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Collaboration Marketing: Tips and Challenges

Jul 12, 2008
To maintain a successful business, it is important to develop a strong and integrated marketing strategy. Some small business owners are hesitant to embark on a collaboration marketing strategy however; there are a few points to keep in mind that will make it a strategy with beneficial elements for your business.

Once you have decided to embark on a collaboration marketing strategy, there are challenges to working together, and it's wise to be aware of these issues before you get started. Below are a few tips to keep in mind when weighing the pros and cons of collaboration marketing, and some challenges that may present themselves once you do begin the process.

Increase your bargaining power. When you collaborate with other small businesses, you may have a stronger base with which to negotiate with various suppliers. If you collaborate to buy products from a particular supplier, the increased volume of products that you will require as part of your collaboration may potentially drive down the price of the products than if you bought each of them separately.

Promote a product line. Creating a collaboration product line initially sounds a bit risky, but if done wisely, it can create a stronger base for each company within the product line. For instance, if you are a small company that makes t-shirts from organic cotton, you may have trouble raising awareness for your product because of a limited customer base. If you collaborate with other designers and clothing manufacturers who are also committed to organic supplies, you can create an "Organic Cotton" parent company product line, with your label and each of the other companies' labels being sold under a collaboration heading.

Access a diverse customer base. By working with other businesses, you potentially open your customer base to your collaborators, and in return, gain access to the customer base of your partners. In this way you are potentially expanding your client base and the number of people you can reach with your products and services.

Lack of a common mission is a challenge within a collaboration marketing strategy. When forming a collaboration marketing partnership, it is important to be certain that you share common goals and the same mission. Even if you have a common end goal, you may have very different ideas about how to reach these goals. Differences in process are a potential benefit to collaborations because you will be exposed to the ideas and skills of another expert in your field, but these same differences can also be potential landmines for executing a common goal. Be certain you are on the same page with your partners and have a specific plan for your mission before you embark on collaboration.

As with the lack of a common mission, lack of a common commitment will also present it's own set of challenges. When working with other businesses and forming a collaboration marketing platform, you'll want to be certain that you partnered with owners who are as committed to hard work and success as you are. It is a common issue to have different levels of commitment among different people. Given this potential pitfall, you'll want to be sure that you have equally dedicated collaborators, so everyone participates in an equal share of the labor involved in maintaining a successful collaboration.
About the Author
Christian Fea is CEO of Synertegic, Inc. A strategic Collaboration Marketing consulting firm empowering business owners to discover and implement Integration, Alliance, and Joint Venture marketing tactics to solve specific business challenges. christian@synertegic.com
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