Even before Covid-19, small groups of young people were sometimes strolling around at the checkouts at the supermarket. As a regular supermarket visitor, you immediately knew: it’s time for collectable football cards again. Despite the begging, it is of course fun to push a stack of cards into a child’s hand. But it can also go beyond that when family, neighbors and colleagues are called in to help complete a collection. A clever example of collaborative marketing by the supermarket chain, who partnered up with the Italian company Panini. Not only is a visit to the supermarket extra rewarded, visitors have an extra reason to buy more products and to visit the store more often. In other words, the entire customer engagement gets a boost.

Next level Customer Engagement with collaborative marketing

The modern consumer wants to feel unique, seen, appreciated and valued. In order to achieve the next level in this process, your customer engagement should be a true experience across all aspects, in which all departments work closely together and in a smart way. In other words, the employees of marketing, sales and service should collaborate to get into the minds of the consumer in order to be able to deliver a unique customer experience that meets every customer need. And, if possible, to even exceed expectations. This is step 1. The next step would be to really fulfil this experience in practise. That extra stimulus can be activated by partnering creatively with other companies, like Panini.

“Through collaborative marketing you can offer an incentive that is relevant for your customer, but isn’t part of your regular offer.”

Collaborative marketing has long proven its effectiveness in retail. Examples are the well-known vegetable gardens and football pictures from Albert Heijn, the towels at Shell or the discount on visits to amusement parks at Bruna. For the suppliers of these goods, these types of promotions can mean a lucrative second sales channel, since the supermarkets take part in the costs. The promotions can also contribute to greater brand awareness. The supermarkets, in turn, see a nice temporary peak in their turnover, because the promotions act as a trigger to shop more and more often. Plus, this allows them to offer an incentive that is relevant to their customer, but not within their regular range of products and services.

Get started with collaborative marketing 

Setting up an effective, personal and valuable loyalty or engagement program is not that easy. In addition to the creative aspect, you also need a powerful loyalty and engagement program in which you can easily add incentives and promotions that are relevant to your customer. Especially companies or brands with similar goals and ambitions in the field of marketing, branding and loyalty are eligible. The question you need to answer is: to what extent can partners offer a valuable experience with their proposition and fulfill the needs of your customers?

To answer that question, it is smart to start with small-scale partnerships that you can deploy flexibly. By first going through a test phase, your existing customers can get used to this extra service. You can then expand the offer step by step and give your customer more choice or value.

“In the new reality, companies can use the help and support of other strong brands to strengthen the relationship with their customers.”

One plus one equals three

In my opinion, collaborative marketing is a logical way for increasing your customer experience. In the current reality retailers, but also for producers, can use the support and help from other strong brands in order to strengthen the relationship with the end-customer. This requires creative partnerships that ensure commercial cross-pollination within your marketing efforts. And I am referring in particular to the engagement process. This requires that you dare to share customers, meaning you will have to stop thinking about competition. That is part of the old world. Of course, every euro can only be spent once. But when you think of the synergetic effects that higher spending entails, collaborative marketing leads to one and one equals three.

Collaborative marketing in the long term

In the long run, the number of partnerships between retailers and brand will strongly increase. By combining forces, cooperating in a smart manner and finding creative connections, you are, in my opinion, able to make a difference as modern retailer. The visit to a store is enriched ánd extra rewarded. Collaborative marketing will therefore become an indispensable link within the domain of customer loyalty and engagement.

And where we still see this mainly within the food retail business with incentives with a low value, such as vegetable gardens or football cards, this form of collaborations will continue to expand within non-food retail. Where the range of rewards and incentives becomes wider and the reward mechanisms more ingenious and more data-driven. This gives the end customer more freedom of choice and clarity about what he or she is saving for. In short, programs are becoming more individual and personal. That is what I call next level Customer Engagement.

Do you need support with mapping your current engagement ecosystem and to find opportunities that you might be missing out on? We regularly organize inspiration sessions about next level customer engagement and the role of collaborative marketing. Are you interested? Send me a message through LinkedIn and I’ll tell you more about it.

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