Collaborative B2B Marketing Tiips

Doing collaborative video projects with other brands can be an incredibly valuable part of a B2B video marketing strategy. By combining forces, co-promotion allows both companies to reach new audiences that might have been unaware of their offering before. It also enables you to connect your brand story to others, creating alliances and enriching the social value of your brand.

By working with a new team, you also benefit from an influx of fresh ideas, which can liven up your creative process and help you think outside the box. For all of these reasons, collaboration was benchmarked as a rising trend in video marketing at VidCon 2015—and it doesn’t hurt that it’s now relatively painless to connect with other teams, even over large distances.

But of course, all collaborations come with their challenges. In this post we outline the most common ones for co-promotional video campaigns, and identify some useful approaches for resolving them. If you’re planning another kind of collaboration, this is still for you: most of the points made can be applied to all co-promotional campaigns, video or otherwise.

The Big Challenges

Compromising on the message.

This might be the biggest issue, and causes the most headaches, for marketing teams trying to develop an effective co-promotional product. How do you balance your key message with that of the other company within a single, unified video or marketing campaign? It’s usually not simple, and this gets to the foundation of what marketing is about—you have to stay on message.

One approach is to make messaging the very first item you address as a combined team. Have both teams submit the key concepts they want to communicate about their brand or product, and set to work immediately on a combined messaging strategy before you do anything else. If you can’t create one, the collaboration isn’t going to be a success.

Within this process, you can sometimes solve disagreements by designating a number of secondary messages. While the primary key message will guide the narrative and production of the video, secondary concepts can be used in marketing around the video to promote it to different audience segments (for example, social media posts sharing it) or emphasize tangential messages that are important to your respective teams.

Losing control of the development process.

If you’re used to having total control over your production processes, collaboration can be a bit of an adjustment. There will be conversations happening on the other team that you won’t be privy to, and you’ll be working with people who you might not be comfortable disagreeing with openly. In short, it can feel like you’re losing control of the process.

To make sure that a lack of communication doesn’t cause tension or lead to misunderstandings, have key liaisons in place for the project, and choose people who are diplomatic communicators.

Your collaboration is ultimately about achieving the best product, not about keeping control of the process. Try to keep an open mind, and encourage your team to do so as well, while also being prepared to politely, but firmly, disagree when necessary.

Someone on the other team drops the ball.

This is a very delicate situation because it can be awkward to address the issue with the other team head-on, but it would be unfair to your own team to expect them to shoulder the extra burden in silence. The problem stems from the fact that in a collaborative situation, everyone is theoretically on equal footing, which can create an environment where people are careful not to step on toes. When someone isn’t holding up their end of the bargain from the other team, it’s difficult to know how to get that message across.

Be prepared to tactfully remind people of deadlines and objectives if it becomes necessary, and make sure you bring your concerns to the right person. Keeping things civil is extremely important, as is making sure you can work together effectively. The aim of collaborations often go beyond the project at hand—you’re building a relationship that will hopefully lead to other opportunities in the future. Being able to ask for what you need is an important aspect of the latter.

If the situation is so bad that the project is endangered, whether you want to work with this company in the future or not, one solution is to provide them with an easy exit. Let them know that if they don’t have the resources to finish right now, your team can finish it without them, no hard feelings. However, only credit them for the work they actually did; be fair to your own team when promoting the video.

Red Tape

For many people this can be the most frustrating aspect of any collaborative project—the seemingly endless stream of approvals needed, admin, double and triple run-throughs of final products, not to mention the time spent waiting for people every step of the way, to get to the point that you can say, “We’re done!” While red tape is a necessary evil, you can curb it with some firmness and planning.

First, establish approval deadlines as early in the process as possible, and disseminate them to everyone repeatedly throughout the process. Weekly progress meetings are a great way to stay ahead of any issues that may arise and make sure everyone is on the same page. That way, nobody can ever say they were unaware of a deadline or problem.

Secondly, avoid unnecessary roadblocks by ensuring crystal clear communication across the board. Request read receipts for important emails, send calendar invites, and follow up if you think someone might have missed something. Finally, it might make sense to plan a 15% contingency period into your time frame to account for the inevitable delays you’ll have in production and admin.

While there are some challenges, the rewards of co-promotional or collaborative video campaigns are generally well-worth the few hassles you might run into along the way. If there’s a challenge you’ve frequently faced in collaborative projects that you think we should add, tweet to us or leave a comment below!

Written by Laci Texter

SproutVideo blog contributor. You can follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Posted September 10, 2015

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