Mass marketing is outdated. New approaches are being developed to meet consumers’ pressing demands. Communication technology, our digitalised society, and new consumer requirements have turned how we do marketing on its head. Brands are now putting customers at the heart of their strategies, adapting to their needs and promoting dialogue. This is collaborative marketing.
It’s an approach that has quickly won over companies regardless of sector or size. In this post, we tell you what a collaborative marketing strategy can bring you and what practical steps you can take to implement your own.
What is collaborative marketing?
Collaborative marketing puts companies and consumers on a level playing field. In today’s world, consumers want brands to hear their voices and want to be thought of as partners. They want to be involved in the creative process, designing or improving products and services together.
But there’s a real gap between what consumers want and what actually happens in reality.
According to a study carried out by Edelmann GmbH in 2014,
- 80% of consumers want to be heard by brands.
- But only 16% of brands are actually listening.
Which is a shame for businesses, because they could easily make this desire for collaboration work in their favour.
And collaborative marketing isn’t limited to B2C, either. It can also be used just as easily for B2B marketing. Marketers’ fields of action are continuing to grow, and this change isn’t going to stop any time soon. Structural changes to buyers’ habits are encouraging brands to become more and more daring. From acquiring customers to building their loyalty, there are a whole host of benefits to a collaborative marketing strategy.
The benefits of collaborative marketing
It’s clear you should implement a collaborative marketing strategy. But why? Thanks to the added value this type of strategy provides, calling it an attractive proposition for brands is an understatement.
Develop a close relationship between the brand and consumers
Businesses should look to establish a dialogue with consumers by involving them in the various steps of the development of a product or service. Dialogue is an excellent way to create a close link between brands and consumers. By being close to your company and an essential part of your processes, consumers will trust your brand more and be more loyal.
Develop a feeling of product ownership or a selling point for the brand
When their opinions are taken into account, consumers experience a feeling of ownership. And this feeling benefits your company because it has a direct impact on its brand image and the act of purchasing.
Transform consumers into ambassadors
Involving consumers in a business’s decision-making process is an excellent way to make them into real ambassadors – resulting in genuine consensus between consumers and businesses.
Allow the brand to boost its reputation
You’ll benefit from the publicity generated by consumers who take part in your collaborative marketing campaign – they’ll share their experience and get people talking about your brand.
Use word of mouth, a viral driver of collaborative marketing
Participants might share their experience and attract more people to a campaign – and to the brand.
A range of collaborative marketing strategies
Collaborative marketing can be used at all stages of product development, at all stages of customer relations, and also when a company is looking to win over new customers and develop in new markets.
Launch a social media campaign
Communicating on social media is generally the first step that brands take to generate participation. Some brands have really grasped the idea, and use Facebook and Twitter to communicate all the time. When a brand communicates with its consumers on social media and asks for their opinion, a close relationship can develop. It’s a way for the brand to get feedback on its products and services, as well as to gauge consumers’ opinions.
Community managers can set up polls where users can vote and directly affect the features of a product or service. It’s a way of involving consumers in the creative process. As a result, they feel like they are truly involved in the product, making them its best ambassadors.
Set up competitions, both online and offline
Setting up competitions is an excellent way to measure a brand’s popularity with its consumers. It allows you to highlight a product or service by asking consumers to make an active contribution for the chance to win gifts and prizes.
Create content via the community
It’s important for a brand to create content as a way of capturing consumers’ attention and conveying its values and ambitions, or just to keep them informed of what’s new. But content published by brands has even more impact if it’s created in part by consumers themselves.
Co-create products and services
Involving consumers in the act of creating and promoting products and services is the foundation of collaborative marketing. It means listening to consumers and finding out their opinions so you can understand their expectations and aspirations. And to achieve this, it’s important to carefully target the consumers you want to involve to make sure that your collaborative marketing campaign gives the most insightful results. Hence the importance of putting the right incentives in place – choosing prizes that hit the nail on the head. For example, to encourage students to take part, offer the best participant the chance to go travelling or take up an internship in your company.
Launch a crowdfunding campaign
Crowdfunding allows you to take collaborative marketing one step further. By helping to fund a project, a concept or a new product, future consumers will actively work on developing the brand. It’s a way of building a consumer base and determining whether a market exists for a new product.
The limits and dangers of collaborative marketing
Collaborative marketing has a lot of advantages. It’s a totally innovative method with surprising results. But unfortunately, if the process isn’t done with the proper level of care, it can get brands in trouble.
Make sure you’re targeting the right people. If you don’t, the results and indicators you identify will be biased and won’t be representative of your consumers’ expectations. Watch out for participants whose only motivation is to win a prize. It’s essential to carry out proper research before launching your campaign.
Risk of hijacking and creations that harm your brand
Running a collaborative marketing campaign also means running the risk of giving people a stick to beat you with. You might get unhappy and vindictive consumers trying to sabotage your campaign. So watch out for anything that could backfire and harm your image. The solution? Appoint moderators to actively monitor participants’ suggestions and proposals and to stop things going off track.
A marketing campaign built by consumers might not be representative. It might not necessarily be possible to carry out quality control – hence the importance of properly targeting your campaign beforehand.
If you keep these pitfalls in mind and you make sure to analyse the risks properly before the launch, your collaborative marketing campaign will be a success. And what better way to build a sustainable relationship with consumers?