Collaborative Marketing: what it is and how it works

Before discussing the enormous potential of collaborative marketing, I want to ask you a question: how often have you left a negative review on a blog or a platform like Tripadvisor?

And how many times have you felt the need to write a positive comment for excellent service or a tried-and-tested product?

This is because the advent of social media has completely changed our approach to brands today: we want to be involved as active protagonists, we want to express ourselves on the web, give voice to our experiences, and all feel a bit like influencers!

Collaborative marketing fits right into this context, placing the consumer at the center of the brand’s communication process. Is it a necessity or a stroke of genius?

Word of mouth is the new reason

Collaborative marketing goes beyond simply allowing users to comment, like, or retweet content posted on social media.

Since it implies a deeper involvement of the consumer/client, directly called to ideate, create, and improve products – and simultaneously marketing messages – together with the brand.

This is from a study conducted by Crowdtap, one of the leading collaborative marketing platforms.

The number one challenge of collaborative marketing is to implement winning customer-oriented communication campaigns centered on word of mouth, with the goal of “handing over” to consumers the power to share their experiences about the products and services tried.

word of mouth

At this stage, what matters is to establish a dialogue as directly as possible, with what is sold and offered to take a back seat, albeit relatively.

Before making any purchase, how many of us decide to rely solely on the official website of a brand?

The reason is that none of us is willing to settle anymore instead, we prefer to gather as much information as possible from the web (through opinion portals, discussion forums, and social networks).

To delve deeper, and get closer to the product through the direct experiences of friends, relatives, or colleagues, and only then land on the infamous official website.

Keep an eye on the web

You know, the sea is full of fish! For your collaborative marketing campaign, keep an eye on your consumers!

collaborative marketing examples

For this, you will necessarily have to find a way to intercept and know the opinions circulating about your brand online, thus avoiding unpleasant consequences. Want two reasons? Discovering possible negative messages will allow you to intervene correctly and in real time, responding to doubts or complaints from your consumer.

At the same time, it will “earn” you the great privilege of collecting useful feedback and perceptions from your customers about your products or your brand, allowing you to act to improve your relationship the earliest possible.


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Keep in mind: 10 principles of Collaborative Marketing

Collaborative marketing is not about marketers but ordinary people.

It sees the consumer not just as a target to reach but as a collaborator to engage in every sense, a true protagonist not only in the marketing strategy but in a much broader development process, from product creation to market positioning!

But how do you make your brand truly collaborative and make the most of the potential of our consumers?

listen to consumers

Trend, the leading reference company for collaborative marketing, has compiled 10 key principles of this collaborative approach:

  • Listen to your consumers. And then listen to them again.
  • Discover the hidden potential of your consumers.
  • Collaborate with your consumers and don’t be afraid of their opinions.
  • Learn from consumers how to improve your products.
  • Develop new products not only for consumers but with them.
  • Be loyal to your consumers, and they will be loyal to your brand.
  • Motivate consumers to become your Marketing Assistants team.
  • Entrust communication to your consumers.
  • Include consumers in your company structure and work in synergy with them.
  • Always remember that the consumer is your most valuable resource.

Identify your consumers

A “ConsumActor” is someone who directs their purchasing choices critically, understands the frequent deceitfulness of advertising messages, and primarily trusts the opinions of people they know.

They want to express themselves because they are aware that their opinions matter and should be heard. (Maria de Filippo, Head of Communication at Trnd)

Know that the consumer you are addressing and will address in your marketing campaigns has changed. They no longer settle for the usual $100,000 commercials or daily posts on their favorite social media.

Today’s consumer wants to be an integral part of your battle, wants to “take the stage” and act as a ConsumActor!

identify your consumers

Before launching your collaborative marketing campaign, find a way to review who could genuinely be interested in becoming a testimonial and witness to the creative development process of your brand.

Keep in mind that your best customer is not only a great buyer but also a great seller. An emotionally engaged consumer will more willingly and spontaneously leave a comment or review about your product or service.

Knowing how to study the behavior of your consumers about your value proposition will be your winning weapon.

Start with Facebook and Twitter and identify the most suitable ConsumActor 2.0 for your business you are taking the first steps in your collaborative marketing strategy.

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Publish content for different targets

To attract your more “collaborative” customers quickly, regularly publish content designed for different targets and start capturing topics that generate the most engagement in your community and the most responsive targets.

To make your consumers communicate for you, be collaborative yourself: trust them and do not be afraid of their opinions. Instead, take them as inspiration to review your offer and restart in a more proactive and even more customer-oriented way.

Collaborative marketing is not something you can buy it is built gradually over time and, even more than pure marketing, aims to maximize the value that each consumer is willing to contribute to the success of a brand or product.

But what exalts a consumer more than anything? The idea of being able to buy a product they have contributed to ideate and develop!


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Words of mouth makes the difference

At this point, word of mouth comes into play, still considered one of the most effective sales techniques.

The cornerstone of collaborative marketing is precisely word of mouth, which, thanks to its high engagement capacity, allows you to promote a product and turn it into a success. To better understand the importance of this means, here are some numbers.

According to some Nielsen surveys, 83% of consumers seem to trust more opinions about products and services from family, colleagues, and friends, and 66% in those researched on the web by other consumers.

