A marketing co-operation or marketing cooperation is a partnership of at least two companies on the value chain level of marketing with the objective to tap the full potential of a market by bundling specific competences or resources. Other terms for marketing co-operation are marketing alliance, marketing partnership, co-marketing, and cross-marketing.
Marketing co-operations are sensible when the marketing goals of two companies can be combined with a concrete performance measure for the end consumer. Successful marketing co-operations generate "win-win-win" situations that offer value not only to both partnering companies but also to their customers.
Marketing co-operations extend the perspective of marketing. While marketing measures deal with the optimal organization of the relationship between a company and its existing and potential customers, marketing co-operations audit to what extent the integration of a partner can contribute to improving the relationship between companies and customers.
In recent years, marketing co-operations have been increasingly popular between brands and entertainment properties. This usually involves a minimum exchange of name and image rights on behalf of a film studio for a specified advertising commitment from the partnering brand.
The importance of marketing co-operations has significantly increased over the last few years: Companies recognize partnerships as an effective means for untapping growth potentials they cannot realize on their own. In the big merger and acquisition wave at the end of the nineties it became apparent, that co-operations (especially on the value chain level of marketing) often present a much more flexible approach with a more immediate growth impact than merging or acquiring entire business entities.
Studies show, that companies recognise the increasing relevance and potential of co-operations.
There are five main objectives of marketing co-operations:
Joint marketing refers to any situation where a product is manufactured by one company and distributed by another company. Both parties invest in commercialization dollars. Joint marketing differs from a joint venture in that it deals with commercialization and marketing dollars, rather than equity. The prominence of each logo generally is relative to its use as a primary or secondary contributor. Joint marketing differs from third-party relationships because both brands are present on the product itself. Normally, third-party relationships have both brands on literature and sales materials, but only the manufacturer is present on the product.
Marketing co-operations can take on many different forms, for instance:
Apple Inc. and Nike Inc. have formed a long term partnership to jointly develop and sell "Nike+iPod" products. The "Nike + iPod Sport Kit" links Nike+ products with Apples MP3-Player iPod nano, so that performance data such as distance, pace, or burned calories can be displayed on the MP3-Player's interface.
The South Korean manufacturer of electronics products LG Electronics has teamed up with the luxury brand Prada in order to better tap the potential of the growing mobile phone high-end market by creating a Prada branded phone, the "Prada phone by LG".
Opel and Mango have established a pan-European marketing co-operation around the Tigra TwinTop campaign "Every street is a catwalk" with a focus on communication. This co-operation includes joint marketing communication, events/PR, and promotional activities.
YouTube and NBA have joined forces up to develop a special NBA Channel on the video platform, which basically is an individualised micro site providing primarily NBA material and offering user recordings of NBA games/players.