When Designers and Vendors Collaborate, Everybody Wins

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Any marketing advice outside of telling you to produce engaging content, network, and stay consistent with your goals, will always be secondary. With that foundation alone you’ll be able to create quite a successful marketing campaign. There aren’t any real marketing secrets that bloggers, eBooks, and webinars are holding back from you, but there are many things you can learn that will make you much more effective with these three key points of advice.

Here we’ll discuss more about networking and show you a method you can use to grow your business while becoming an efficient industry leader. Basically, artists and vendors should work together on new products and marketing campaigns that are cost effective to create and mutually beneficial to both parties. Graphic designers, photographers, musicians, celebrities, and inventors connect with their audiences on a much deeper level than vendors do with their clients. Vendors on the other hand offer artists a wealth of resources, products, and exposure that they’d rarely ever see. By combining these unique advantages, a partnership between artists and vendors can create content that neither one could have ever dreamed to achieve on their own.

Example of Designer & Vendor Collaboration with Promotional Products

I work for a B2B ecommerce company called USB Memory Direct. We sell custom usb flash drives for promotional and small business marketing purposes. Basically our flash drives are manufactured with the company logo and contact information of the recipient company, who then give them out at trade shows and other corporate events as promotional gifts.


Recently we were able to work with the graphic artist UPSO on a special USB product. We’ve been searching for some time on a way to break into the digital art industry and during our research we noticed UPSO because of his unique and engaging style. We felt that his style matched what we were looking for, and we were very excited to work with him.

UPSO provided his trademark design to decorate a slim business card style USB drive. We produced a couple hundred of them and together we gave them out through our websites, mailing lists, and social media platforms in exchange for customer likes, follows, subscriptions, and orders. Our fans loved the UPSO design and contacted UPSO for some additional design work while his fans loved the idea of giving flash drives as promotional gifts and contacted us for our marketing tools. It was a great learning experience for both of us and a fun way to reach out to new audiences.

How to Find the Right Partner for Your Collaboration

As a product vendor you need to find either an artistic client you’ve worked with in the past or a new one that’s just gaining a large fan base. As an artist you need to find either a product vendor who’s willing to sponsor your work or provide you with a useful product.
But even before that, the very first thing you should consider in a potential partner is their content. If you don’t like the content that they’re producing, then it would totally defeat the purpose of collaboration regardless of how famous they are. You have to make sure that you as a business really like and support what they have to offer.

You’re far more likely to form a successful partnership with someone who is on a similar exposure level as you. If Microsoft wanted to grow its audience for example, it wouldn’t make much sense to collaborate with an entirely new artist and linking to their website constantly. The artist would definitely grow big time, but Microsoft wouldn’t get much out of the collaboration.

The only time this would actually work is if you can really see the designer or business growing in its industry and you really love what they’re all about. If there is a good potential for growth, then there is also a good chance the partnership will pay off in the long run.
Always keep this in mind when you’re pitching the idea of collaboration to a vendor or designer. All they really want to know upfront is what they would have to contribute and what they’re getting out of the deal. In other words, how will working with you help them out? Remember, rejection is only rejection if you let it defeat you. So keep on trying and you’ll soon have your very first marketing partnership.

How to Use Partnerships to Your Advantage

All of these suggestions will cover the possibility of sending some of your customers, followers, and web traffic to your partner. This may not sound like a great idea, but it’s certainly necessary for the success of a marketing partnership. Remember, in exchange for this service your partner will also send some of their audience your way. As a result, whenever your partner grows in the future, you’ll also grow as well.
Try guest posting on either other’s blogs with links back to your site. The topics for these articles could include writing a product review, interviewing one another about a product launch, sharing each other’s back story, and other general promotional blog posts. If you’re both just starting out, I’d suggest leaving engaging comments on each other’s products, services, photos, articles, and other media to help start off the buzz and make your businesses look more socially active.
This would also apply to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest. You could retweet their product launches or new design portfolios. Share their Facebook posts on your own account, exposing each other to the thousands of fans you have under your arsenal. Look for unique ways to promote each other on these platforms to see if there’s any way you both benefit from it.
As mentioned in the example before, one of the best ways to engage your audiences through a successful partnership is through launching a product or service together. This is a great way to share something fresh and exciting with your followers that will inspire them to act. What that action might be is totally up to you and your partner.

Have Some Fun with It

This new partnership shouldn’t be something purely business oriented. It should be something both parties enjoy and are enthusiastic about. If you simply view designer/vendor collaborations as a means to an end, then you won’t get the most out of it. Collaborating with others is a necessary foundation to any company that wants to achieve a higher level of exposure. But before anything else, customers value authenticity and authority. Make sure this comes across when you discover your new marketing partnership and join together to create something new and exciting.

Vincent Clarke is an Internet Marketing Specialist for USB Memory Direct, a wholesaler of custom promotional flash drives. He enjoys working one-on-one with customers to deliver great outcomes and is always looking for new content marketing strategies for the USB Memory Direct Facebook and Twitter channels.

Catalin is the founder of Mostash - a social marketing boutique - and he's always happy to share his passion for graphic design & social media.