I know it sounds too good to be true, but it IS true. If you’re a service provider selling third-party products, you could qualify for thousands of dollars in free marketing. The secret is Co-marketing.

Co-marketing is when a supplier helps a dealer market their product by providing marketing dollars. I’ve been on both the giving and receiving end of co-marketing in the past. When I worked at Siemens, we had agreements with all our top dealers. Paying them to advertise our brand was an important part of our marketing strategy.

For example, let’s say a dealer specialized in Siemens fire prevention systems. It wasn’t uncommon for us to pay a portion of the dealer’s trade show fee if he openly promoted our products e.g. “Proudly offering Siemens products at our service booth.”

Don’t Call Us… We’ll Call You (How to Qualify)
Co-marketing is an incredible opportunity but there’re a few hurdles to get through first. Step one is understanding that the supplier will call YOU. And only if you qualify. The trick is to make your company eligible so you get the call.

I’ve worked with lots of clients who specialized in specific product lines but didn’t realize they could be eligible for co-marketing dollars. In these cases, we helped them review their existing marketing so they could meet the right sales targets to qualify. Whether or not a company qualifies, is always based on sales levels, and having a product supplier strategy to maximize your potential for co-marketing dollars is critical.

I recommend clients forget about splitting their spends and focus on a single product line. For example, a service provider can say “We have access to three product lines, but this is our main line and here’s why we recommend it…” Focusing on a single product line can generate better prices by the provider and the resultant co-marketing funds will let you take your marketing to the next level. Imagine entertaining clients at a hockey game in your own private box? Or a round of golf at an exclusive course?

If the idea of cutting down your product lines is scary, consider the huge brand benefit you’ll get by aligning with a major provider rather than looking like a jack of all trades.

You got the call, now what?
I make sure that my clients understand how important it is to work closely with their purchasing partners. When I was at Tyco, we always partnered up our marketing and purchasing to develop strong product supplier strategies. We also maximized the amount companies like Panasonic might pay us to co-market. This technique works well for small companies too, with the added benefit that they build credibility and look larger when aligned with a massive brand.

The bottom line is that co-marketing dollars provide smaller companies with incredible marketing opportunities, but it’s not easy to be considered. If you’re a service provider, it’s time to start thinking about how to qualify. Our newest client can’t believe that his marketing is happening for free, and Growth Path will make sure he qualifies for every penny he can get.

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