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What is Co-Marketing? Maximizing ISV Success with Partners

If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably asking yourself, What is co-marketing? 

There is a lot of hype around co-selling with partners with good reason, but what about co-marketing…

With lean partnerships teams or often just a dedicated individual playing the role of an entire partner team, it’s easy for brands to focus all of their efforts on the co-selling and account alignment. The logic goes, Co-selling leads to opportunities, opportunities lead to sales, sales leads to success

Although all of that is true, what’s often overlooked is the critical role co-marketing can and should play in the funnel of success. 

 

What is co-marketing?

 

Co-marketing is a strategy where brands join forces to develop co-branded marketing campaigns, increase their audience, and nurture new deals. Businesses and organizations engage in co-marketing with other brands in their ecosystem or industry so that they can reach new prospects. 

This means your co-marketing partner should have an overlapping audience, so that you can eventually onboard some of their loyal customers to your platform or solution.

 

What is co-branding?

 

If you’re developing a product, marketing campaign, or a piece of collateral with a partner, you will want to make sure that both brand names are attached. You might even want to develop a unique graphic that joins your brands’ logos together. This is called bo-branding.

 

What is the difference between co-marketing and co-selling?

 

Co-marketing is focused on boosting and spreading the word of your partner’s products and services through shared marketing campaigns. Co-selling, on the other hand, is the process of engaging with a partner to sell a solution together. This could look like working with a system integrator (SI), a technology partner or a cloud ecosystem sales team. In co-selling, there is a joint value proposition that is a shared and mutually beneficial outcome for both parties. 

Both co-marketing and co-selling help businesses tap into partnership to drive pipeline growth, improve the customer experience, and reach revenue targets. 

 

The advantages of co-marketing in a partner program

 

Co-marketing broadens your reach and your audience in a way you just can’t easily do on your own without spending a lot of time and money.  It also: 

  • Allows you to associate yourself with larger brands to build credibility and awareness.
  • Tees up co-sell efforts and account alignment 
  • Lets you do more with less 

 

Finding and nurturing a co-marketing partner

 

Invisory has worked with ISVs of all sizes. What I can say with certainty is we see two common challenges when it comes to companies picking partners to align with:

  • ISVs don’t know where to start when it comes to identifying the right partners. How do you choose between tech partners, regional system integrators (SIs), GSIs (like Accenture, Deloitte, and Slalom), and cloud marketplace partners (like AWS, Azure, and Salesforce).
  • Even if you have an idea of who you want to partner with, cold emails and LinkedIn outreach doesn’t work

There are thousands of regional SIs, dozens of GSIs, and a handful of marketplace partners that I’m sure any alliance team would be thrilled to work with. The challenge becomes getting and keeping those partners’ attention. In each category, your potential co-marketing partners have dozens (or even hundreds) of ISVs hounding them for co-sell alignment. This could make it hard to stand out, or it could be your biggest opportunity. 

Many ISVs go straight to the cold outreach – I like you, you’re a name I know, I want to work with you.

Or if they’re a little more sophisticated, hey we have a joint customer can we talk about more customers like this one

This type of outreach might work some of the time, but creating a thoughtful approach and more importantly a follow up plan to truly engage with the partner is where the co-marketing comes in. 

 

Your co-marketing playbook

 

Your playbook should be broken into really three areas 

1 – Who do you want to partner with

2 – Creating a co-marketing partnership plan

3 – Execution 

Choosing who you partner with is a critical choice as well. With only so many hours in the day, being picky about who you share time and resources with is a must. Make sure you spend time identifying the right kind of partners that align with your ICP and your values. We offer a full check list in the playbook if you’d like to download and dig in further. 

Once you know who you want to partner with it’s important to document how you want to work alongside each other for mutual success. 

Lastly, you need to execute and track success. Tracking success can look different for everyone, but it’s important to make decisions based on facts, not feelings. Read our other blog post to learn more about this concept. 

As mentioned above, Invisory recently launched a co-marketing playbook to help ISVs navigate the partner approach with the co-marketing lens. We also hosted a webinar on the topic with our friends at Partner Fleet (watch the recording here). If you’d like to dig into the playbook checklists and details you can download a copy here

Remember that whether you’re a partner team of one or ten, take the time to identify the right partners and put the assets and activities in place to drive deeper relationships and mutual benefits will follow. 

 

Co-Marketing content types

 

Building the right co-marketing campaign takes time. Here’s a quick run through of the various co-marketing content types to choose from (and note: you’ll probably end up using multiple content types for each co-marketing campaign).

Blogs

Whether you’re publishing a guest blog post on your partner’s website or co-writing thought leadership for your company’s website, blog posts are an excellent way to co-market. Think about topics that would resonate with both of your audiences. Blog content is a great option to boost both your SEO and social media strategy.

Webinars

When two or more companies join together to discuss a topic, silos begin to disappear. Find a topic that makes sense for a 20-30 minute conversation, schedule a practice run, and market the webinar to both of your audiences over email, social media, and elsewhere. 

Podcasts

The podcast boom isn’t going anywhere. If you or your co-marketing partner have a podcast, consider setting up a casual conversation around an important topic in the industry. Podcasts are a great way to reflect on key business trends and show off your personality. 

Social media

While B2C brands might be more drawn to Instagram, TikTok, and X (formerly Twitter), B2B marketing truly thrives on LinkedIn. Consider giving your partners and customers a shout out on social media if they achieve a major milestone. If you’re boosting a blog post, webinar, or eBook, sharing the asset on LinkedIn with a striking graphic can increase your audience. Don’t forget to tag your co-marketeer! 

eBook

If you’re looking to explore a more in-depth topic that requires charts, visuals, and pull quotes, an eBook is a great co-marketing tool. eBooks can take a long time to develop and write, so putting your resources together can streamline the effort.

After the eBook is finished, both you and your co-marketing partner can host the project on your websites. This way, their customers can discover your brand, and vice versa.

Booth

Getting a shared booth at conferences is a good option to boost your brand and reduce costs. If you take this approach, you will want to make sure you strike a nice balance between both brands. Customers who might not recognize your brand might be drawn to your partner, and then take the time to learn about your products and services.

Events

In-person events have returned. Consider hosting a co-branded happy hour or a sports event. Casual events give you and your co-marketing partner a more relaxed avenue for exploring business opportunities.

Email

Newsletters, nurture sequences, and marketing emails are great opportunities for co-marketing. Give your partner a shout out on your weekly digest, or highlight how your solutions go hand-in-hand on an email to eager prospects. 

PR

Journalists and editors are always looking for fresh angles. Pitch a story about how your partnership is a win-win for customers, or co-write a byline about a trending topic in the industry. 

 

How Invisory helps ISVs reach cloud marketplace success

 

The Invisory GTM cloud solution helps ISVs unlock their cloud marketplace potential across platforms like Salesforce, Azure, and AWS. Invisory’s one of a kind platform delivers actionable insights and key go-to-market deliverables to SaaS companies looking to stand out and maximize revenue in crowded marketplaces while reducing risk and accelerating results. For more information contact info@invisory.co.

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