Sound Advice

Joining Forces

A magazine ad for Obsession perfume by Calvin Klein says "Bloomingdale's" at the bottom. Whose ad is this, anyway?

The strategy is called co-marketing. "It's manufacturers working with their channel partners to create [marketing] programs that build business for both parties," explains Jon Kramer, president of J. Brown/LMC Group, a Stamford, Connecticut, co-marketing agency.

Co-marketing can involve anything from television advertising, in which both the manufacturer and the retailer have a stake, to direct-mail that entices consumers to visit your marketing partner's store for dollars off your products. The benefits: shared costs and a more powerful call to action.

This savings is doubly important for small firms. How can you initiate such a program on a modest scale?

  • Team up on ads that feature both a store name and a manufacturer's logo. By sharing costs, you can buy more advertising.
  • Create promotions that bring in customers. For example, offer coupons for $5 off a quilting class with a $25 purchase of Irma Laine's fabric at the Sew Happy fabric store.
  • Strengthen alliances with your retail clients or vendors. Look for ways your marketing programs might be modified to include your partners. With pooled resources and a cohesive strategy, everybody wins.

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This article was originally published in the October 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Sound Advice.

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