Let's say you're buying a new phone. You probably also have to buy a screen protector and case. But, never fear — The phone store has an array of both from different companies. They are bundled with the phone for a lower price.
A phone store that bundles their products with complementary ones is an example of cooperative marketing. This offer takes advantage of products you'd already need to invest in when buying a phone, and uses that to entice you into purchasing.
That way, instead of spending time and money to make a campaign about the phones a screen protector is great for, the cooperative partnership drives leads and sales in a more organic way.
What is cooperative marketing?
Cooperative marketing happens when multiple companies work together to produce a larger, valuable offering to customers. It uses the expanded resources of each business to reach a larger audience — or a new audience.
Whether the partnership is with direct competitors or complementary ones, all can enjoy the exposure and business a cooperative marketing campaigns offer.
Now that you have a pretty good idea of how cooperative marketing works, let's look at some examples from companies that have excelled with their campaigns. This strategy leaves plenty of room for experimentation — some can even leverage it as part of their business model.
Let's dive in, below.
Cooperative Marketing Examples
Cooperative marketing can show up in many different business types. You've most likely seen cooperative marketing in action around you. Let's take a look at examples from other companies for tactics you can use in your own campaign planning.
1. Cafe Integral + Freehand Hotel
Freehand Hotel is an independent hotel chain with locations in New York City and Chicago. It promotes business travel in swanky, upscale surroundings. Freehand's locations have a coffee shop built in from local chain Cafe Integral.
The Freehand website has a page about the coffee shop showing customers the benefits of having a roastery in the lobby of their space:
Travelers who need a morning pick-me-up, can enjoy a quick drink from their hotel. They wouldn't have to hop in the rental car for an espresso or walk to the nearest latte. And, if guests have vouchers for a free meal or drink, they're getting coffee included in their room fee.
If Freehand Hotel guests love the drinks from Cafe Integral, they can visit the standalone in Lower Manhattan, New York, earning the location more loyal customers.
2. Snarls + The Sonder Bombs Split
A split is a common music industry term to describe two acts coming together on the same release. Audiences can enjoy original and cover versions of each artist's music. They're a great way to discover new music and give musicians new ways to promote their work.
For one price, audiences get two bands and a chance to hear them play new, exclusive versions of old favorites. They can also hear professional covers from another band that might become their new favorite.
3. Vegancuts Snack Box
Subscription boxes are another example of cooperative marketing in action. Instead of buying individual products at once, consumers are able to pay one price for a bundle. This allows for the marketing messaging to focus on the value of product discovery.
The Vegancuts Snack Box, for example, lets you try snacks from multiple different brands. Usually, there's a variety, like cookies, chips, and candy. While not necessarily a marketing campaign, subscription box companies like this one can capitalize using their business model as a cooperative marketing tactic.
4. Streaming Service Bundle
Disney+, a popular streaming service, offers a bundle for customers. For a few dollars more than the standalone subscription price, customers can have access to Hulu and ESPN. That way, customers can have movies, sports, and shows for one price.
Disney's marketers bundling the services invites fans from diverse ages and interests to sign up for the service. Disney is family-friendly, Hulu has original shows and movies, and ESPN is all about sports. Each company can enjoy new subscribers and cross-promotional content from Disney as a result.
5. Sony + Naughty Dog Games
It's not uncommon for new video game consoles to come with a copy of a popular game so players can learn the controls. For Sony's PlayStation 4 release, the pack-in game was Naughty Dog's Uncharted 4. This was a great cooperative marketing opportunity between a video game console and a game development company.
Uncharted 4 coming with every new PS4 being sold meant that Naughty Dog's game was being exposed to millions of players. That's an incredible reach, one that the game company would probably struggle to do on their own.
Fans got to experience a new game to play with their new console, Sony got to sweeten the console offering, and Naughty Dog earned more leads, making this partnership a home run.
6. HubSpot Webinar
As part of Adapt 2020, an educational webinar series, "Advertising in a Time of Crisis" is a conversation between one of HubSpot's general project managers, Google Canada's head of marketing, a Facebook IQ lead marketer, and the Director of Paid Media at Wunderman Thompson.
These minds came together to discuss how companies should be advertising, how to shift the messaging of targeted ad campaigns, and how to measure the success of those campaigns. This webinar is completely free, and gives B2B audiences excellent insights about timely subjects from industry thought leaders.
This offering gives all companies involved a more broad reach. A collaboration, like this webinar, is a great idea when thinking about ways to cooperatively market on a budget.
Are you thinking of adding cooperative marketing products or strategies to your next rollout? When thinking of the right route to take, don't forget to factor in your business goals and audience.
From there, you can make a decision based on the benefit of all parties — partnerships included. If you're part of a small business that doesn't have many resources to spare, a cooperative strategy could be an incredible way to expand your network and share resources to generate more business.