Twenty-five times less expensive: Why now is the time to go all in on collaboration marketing

Collabosaurus founder Jessica Ruhfus. Source: Supplied.

Collabosaurus founder Jessica Ruhfus. Source: Supplied.

It’s a wild time for businesses. The events industry has been hit hard, with more industries to feel the ripple effects with project cancellations and layoffs over the coming weeks. I’ve never seen a line so long at Centrelink!

So, this situation has got me (and many other businesses) thinking about how brands can survive, let alone grow, in tough times. 

Naturally, we need each other.

Businesses need to band together, cross-promote, collaborate and tap into collaboration marketing as a strategy, now more than ever, because of the ability to leverage ‘currencies other than cash’. It’s not the time to stop marketing altogether, but it is a time to tighten budgets and seek out cost-effective ways to stay relevant and grow. 

There lies a bunch of opportunity amidst all of this, and some companies have been quick to jump on the collaboration bandwagon to add value amid the pandemic.

For example:

  • PE Nation teamed up with Divine Flow Yoga to do a livestreamed yoga class;
  • Jimmy Brings teamed up with Office Choice to deliver not only alcohol but toilet paper too during Australia’s ‘TP crisis’ and they donated $1 from every roll sold to UNICEF’s coronavirus appeal;
  • Grace Elizabeth Images and Super Studios teamed up to provide free photo and video shoots for hospitality businesses needing to pivot to a takeaway-only menu; and
  • Deliveroo and Koala partnered up on a campaign to help save people money on delivered food and mattresses or sofas which then sparked media coverage.

Online shopping has spiked, along with everyone’s screen time, so this time offers a great opportunity to do something cool, spark attention, reach new people and even boost a revenue stream.

What is collaboration marketing?

Collaboration marketing is when two or more businesses team up, create something and cross-promote to help each other grow.

Think limited-edition product releases such as Beci Orpin x Who Gives a Crap, digital collaborations such as Spotify x Charni Nicholas’ ‘cosmic playlists’ or social media competitions or content series.

This strategy lends itself to events and experiential collaborations too, however, in the current climate, we’ll put these recommendations on pause.

It’s worth noting, 90% of the resulting collaborations from the Collabosaurus platform do not involve cash exchange whatsoever. Businesses can leverage what they already have — social media communities, email lists, products, services, skills, time, venue spaces, channel promotion, publicity opportunities or resources — in order to establish a win-win exchange of value.

Why does collaboration marketing matter?

Collaboration marketing is one of the most affordable marketing strategies for reaching a community of people at once. Teaming up allows you to effectively double your marketing reach without any additional spend, and being up to 25 times less expensive than digital advertising strategies, it’s an incredible opportunity for businesses to achieve big impact, without the budget.

The American Express Business Collaboration report indicates that Australian mid-sized companies typically see sales increases of over $430,000 or savings of over $319,000 thanks to business collaborations. 

Resources and purse strings are understandably tight right now, so finding ways to significantly lessen production costs, add value to customers and manage marketing campaigns with limited resources has never been more important. Thankfully, it’s never been so easy.

How do brands get started?

There are a bunch of ways businesses can collaborate, and the specific strategy that will best apply to your business is dependent on your target audience, marketing goal, industry space and what you can bring to the collaboration to ensure it’s a win-win relationship.

The best first step is to understand who your customers are and how you can add value amid the pandemic. Stay open to opportunities with complementary businesses (as the creative execution is likely to change depending on your chosen partner), but stick closely to your marketing goals and target audiences.

Researching businesses in your existing network, on Instagram, or through collaboration platforms are great places to start. There’s no harm in reaching out and forging new relationships; the worst they can say is ‘no’.

NOW READ: Many small businesses and startups are pivoting in an attempt to tap into new revenue streams in the face of the pandemic. So how do you identify a worthy pivot? And are all risks worth taking?

NOW READ: This Melbourne restaurant is seeing business boom after COVID-19 forced it to make a tech pivot

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