Difference between co-marketing or co-branding

First of all, to avoid the confusion let’s distinguish the difference between co-marketing and co-branding. Co-marketing occurs when two like-minded brands align their marketing efforts to promote each other’s product or service. While a hybrid product is not created, a co-marketing undertaking allows brands to leverage their relationships with other brands and expand the reach of a marketing campaign.Co-branding refers to a marketing arrangement where two different brands join forces to create a product or service indicative of both their identities.

Why co-marketing partnership?

By collaborating with a brand who targets similar people you will double your creative potential. When it comes to generating ideas two heads is always better than one. Collaboration opens up a door of possibilities for companies, especially the ones with a tight marketing budget. For such small businesses and startups, building brand recognition and affinity at the lowest cost possible is critical. Therefore, to gain a competitive edge, companies should ally together and pool their resources to drive mutually beneficial results. Co-marketing campaigns aim to deliver greater results in terms of visibility, reach, and sales that could not have been accomplished without working together.

We pinpointed several reasons (campaign examples to be found in this post of ours)  to include strategic partnerships in your marketing plan:

  • As mentioned above it is cost-efficient and time-effective. Co-marketing is a way to reach great results with a limited budget in a shorter time span.
  • Increase access to resources. Your partner may possess alternative resources that you can benefit of while executing the campaign. It might be a know-how, creative potential, software licenses or established relationships with stakeholders involved in a mutual campaign.
  • Create better content together. Two companies who have similar audiences can work together on a piece of content. Creating quality content requires a wide range of expertise, brainpower, and money. Collaborating, on the other hand, is a faster cheaper way to go. There are no limits to the format of the content to collaborate on. It can be anything from a video series, webinar, audiobook, mutual blog to a single blog-post.
  • Tap into a new audience.  One of the main advantages of running a co-marketing campaign is gaining access to the audience of your partner. There are several channels to take into consideration. Firstly, leverage mailing list exposure. If both brands have a solid customer email database, you can utilize each other’s contacts to gain extra exposure. Secondly, you can piggyback on your partner’s media channels by promoting the shared campaign on their owned media. Double audience = more awareness for a campaign you do together.

Planning the partnership in 5 steps

Earlier this year our colleagues at mindshare have created a wonderful framework to plan your future partnerships. The planning work is divided into five distinct areas, each with its own question to be answered:

  1. Why do we do it?
  2. Who is the target audience?
  3. What’s the story?
  4. How is the content discovered?
  5. How do we measure success?


  1. First of all, they suggest figuring out a role and purpose of the partnership by looking at the S.M.A.R.T marketing goals of your company. Answer a primary question: what do you want to achieve with this campaign in particular? Are you aiming to increase brand awareness? Communicate a set of values? Increase sales? The answer will set the scope and help you to identify possible barriers and challenges which might occur in the execution of the future campaign.
  2. Next step – identify the target audience and collect as much information about them as possible. Go beyond demographics and dig into their behavioral patterns in order to gain understanding into their preferences and values. Once the insights are gathered, you can create a campaign brief and characterize a necessary partner.
  3. Once you know what kind of partner you are looking for, it is about time to make a list of potential collaborators and investigate which one of them match your company’s DNA. Choose the company you want to partner up with and pitch your creative idea. If you get a yes, align all the communication activities and set the tasks to accomplish in order to turn your concept into reality.
  4. Then, it is important to reflect on one seeding plan which goes into details of campaign-related content distribution across media channels. Which media should be used, how and why? This is the set of questions to be answered.
  5. The final step – setting the key performance indicators to track the success of the campaign. The right and measurable KPIs must be aligned with the initial goals of your campaign and support overall marketing plan and priorities of your company.


Co-marketing is a powerful tool to amplify the scope of your marketing campaigns. It the highly competitive environment most of the companies operate these days it is important to stay flexible and open to collaborations with like-minded companies. Ultimately, success may not solely depend on your individual strengths, it might be the result of one’s ability to cooperate with another. Why don’t you create something spectacular together?

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