Marketing is equal parts mathematics and artistry. It takes a creative team to engage an audience in such a way that sales increase and brand reputation grows; it takes statisticians to know if this is actually happening. Implementing, testing and re-implementing a marketing campaign can be costly and brutal on key staff, and some companies — even if they’re a big player in the market — do not have the leverage to command market shares. This is when a marketing partnership can benefit both companies is ways that transcend the unit cost.

Obvious Cost Benefit

Let’s get the simple math out of the way: Marketing partnerships enable two companies to generate buzz while splitting the cost. They yield all the benefits at half the price per company. It is generally recommended that a company throw 15 to 20 percent of profit back into marketing. If your company nets $100,000 annually, then marketing should be using $20,000 of this. Cutting this in half will ultimately save your company 10 percent of its profit margin. Now for the less obvious benefits.

Perceived Value

A well-fashioned partnership or endorsement can actually increase the value of your product. In 1984, Nike partnered with Michael Jordan on a shoe line. The Air Jordan sold for upwards of $100 by 1986. To get some perspective, the average sports shoe price in 2013 is $72, when the newer Air Jordan’s sell for more than $225.

Getting a proper match between partners requires that both companies honestly evaluate their individual brand reputations and use the information to identify how the pros and cons will help all of the players. A company that is trusted with respect to consumer safety will increase the value of a child’s toy. A company with a reputation of being environmentally aware will increase the value of a bottled water company.

Increasing Reach

One or both of the companies will often be able to leverage the partnership for increased marketing reach. When Condé Nast partners with smaller providers, their most significant offering is their large network. Even partners with a small budget may bring marketing reach to the table. Blogs and vlogs are amassing huge audiences. The use of iPhones allows shoestring budgets the ability to create professional quality video, promoting these in a viral fashion. One partner supplies the product while the other supplies the reach.

The Other Demographics

There are more than 7 billion people on Earth. Trying to market to all of them is financially and logistically impossible. Whereas one company can increase the reach, another may be able to focus the demographics. When Volvo and Legoland partnered to introduce their new car, Legoland gave the car dealer a tight, well-defined market demographic. Legoland is known as a family theme park which matched well with Volvo’s reputation as a safe vehicle.

Cross-Company Performance

Mergers come with certain benefits. Maintaining a marketing department plus lawyers for regulations, sales staff for promotions, and HR to manage them all can be expensive. Marketing partnerships give companies the benefit of a merger without actually needing to merge. Executives might not be able to be blended, but if one company has a marketing department, then use it. Otherwise, outsource the process and get rid of the overhead.