Cross marketing is a concept that has been around for many years and has been successfully used by brands of all shapes and sizes to promote their products and services. If done correctly, this is a great tool for business owners to increase the reach of their products and services, sometimes at a reduced cost compared to traditional marketing efforts.
What is cross marketing and how can it benefit your brand? Cross marketing is when two or more companies join forces in their marketing efforts by marketing their products or services in conjunction with each other on a particular marketing campaign or promotion. These are usually companies with complementary or affiliate services that can mutually benefit from their respective audiences’ exposure.
This can be a powerful tool to help grow your business and something you should be aware of. There is much more to cross marketing and how you can use it to advance your brand and reach new audiences or markets, so let’s examine this in more detail and look at are some examples of cross marketing along with a few ways of how it can benefit your business.
Types of cross marketing
Cross marketing can be any type of promotional activity where 2 brands are involved, both adding something to the campaign, and where both company’s customers can benefit from the offerings of both brands.
Buy a toothbrush from one brand and get toothpaste from another brand for free or at a reduced price, or vice versa. This is a very simple example but illustrates the basic point of cross marketing very effectively. We will get to some more examples later in the article.
Here are some examples of different types of cross marketing:
- Joint Advertising. Two brands advertising their products together. McDonalds and Coca Cola for example.
- Sponsorships. Sponsorships are a very popular form of cross marketing. Sport shoe and clothing companies sponsoring athletes, beer companies sponsoring sporting events, airlines sponsoring sports teams, or small companies sponsoring locals events in their towns or cities, etc.
- Joint Contests. Two or more brands can hold a joint competition with a prize or prizes comprised of products or services from all the brands involved in the campaign.
- Guest Posting For Bloggers. Having someone write a post on your company’s blog or you writing a post on another company’s blog.
- CSR Projects.
- Product Incorporations. Think of complementary products from different brands. A mobile phone from one brand paired with headphones from another, a car company selling a car with another brand’s sound system incorporated, for example, BMW & Bose, etc.
- Influencer Marketing. Influencers recommending products from brands to their audience.
Pros of cross marketing
- Strengthen your brand. Partnering up and being associated with the right company can help to strengthen your brand and give you more credibility in the marketplace
- Shared costs. Cross marketing means that you can share the costs of the campaign, which can be beneficial for all the parties involved in the promotion
- Build relationships. Partnering up with other companies means that you are essentially building up relationships with them which can benefit your brand
- Increase sales. Having exposure to a new audience can increase the sales of your products or services
Cons of cross marketing
- Hard to find. Companies that fit the right criteria for your cross-marketing needs might be hard to find, especially if you’re looking at doing it locally or within a unique niche
- Wrong marketing. It might turn out that cross marketing is not the right marketing technique that your brand needs to grow and it could end up hurting our brand instead
- Wrong partner. You could end up with the wrong partner and that it turns out not at all how you expect it would. Be sure to do your homework thoroughly to avoid this point
- One-sided benefit. It might be that the campaign only ends up benefitting the company you decide to partner with and that you reap no rewards from the efforts
Examples of cross marketing
A great example of cross marketing is the McDonalds Happy Meal whereby they team up with other companies for the toys that go into the happy meals. The cross marketing deal between Disney and McDonald’s 1996 to 2006 was reportedly worth $1 billion to Disney. Kids love Disney and they love McDonald’s and this kind of partnership is a great example of how brands can leverage off of their customers and cross promote their products.
One of the most extreme examples of cross marketing, although it would seem unintentional, is on Monster Energy Drink’s page that is dedicated to NASCAR highlights. As can be seen in the photo below, there’s promotion for Ford, Toyota, Monster, NASCAR, M&M’s and probably a few more hiding in the bushes.
Sponsorships are also great examples of cross marketing when sports stars team up with clothing or shoe companies through endorsements. These collaborations can give a tremendous boost to both the athletes’ personal brand and the companies endorsing them.
The list of examples could go on and on for a long time, but let’s have a look at how you use cross marketing to benefit your brand.
Getting started with cross marketing
Here are some tips for getting started with cross marketing:
- Contest. Organize a competition where you offer products or services from your partners as prizes
- Loyalty card. Join forces with your partners to create a loyalty card where customers can enjoy discounts or free gifts in cross-promotion from partner brands when they buy certain products or reach a certain amount of points
- Shared space. Rent a space from a partner with a complimentary service where you can offer, sell or advertise your products or services. Starbucks often leases space in supermarkets for example
- Offer discounts. Offer discounts to partner products or services on your invoices when customers purchase from you and vice versa
- Events. Organize and co-host events with partner brands
What to look for when choosing a cross marketing partner?
Here are a few things to consider when you’re looking for and ultimately choose a cross marketing partner:
- Competition. Although there might be situations in which it might be beneficial to do cross marketing with a partner that is considered one of your competitors, in almost all cases, it is better to choose a partner that is not in direct, or even indirect, competition with your company.
- Services. It is important that you choose a partner with complementary services to yours. This will make your campaigns so much more effective and increase the likelihood that you will gain new customers from the campaigns.
- Relevancy. Make sure that the partner you choose is a brand that will be relevant and connect, to a certain extent at least, to your audience. Ideally, your partner would have similar a similar demographic, psychographic, and archetypical target audience as your brand and your target audience.
- Reputation. Make sure that your partner has a good report and reputation in the market place. The last thing that you want for your brand when launching a cross marketing campaign is to be associated with your partner brand’s bad reputation as it will hurt your campaign and make it much less effective.
Just like every other marketing channel, there are pros and cons to any kind of promotion you use and cross marketing is no different. But if done correctly and with the right partners, cross marketing is a great way to broadening the visibility of your brand. It can also just be a great way to build trust and add value to your current customers and clients.