joint initiatives earned $430,000 more than those that opted not to collaborate.

collaborations in business

We’ve produced a guide to walk you through how collaboration marketing works, why it’s essential, businesses that have had success with it, and how you can use it to expand your business to help you utilize the power of collaboration marketing for your business.
But first, a brief definition of what it is.

What Is Collaborative Marketing?

Today, more than ever, most of the online content is generated by users and consumers. It’s no wonder that the power and reach of mass media and traditional marketing techniques are on the decline.

Collaborative marketing is the process of combining your company’s resources, marketing strength, and interests with those of other like-minded businesses to achieve more significant results than you could alone. By collaborating with your peers, you can inject new life into your business in different ways, including:

  • Boost sales
  • Drive engagement 
  • Innovate new products
  • Capture new customers
  • Build a positive brand association

In short, a collaborative marketing strategy bolsters exposure through side-by-side advertisements with competitors.

Elements of a Successful Marketing Collaboration

Five elements can help make a successful collaborative marketing campaign, namely:

successful marketing collaborations

1. Like-Mindedness of the Collaborating Companies

The partnership between various brands should make sense to the consumers. Specifically, the collaboration should feel natural such that your brand messages jell together even if you venture into completely different niches or industries.

For instance, sneakers and lemon tea are not conventional pairings. However, Arizona and Adidas brands have many things in common. They both charge affordable prices for their products and appeal to audiences of between 18 to 34 years.

These two brands merged these elements of their brand messaging with their popular designs to create a unique range of sneakers called the 99-cent sneakers. The collaboration worked because it wasn’t jarring or weird.

2. The Products Should Complement Each Other

The collaborating companies should work together to build a better or unique product that gives customers the “why wasn’t this done earlier on” feeling.

An excellent example of such a collaboration is that between Sonos and IKEA. These brands are usually at the opposite ends of the spectrum–Sonos creates relatively not-so-affordable sound systems, whereas IKEA creates affordable furniture.

These brands pulled their resources together to create SYMFONISK—an affordable speaker that doubles up as a piece of furniture.

3. Focus On the Relationship

In return for promoting your business at little or no cost and reaching new customers, you should be ready to invest time in building a solid relationship with your brand partner.

Be honest and open about the goals that you both want to attain and agree on your collective objectives upfront. If you manage the right balance, you’ll be able to foster a strong partnership that will last for many years.

4. You Share Complementary Marketing Objectives

Each brand should have a clear benefit. In most cases, this is attaining a marketing goal. The 2019 collaboration between Baskin Robbins and Netflix to create a line of limited-edition flavors for the Stranger Things franchise is one example that fits this bill. Whereas Netflix created interest and awareness for its Stranger Things Franchise, Baskin Robbins increased visits to their local store.

5. Collaborating Entities Should Have Similar Targets

While you may be working in totally different niches, there should be an overlap between a given sub-section in the demographic of your brands. The collaboration between Star Wars (famous for making memorabilia) and Chubbies (which makes leisurewear and has a customer base that falls into the same demographic as Star Wars) is one example of collaborating working because the collaborating entities have similar targets.

Ways of Finding Collaborative Marketing Opportunities

You can find collaboration marketing opportunities using different methods. Here is a look at some of these methods:

collaboration marketing opportunities
  • Exploring physical product recommendations: Suppose you sell physical products; using online retailers to find brands to collaborate with would be a good move. For instance, Amazon usually recommends frequently used products on every product page. These are traditional brands that are not only direct competitors but those that align with their audience. 
  • Keep an eye on your audience’s likes: A great way of doing this is by using the Facebook Business Manager’s Audience Insight tool. It can show you other business pages that your audience follows.
  • Connect with personal brands: You can explore possibilities such as referral systems, affiliate marketing, creator-led content, and more by connecting with individual brands.
  • Try to partner with your peers: Chances are that you have peers in adjacent industries who you hold in esteem. Such companies are excellent collaboration candidates because they are not direct competitors. They are familiar with your work and can also easily overlap with your audience.

How to Plan and Launch Your Collaborative Marketing Campaign

After identifying a brand that you want to collaborate with, the next phase is planning and launching the collaborative marketing campaign. Below are the steps you should follow:

Collaborative marketing campaign
  1. Establish the collaboration team: This is the team that will spearhead the collaboration campaign. It should constitute individuals from all of the collaborating brands.  
  2. Sync your marketing goals: Clearly layout your individual plans and then sync them with each other to help create the collaboration’s direction and context. 
  3. Decide on which type of collaboration you want: Decide whether the partnership will be short-term or long-term. 
  4. Make an outline of the logistics: Outline the manpower, tools, and resources needed for the partnership to work. 
  5. Assign clear roles: Each brand and individual team member should know their roles and when to accomplish them. 
  6. Establish a workflow: Create a process of how work is passed on from team to team and the measures you’ll take to meet the deadlines effectively. 
  7. Explore your teams’ combined efforts and creativity to build a campaign that your customers will love.

Next 5 Years of Marketing Collaborations and Predictions

A collaborative marketing future is not a pipe dream but rather a reality that is already in motion. The next five years will see most companies that pull their resources and marketing prowess together to create products that appeal to customers prosper more than those that opt to go it alone. This period will be characterized by trends such as democratized product development, close customer relationships, open organizations, measurement of influence and not impressions, and more.


In the prevailing marketing conditions, collaborative marketing is the way to enhance your business’s productivity. While finding the right partner may pose some challenges, with some time, effort, and careful research, you’ll be able to find the right brand to partner with so that you can reap the rewards of collaboration marketing.