We are in unprecedented times in the world where fear and uncertainty have taken center stage. Every day, the news reminds us of the many businesses that are failing, as COVID-19 continues to unleash its fury across the globe. What we hear less often about, however, are the many businesses that are rising to the challenge and rethinking the way they go to market in response to this sudden and unexpected economic crisis. Thankfully, these businesses are out there—and they set a positive example for all of us.
While marketing during a crisis can feel futile, I challenge you to shift your perspective. What if instead of viewing this crisis through the lens of calamity and destruction, you view it through the lens of opportunity? The fact is, you can stay top-of-mind with your customers, and even reach new audiences, amid a looming recession. You just have to think outside the box and embrace new and more creative marketing strategies.
Enter: cross marketing.
What is cross marketing?
Cross marketing is a highly collaborative marketing strategy whereby a business teams up with one or more complementary businesses that share the same target audience to pool marketing resources and brainpower. For example, a marketing agency, a financial services firm and a law practice—all of whom target local small to medium size businesses—might come together to share contact lists, collaborate on content or bundle offerings.
These uncertain times present an excellent opportunity to pursue cross marketing. Chances are, your customers and prospects are struggling to make sense of all that’s going on in the world. Why not give them access to an entire team of thought leaders who can address a more multi-faceted range of topics and concerns?
Also known as cross promotion, this collaborative marketing strategy is an ideal way for companies to help each other to market and reach exponentially larger audiences-–all while offering more value to customers.
Why is cross promotion important?
Cross promotion, though considered to be one of the most beneficial marketing strategies out there, is widely underleveraged. However, when peer businesses take the leap, form an alliance and engage in meaningful collaboration, they almost immediately begin to notice payoffs. Some of the more measurable and profound benefits of cross marketing include:
- Broader audience reach: With access to each other’s customer base, each partner within the alliance can get in front of more potential customers. Let’s say you have an email list of 10K, and you form a cross marketing alliance with five other businesses that also have email lists with approximately 10K of their own contacts. Each partner now has access to 50K additional prospects—in the blink of an eye.
- More robust thought leadership: Quantity is good, but only when paired with relevant and engaging content. By cross marketing with other like-minded business leaders who have the same target audience as you, you can create and offer a robust “package” of content that speaks to a wide variety of your audience’s pain points. When you offer more meaningful and well-rounded value to your audience, you boost your own thought leadership status in the process.
- A warm introduction: When you are introduced to another brand’s customer base, you’re, in essence, being given a warm introduction by a brand that’s already built trust with those new-to-you contacts.
- Lower marketing costs: Because cross promotion generally includes cost-sharing of marketing efforts, it is an extremely affordable way to gain traction with a significantly lower financial investment.
- A boost in brand equity: When you partner with other well-known, reputable brands, you absorb some of their reputation in the process.
Cross marketing strategies
Cross marketing holds infinite potential. Together, you and your cross marketing business partners can explore a variety of innovative ways to reach and communicate to your intended audiences.
Not sure where to start? Here are some cross marketing ideas to get the creative juices flowing:
- Co-host a webinar
- Co-produce a podcast
- Bundle offerings
- Create a referral program
- Launch a co-sponsored contest
- Guest post on each other’s blogs
- Send joint promotional emails, direct mail or newsletters
- Create a shared website
- Offer reciprocal discounts
These cross promotion examples are just that—examples. They only scratch the surface of where you can take your cross marketing efforts. When you come together to brainstorm tactics, you’ll likely find that each idea will breed new, even more creative ideas. The sky is the limit when it comes to formulating your cross marketing strategies.
Yes, we are in the throes of an economic downturn. For many businesses, however, times of crisis serve as a catalyst for innovation. After all, it’s how we respond to times of challenge that defines our resiliency and success. Now is not the time to get complacent and wait it out until it all blows over—or worse, throw in the towel and give up entirely. Now is the time to take action, rethink your marketing strategy and maybe even partner with other businesses in the pursuit of mutually beneficial business outcomes.
Are you ready to learn how your business can integrate cross marketing into your new marketing plan? Contact Paradigm Marketing and Design today for help taking the first step.