Local businesses with related or like-minded services can greatly benefit from cooperative marketing. It can be more time-efficient and cost-effective to band together and cross-promote services. For consumers, cooperative marketing can be highly convenient— as well as economically efficient for the businesses pooling their resources together.

The way cooperative marketing works is for complementary businesses, or even competing businesses, to combine marketing efforts. One of the most effective cooperative marketing campaigns I was involved in was a combination of seven local retail businesses, each selling different products, cooperatively marketing a joint competition. The competition ran for five weeks and each shop provided a $50 voucher to go into a weekly prize pool. Shoppers had to buy a product from one or more of the shops involved to get a chance to win the prize pool of vouchers. In the fifth week all shops provided a $100 voucher to go into the final prize pool.

Each shop involved sent out details of the competition to their social media followers and newsletter databases which contained details of all shops involved. I owned the youngest running shop involved with the least amount of contacts. My shop was promoted to the other participants consumers, all who had much larger databases than mine. After the competition had finished my customer base had grown by 14%.

Another great initiative is for a group of shops or businesses to band together to produce a full-page advert for the local newspaper or buy some radio or television space and share the costs. The costs can include the design of the ad by a graphic designer or ad agency and purchasing the ad space. This makes it very affordable for all involved.

Other forms of cooperative marketing include cross-promotion. For instance, if one highly sought-after natural therapist has a large contact list, he or she may offer to promote another wellness practitioner’s book or product through their valuable contact list. Or a bookkeeper may like to promote an accountant and vice versa.

I highly recommend every business includes some form of cooperative marketing in their marketing strategy. It is a great way to increase your customers and save money.

Nikki Griffiths, Business Development Advisor, Business South West