December 16, 2009 – In this economy, it’s important to get the most out of every marketing dollar and promotion. One fantastic and cost effective way to open up your marketing base is to enter a co-promotion with another company. Before you enter into any cross promotion deal however, it’s important for you to have a game plan and do a little homework.
Why Cross Promote?
Cross promotions occur when two companies work together, offering value and incentives to customers of both brands in order to widen their marketing reach. Company A tells their customers about special deals just for them at Company B, and Company B does the same for Company A. Cross promotions are great because they are practically free (minus whatever costs the promotional materials are) and can get you a lot of new customers if you do it right.
Things to Consider Before you Team Up
In order to create a really effective cross promotion with another company, you need to first consider the company you are going to team up with and the logistics of the promotion itself.
- Are they a related, yet non-competing brand with your own? Clearly you don’t want to promote a company that sells the same products or services that you do, that defeats the point, but the company should have a customer base similar enough to your own that their customers would find value in your brand. A home appliance store could have a great partnership with an interior design firm or furniture store, but probably would not find success cross promoting with an ice cream parlor.
- Does this company have a good reputation? When you enter a promotion with another company, you are telling your valued customers that you approve of and endorse that company and their service. You need to make sure that company offers real value and has excellent customer service to avoid that endorsement ruining your brand reputation. Don’t guess, do your research (go online, read reviews, check social media) and know what kind of company you are working with BEFORE you start promoting them.
- Create a valuable offer – This part definitely takes some thought. You want to provide an exclusive value to new customers that are being sent over from the other company that is also cost effective from your end. This will naturally vary depending on the kind of business you are in, but offering $5 off a $100 service is not a valuable incentive. Take advantage of this opportunity and provide an incentive that makes the promotion worthwhile.
- How are you going to promote the other company – This should go without saying, but part of the deal is that you need to inform your customers that you are working with another organization and that they should go there to receive X incentive. Will your sales associates tell them at check out or just hand them a flyer? Will you be sending out an email to your list or creating an ad? You need to make this experience cost effective but you also need to figure out exactly how you intend to honor this promotion and send your customers over to the other company.
- Track, Analyze, and Organize – It’s impossible to know how effective your cross promotion is unless you are keeping track of how many people are taking advantage of the offer. Whether you are relying on coupons, flyers, online tracking codes, or just writing down how many people mention that X company sent them (not recommended, you should really have something more reliable in place), you need to account for each new customer this promotion brings in. Perhaps the other company isn’t holding up their end of the bargain, perhaps your incentive isn’t very appealing, or you need to adjust your budgets for more or less advertising. Whatever the outcome, you need to have that information in order to gauge your successes and make adjustments if necessary.
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