It’s the old lesson you learn about in business from an early age. Synergy. Two heads are better than one, and whilst that may apply mainly to mergers and takeovers there is another area of business where this is definitely applicable. Marketing. More specifically, Cross-Promotional Marketing.
Cross-Promotional Marketing or CPM as I’m going to refer to it as for the rest of this blog, is the joint partnership between two companies where you utilise another company’s distribution and marketing channels. (Entrepreneur.com, 2016)
When deciding on who you are going to approach about a potential CPM partnership, two things are usually considered: Is this company good at reaching the audience you aren’t good at reaching and/or is this company going to adequately increase your marketing potential?
Traditionally, CPM is used with companies that targets the buyers of a related product with another company (like informing the customer that bought a pair of jeans of a shirt that would match it) (study.com, 2016) But recently we are seeing CPM with products from different companies competing in a different industry all together, think of the huge stadium deals that go on, like for example between a giant airline company like Fly Emirates and Arsenal Football Club. These partnerships don’t make much sense to the naked eye but they are hugely affective.
So if the two companies have products or services that are unrelated, why implement CPM?
Reach out to new but already established channels
This is undoubtedly the most important benefit that CPM has for some businesses. When a company isn’t performing too well with a certain demographic, i.e. students, It might be because they are unable to reach them, therefore using CPM enables them to go and communicate with this segment, without spending tons of money on things such as Facebook and other social media advertising routes. This is commonly done through social media posts, content marketing and email marketing to name only a few. (Entrepreneur.com, 2016)
Regarding the use of social media posts with cross-promotion, Entrepreneur.com state that it is a powerful online marketing tool that has been proven to influence consumer decision-making. Statistics have shown that 46 percent of consumers’ decision to patronise or purchase a product or service was influenced by a social media post.
Powerful but inexpensive
One of CPM’s main benefits is its cost-effectiveness. “Promotional activities can be more cost effective by using cross promotion, where a coupon or other incentive for one product is distributed or promoted by another product or service” (Soares, 1992) Some companies, however, are not interested in exposure on the other side and are happy to cross promote another company for a price.
According to the Aida Model, People become aware of products by seeing them pop up on blogs or social media, which may stimulate an interest that leads to them searching for the product themselves. Cross-Promotional Marketing is the most affective way at reaching that audience quickly and seemingly unforced.
If the Aida Model is anything to go by, cross promotion through blogs or social media may result in more traffic to a company’s website. This is where the job of CPM is basically done. It’s now up to the website to turn that traffic into purchases (depending on the businesses industry)
Whilst Cross-Promotion is an effective marketing tool, especially for small businesses. There are a number of potential issues that can caused unwanted.
Negative connotations associated with your brand
One minor problem with CPM is any negative connotations associated with your brand if the brand you are marketing with are embroiled in a scandal or social or political issue. However, potential issues regarding a company’s association with someone else can be sorted quite promptly. In 2010, Proctor & Gamble dropped Tiger Woods from promoting their Gillette razor and shaving products because of revelations of the golfer’s extramarital affairs (Guardian, 2010)
Another issue with CPM is the potential problem surrounding how a consumer is found. With CPM that is just based around mentioning another companies product or service you may not know what the source of their custom was and so the future allocation of marketing costs may go to areas that don’t need it and vice versa. (Knowledge.hubspot.com, 2017)
Of course, cross-promotion could go one step further, and become cross marketing. But this relies a lot on the industry of the companies, if only one or neither of the companies produce a physical product or service then it is hard to cross-market it.
In closing, the effectiveness of CPM depends partly on the size and industry of a business. Whilst larger companies do not need to dilute their brand with cross-marketing they are more than willing a lot of the time to cross-promote another business in return for capital. Smaller businesses, however, get a great deal out of CPM. The increased economies of scale that synergy in marketing brings and introducing new markets and marketing channels offers smaller companies an inexpensive but incredibly powerful opportunity.
Knowledge.hubspot.com. (2017). How to use Sources report to measure your marketing campaigns. [online] Available at: https://knowledge.hubspot.com/sources-user-guide-v2/how-to-use-sources-report-to-measure-your-marketing-campaigns [Accessed Feb. 2017].
Robinson, J. (2017). Tiger Woods dropped by Gillette. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/dec/24/tiger-woods-dropped-by-gillette [Accessed Feb, 2017].
Smart Insights. (2017). The AIDA Model – Smart Insights Digital Marketing Advice. [online] Available at: http://www.smartinsights.com/traffic-building-strategy/offer-and-message-development/aida-model/ [Accessed Feb. 2017].
Soares, E. (1992). Promotional feats: the role of planned events in the marketing communications mix. Choice Reviews Online, 29(08), pp.29-4600-29-4600.
Tarcomnicu, F. and more, R. (2017). 5 Smart Ways to Integrate Cross-Promotion With Online Marketing. [online] Entrepreneur. Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/280211 [Accessed Feb, 2017].