The data becomes even more interesting when we move into the world of social media.

promote a product

Almost 50% of consumers claim to buy a product only after researching it on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, but even more astonishing is that 80% of purchases resulting from social shares happen within only 3 weeks of that specific product being shared.

In a context like today’s, where the words “sharing” and “collaboration” are taking on an increasingly central role in the development of new economic models, we believe it is necessary to stimulate constructive exchange between producers, companies, and consumers.

An approach that overturns the classical conception of the consumer as the last link in the production cycle, reversing it. Nowadays, it is to the needs and desires of consumers that the company must start. (Valentina Lonati, PR & Communication Manager of Trnd)

When formulating your collaborative marketing strategy, keep in mind the impact that positive word of mouth could have on your business, both in terms of monetary value and brand awareness.

collaborations between brands

A customer who “markets” for a brand, in a long-term perspective, will certainly be more valuable than a loyal customer who may make continuous purchases but does not want to expose themselves to promote the brand.

At this point, you will understand how much potential good word of mouth can generate both on social media and offline, sometimes, in terms of perception, even more than any advertising campaign worth $100,000.

Let’s now see how to concretize collaborations between brands and consumers and leverage them to the fullest in your marketing and communication strategies.

Words of mouth in the service of the web

Who better than the internet, could fully satisfy this urgent need to be present always and everywhere? There would be no bloggers or influencers like Ferragni if it weren’t for that!

Involving your customers in a marketing campaign means securing a significant market share. Those who use collaborative marketing know this, is useful for understanding customer opinions before the actual product launch.

advertisement visibility

Through dedicated platforms, and a notable example is Trnd, which already collaborates with brands like Yamaha, Bottega Verde, Mutti, Philips, Unilever, Lines, Zalando, Danone, Kellok’s, Loacker, Asus, P&G, Crowdtop, you can choose to reach your consumers by inviting them to join a community of free ambassadors.

This way, you make them an integral part of the creative process and the selection and development of your brand, significantly increasing their satisfaction level.

Here’s how it works, the consumer can join the community for free (there are about 240 thousand registered on Trnd alone), and choose the product they prefer to review and promote.

You will receive a kit of free samples directly at home, try the product, and commit to spreading the word by recommending it to friends, family, and colleagues, often going well beyond the required engagement.

Because the festive spirit of us cannot be taken away from us! And what better opportunity to present to our acquaintances the product we are proud to be free ambassadors for than during a party or a more intimate gathering?

If you want to implement a strategy of collaborative marketing, think about this as well!

Use Collaborative Marketing to create social connections. This, along with feeling like an active participant, is the added value that Collaborative Marketing provides to the ConsumActor.

In the campaign, emotion is the driving force. (trnd – The Collaborative Marketing Company)

Thanks to this collaborative approach, you will have:

  • The privilege of studying your audience in-depth (thanks to the feedback you will collect).
  • The opportunity to implement even more targeted loyalty initiatives (based on the needs gathered from feedback).
  • Detailed profiling of your potential consumers (prospects).

Every day, new social sites, new ways of consuming content, and new modes of participation, and purchasing emerge. It is essential to frequently test messages, platforms, and products, adapting quickly to market changes.

In this context, the role played by social media and the internet becomes evident, acting as engines in this process and ideal scenarios for creating and developing a dialogue between the company and the consumer.

Brands like Loacker or Bottega Verde (read about the initiative here) have relied on collaborative marketing platforms in an attempt to create “a bit of healthy gossip” around their newly launched products on the market.

The return on investment seems to have been remarkable, in addition to the quantity of information, opinions, and suggestions accumulated during the initiative, sufficient to lay the foundation for the development of new products.

gather feedback

The selection process of a free ambassador will be even more “delicate” the more complex the assigned territories are.

Posting on an eCommerce site, on a review portal, on your blog, or directly on the brand owner’s website will require different writing and storytelling skills at a certain level.

Remember that the active participation of your users will not come suddenly but will be the result of a long process of sharing and confidence building that your brand must dedicate itself to in the long term.

In short, give people something to talk about, be interesting, find a simple message, and motivate people to share it. Make your customers happy and satisfied, and earn respect and trust.

Know that if you want to implement a collaborative marketing strategy, there are no rules! “Copying” will not pay off and will not add any value to your marketing mix.

The only winning formula to keep your customers satisfied for a long time will be to find a way to satisfy them by doing marketing not toward them, but with them.


Collaborative Marketing is a potent strategy for businesses to achieve goals by partnering with others, encompassing various approaches like Co-Marketing, Co-Branding, Cross-Promotion, Joint Ventures, and Strategic Alliances.

This approach helps expand reach, cut costs, boost credibility, and foster innovation. Successful implementation involves effective planning, relationship management, and a commitment to collaborative work.

The goal is to stimulate spontaneous conversations between companies and consumers, turning customers into “co-marketers” actively promoting products within the target market.

If you want to discover how to implement a successful marketing strategy that best satisfies your customers, turn to the professionalism of a Digital Coach and start with a specialized degree in Web Marketing Specialist Course, Social Media Marketing Course, and Online Reputation Management Course.

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