It’s often said that many hands make light work. This sentiment holds just as true in marketing.
Many businesses think about their marketing as something they must do alone. But many neglect the opportunity for partnerships and cross-promotion with other likeminded or complementary organisations.
A client of mine that offers boutique accommodation has partnered with a local surf school to provide a package deal combining a room for the night and surf lessons.
Both parties are promoting the deal to their respective networks, increasing awareness and sales of both of their offerings, to audiences that wouldn’t otherwise know about them.
This kind of cross-promotion is an effective and often low-cost tactic that can be applied in almost any industry.
A florist might partner with a chocolatier to provide discounts on their respective products, sending new customers to each other’s stores.
Or a nutritional supplements supplier might partner with a local gym to offer discounted prices on their products for gym members.
The gym could reciprocate by offering a discount on membership rates for people who buy the supplements.
Working together can also include sharing costs. Complementary businesses might share the costs of a booth at a trade show, or the cost of an advertising spread in a magazine read by potential customers of both businesses.
This approach can save both parties money, allowing them to attend a greater number of trade shows or place advertising more frequently in a broader range of media.
Of course, deciding who to work with for cross-promotion of your products or services requires some thought. It’s important you share common goals, and that you can work well with the other party.
Working with the wrong people can drain your time, reduce the control you have over your promotions, and lead to spending on advertising that isn’t helping you achieve your marketing goals.
Your products or services also need to complement each other and there should ideally be alignment between your brands and what your companies stand for.
A partnership between a doctors’ clinic and a tobacco company might benefit the tobacco company if it’s seen as tacit endorsement for cigarettes by the medical fraternity.
But it’s unlikely to be well-received by patients at the doctors’ clinic.
This is the kind of partnership that is highly likely to make the news for the wrong reasons.
And of course always take into account whether any potential partner’s products or services are in direct competition with your own.
You don’t want to introduce your customers to an alternative they didn’t know existed.
There may be some instances where working with the competition makes sense for the good of the industry or your local area – such as cross-promotion of a food festival – but always weigh up the pros and cons.
If you are conscious of these risks and give careful thought to who you partner with, cross-promotion can be a powerful tool.
By combining your marketing networks, channels and resources, you can reach new audiences and drive impressive growth in your business.