In the world of marketing it isn’t a question of whether to utilize cross-marketing, instead it is which technique is best for business. Cross marketing creates a symbiotic relationship between businesses and identifying how it can work best for your sales plan, goal alignment, and growth is the key factor in finding success with this strategy.
There are many different forms or cross-marketing, but they all share one thing in common: increasing awareness, traffic, and leads. This is all great news since statistics recently compiled on Hubspot show that companies overwhelmingly identify generating traffic and leads as their number one problem. To successfully utilize the strategy, it is important to hone in on which technique is a fit for your business needs.
Begin by clearly identifying your sales plan, goals, and intentions for growth. These indicators are probably already established in your marketing strategy. View them through a clearer lens to guide the process of choosing the best co-marketing technique by answering some specific questions about your purpose:
- Which avenue of your business are you trying to expand?
- What are your current strengths and how can you capitalize on them?
- Are there any weaknesses you would like to shore up?
The answers to these questions funnel into the different categories of cross marketing available. Knowing what you need and want will prevent the take-it-all overwhelming feeling of engaging in too many new strategies at once. Although each type of techniques is beneficial to a wide variety of businesses, introducing too many of them at once can cause issues. If multiple changes occur it is difficult to track the data and identify which has the most impact.
Putting in time to reflect on what is best for your company based on its current state and goals before engaging in the cost-efficient, highly effective strategy of cross marketing is valuable. The various techniques overlap in their purposes. Following is a breakdown of which goals each of them primarily aim to satisfy.
At the end of every sales funnel is an exchange of money for a product of service. Some cross marketing techniques are part of the process, whereas others target the sale directly. Co-marketing operations such as grocery stores offering fuel rewards for purchases are focused on the sale. Businesses looking for a strategy to impact sales more directly have a variety of options:
- Coupons can be offered after a sale in one business to promote a purchase for another nearby, non-competing business. This technique encourages consumers to make an additional purchase from a related brick and mortar establishment and generates sales for both.
- Web Coupons and Coupons to Store. Like coupons, this strategy entices consumers to shop more at another location. It is different though because it merges physical and digital consumption. With this technique, a purchase from an online store generates a coupon to a physical location near the buyer. The best approach requires geographic information and opens the door for numerous cross marketing relationships since online purchases can be done from anywhere.
- Sales Forces Selling Each Other’s Products. Cross marketing is a relationship between related businesses, not competing ones. So, it allows the sales team of one company to sell the products of the other. This works well because customers benefit from one-stop shopping and the more products can be bundled together, the better. This technique requires an agreement between the two companies and up-front planning. It’s important to decide how products or services will be priced and sold, as well as how to avoid the selling company from providing customer support for the supplying company.
Before sales can occur, promotion spreads awareness. Cross marketing sales techniques also enhance promotion, but there are some additional strategies better suited to getting information about a partner company out to consumers. For example, a South African Winery reached out to a London based restaurant and developed a working relationship that continuously generates visits to the winery and restaurant. Their cross marketing promotion includes pamphlets, information, and word of mouth delivered from the staff at both locations. Businesses interested in promotion as their primary focus have many options including:
- Exchange of Promotion. This technique works best when both partners are using the same distribution channel. They promote using the same method and get their advertisements, brand and sales out simultaneously. It saves on delivery for both.
- Cross Ads in Parcels. E-commerce businesses ship parcels to customers and can easily include a flyer or promotion from a potential partner. Partners from the same niche work together to promote each other. This can be combined with a sales focused approach such as including coupons. For this technique, it is important to decide who will be responsible for printing the cross ads and if it is feasible for shipping if there is a third party involved.
- Promote e-book and Share Leads. E-book delivery comes with customer information. These leads can be shared between the two companies. By cross marketing your e-book or that of another company, your business gains valuable leads. Additionally, it generates consumable content that draws traffic to your site.
- Cross Newsletter Opt-In. Like e-book promotion, adding an option for your consumers to opt-in to a partner’s newsletter generates more traffic to their site and more leads. This should be done on both sites so that the traffic goes both ways. Signing up for the newsletter skips the outreach portion of the funnel that lead sharing necessitates and directly connects leads with content.
- YouTube Product Promotion. Capitalize on popular YouTube channels by giving them products to promote. This generates awareness of your business and develops a win-win relationship. When done correctly it can lead to measurable video views and open rates or CTR. After the product is promoted on the channel any new subscribers should get an email, allowing tracking of how successful the promotion was at generating new subscribers to the channel. The existing channel subscribers will be exposed to the product when viewing the video. The channel can’t be split into before and after cross marketing, but the subscribers can be.
Becoming aware of a brand is more than just consuming a promotion, but solidifying an identity that generates loyal customers. Relatability generates sales. Take the marketing merger between Android and KitKat for example. Android technology has a pool of loyal customers that buy into its identity. Likewise, so does KitKat. By using logos and designs that promote their relationship, the brands can target each other’s audiences in a different way. Cross marketing for brand awareness opens relationships for established customer bases. Thus, there is an overlap between cross marketing techniques that focus on sales, promotion and brand awareness.
- Exchange of Visibility. The KitKat/Android example is an exchange of visibility. They are two partners who don’t use the same distribution channels, but have teamed up to make their customers aware of the support they have for each other. Visibility enhances brand identity by relating it to another established brand.
- Cross Blog Articles. Sharing articles and blogs between partners not only generates a deeper brand awareness, it also reduces work load. Creating quality content is time consuming yet essential to identifying your business as a source of quality information and generating traffic. Teaming up increases the content and decreases the workload.
- Team with a Non-Profit. A brand’s identity is what repeat customers buy into. By supporting non-profit organizations your brand is merged with their charity and purpose. This shows consumers your intent and furthers the relationship between all parties.
- The key to quality email campaigns is garnering reader attention. Reduce the amount of emails by teaming up with a partner and cross marketing together. This can be combined with promotion, bundling and coupons to enhance the consumer’s experience. It will develop your brand’s identity as one that is time and cost effective.
There are many strategies available. Cross marketing is based on thoughtful, intricate relationships. Once you’ve decided on which technique is best for your business it is important to focus on the next step, finding the right business to partner with. In addition to considering which strategy is best, it is suggested by The Guardian that it is also necessary to consider what values styles, attitudes and format of business will work well with yours.
Fortunately, these decisions are at the forefront of innovative marketing. Bridget, a B2B service, does the work for you. It is a service that acts as a “bridge” and connects partners specifically for cross marketing. It is like the perfect match dating algorithm for the business world. Register and let Bridget save you time and resources by connecting you with your next cross marketing partner.