Looking for a low-cost way for your small
business to stretch its already thin marketing dollars?
Then consider using cross promotions to maximize your market reach, say experts. It can be a powerful way to reach your target market without expending all of your resources.
It can really lower your advertising and lead-generation expenses, says John Jantsch, president of Duct Tape marketing, a marketing and digital technology chacing firm in Kansas City, Mo. In many ways, it’s an endorsement.
A cross promotion generally involves two or more companies teaming up to derive some sort of shared benefit, which in most cases would be the marketing of each other’s goods or services to their respective target markets.
It’s saying to someone, I will do "A" for you if you will do "B" for me," explains JackMandel, a marketing consultant and professor of marketing at Nassau Community College in Garden City.
It could be anything from printing joint promotional messages on each other’s bills to offering a reduced price, special service or convenience if customers buy services or products from you and your partner, explains Kare Anderson, chief executive of the Say It Better Center LIc, a communications strategies firm in Sausalito, Calif.
Or it could be someone promoting your goods or services to their customers, while they receive some other benefit, explains Mandel.
For instance, XSport Fitness in Garden City will team up with doctors’ offices, where a physician will put XSport’s lead boxes-designed to generate leads by allowing people to leave their business cards-in his or her office in exchange for being able to use the fitness facility for free for a specified time, explains XSport operations manager Chris Hoffman. Patients visiting the doctor’s office can submit their contact information in the lead box for a chance to win a free week or month of membership at the gym.
There are lots of ways you can configure these cross promotions if you think creatively, says Mandel.
If the plan directly involves cross promoting each other’s goods or services, it’s best to structure it so the customer sees some sort of perceived value, says Mitch Tobol of the Tobol Group Inc., a Port Washington-based advertising, marketing and public relations firm.
You want to interact with the customers, you don’t want to be passive, he says, noting you need to provide some sort of call to action.
For example, if a florist and liquor store were teaming up on a cross promotion for Valentine’s Day, they might each have a coupon in the other’s store that directs the customer to the other vendor.
Don't go into a cross promotion without clearly defining what each party is wiling to do to make the cross promotion successful, he advises.
Both sides need to be committed to it, says Tobol.
They also need to be pursuing similar target markets, says Jantsch.
For instance, The Inn & Spa at East Wind in Wading River will cross promote with nearby North Fork attractions like Tanger Outlet Center, Atlantis Marine World and Martha Clara Vineyards.
"Choose a company that will complement your business," advises East Wind’s operations director, Diance Figari. Choose a partner with the same demographics you are seeking.
And then think of ways to work together.
Pool mainline lists and send out a Joint promotional postcard, suggests Anderson, who offers more ideas at say it better.com/articles/sib_cust_attr_promo.php. Or perhaps, give your partner’s product to your customers when they buy a large quantity of your product, and ask your partner to do the same, she says.
You'd be surprised what you can come up with if you just put your heads together.
How to Do It Right
For cross promotions to work: Be clear on what you want to create for yourself. Discover the "What’s In It For Me" for your promotion partners.
Develop a plan for
who does what.
Explain to the promotion partners the value they’ll receive.
Develop a method to measure results.
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