By Lindsay Haskell

In a world of self-promotion, brands that work together can be the ones that stand out. Partnership marketing, or co-marketing, is where two or more brands merge their marketing campaigns in a way that’s a win-win for both. Though you don’t hear a lot about it as a marketing strategy, partnership marketing is all around us. Even the most seemingly incompatible brands are doing it. In fact, social media has made it easier than ever for brands to buddy up and share each other’s audiences.

Effective co-marketing strategies boost brand awareness, expand your audience and increase your bottom line. Here are three methods brands can use to do more than they could accomplish alone:

1. Affiliate and Influencer Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways for brands to work together. Typically, one mainly benefits from increased exposure to their product, well the other brand gets a financial reward.

For example, let’s say you’re an online fitness coach, or maybe you own your own brick-and-mortar gym. You can team up with a fitness equipment company, use their products and promote them. In exchange, you get a percentage-based commission on sales made through your online affiliate links or affiliate store. This way, you’re helping your audience find the products you use and recommend, and you’re getting an additional revenue stream without the overhead cost of making a product.

Or, let’s say you make fitness equipment. You can find the top fitness gurus on YouTube or Instagram and give an influencer a commission of sales in exchange for having your products used and promoted by them. This gets you directly in front of someone else’s warm audience. When a third party promotes you, you get all the social proof you need to show that your products are the best.

2. Content Co-Creation

Content marketing is one of the best ways to build brand authority. When you collaborate with another brand on a video, blog post or podcast interview, you’re able to share links that lend each brand exposure to the other’s audience. You also lend each other some social proof.

In the fitness coach example, you could co-create a workout video with another fitness guru. While it may seem like you’re giving your audience away to a competitor, in reality, you’re opening yourself to their audience and providing more value to your audience at the same time.

Another way collaborating on content helps both businesses is by boosting SEO. When you get featured on a company’s website with an embedded link to your product page, you get a source of organic traffic. Organic traffic is one of the biggest variables that play into search engine algorithms, so the more of it you get, the higher your web page can rank on Google.

3. Joint Product or Service

Another way to link up with a brand that shares your target audience is to create a product or service together that serves both audiences. The most innovative joint products serve both audiences better than either company could do on their own. One famous example is Apple and Nike’s “The Nike & iPod Sports Kit.” Another is the partnership between Uber and Spotify, which lets Uber riders (who aren’t necessarily Spotify listeners) choose the music for their trip using Spotify.

A product partnership is a great marketing opportunity. Not only do you get to share audiences, but also the marketing costs and efforts.

Partnering Up

Looking at your competition as an opponent will prevent you from seizing opportunities that expand your reach. The companies that work together are the ones that achieve more. When you feel like you’re fighting to stand out, the most innovative thing you can do may be to collaborate with another brand, whether through affiliate marketing, content co-creation or a joint product or service.

Lindsay Haskell is a content writer specializing in health, beauty, fitness, and alternative medicine. She maintains a blog about mindfulness, meditation, and spirituality called Magnetic Mama.

Marketing partnership stock photo by alphaspirit/Shutterstock