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Cross-Promotion: Definition, Ideas & Examples

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  • 0:01 What Is a Cross-Promotion?
  • 1:14 Examples of Cross-Promotion
  • 3:22 Tips for Successful…
  • 4:37 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Carol Woods

Carol has taught college Finance, Accounting, Management and Business courses and has a MBA in Finance.

What is a cross-promotion, and how might you use one? In this lesson, we'll discuss what they are, how they work, and different ways to create them to increase sales.

What Is a Cross-Promotion?

A cross-promotion is a marketing program that targets buyers of a product with an offer to purchase a related product. For example, a buyer purchasing a shirt may be shown a picture of a pair of pants that coordinate with the shirt, or a buyer of a computer program may receive an email offering a reduced price on a guide to using that program.

A cross-promotion is happening any time a customer is offered a product or service because he purchased a different product or service. It can take many forms, including joint marketing arrangements, shared production of events or newsletters, referral arrangements, discounted product offers, or suggestions during the buying process.

As an example, a look at a large airline website shows that customers may earn mileage points toward free flights by purchasing air travel or through many other actions, including:

  • Using their credit card for purchases
  • Renting a car or staying at a hotel that is a partner to the airline
  • Buying flowers and using a specific promotional code
  • Signing up for satellite TV through a website link
  • Buying insurance through their partner insurance company

Examples of Cross-Promotion

Cross-promotions come in many different forms. Some examples are:

  • Related offers: A company can target buyers either during or after the purchasing process with suggestions on related products.
  • Joint newsletter: A newsletter can be a fair amount of work, so companies may group together to produce one that is of interest to all of their customers. It reduces the workload, since each company must produce only a portion of the newsletter, and also gives companies the chance to present their information to new prospective customers, since the newsletter will be sent to the customers of all companies participating.
  • Joint advertisements: Advertisements can be expensive and are sometimes out of reach of companies. In a joint advertisement, the companies involved share the cost of the ad and the ad is designed to highlight all of their companies, either through a combined ad referring to multiple products or by splitting up the ad space into sub-ads that each company can then fill.
  • Joint contest: Companies may jointly sponsor a contest or sweepstakes. The notification goes out to all of each company's customers and social media fans, so all the participants' information is exposed to all of their partner's contacts as well as their own. The cost of the promotion can be reduced or the prize enhanced, since the participating companies will share the costs.
  • Co-produce an event: Producing a seminar or webinar can be a time-consuming and expensive event. Companies may team up to produce events, where each company produces a section of the event.
  • Frequent buyer cards: Companies may produce frequent buyer card programs, where a purchaser at one company is given a card that provides specials or discounts at that place of business or at other companies.
  • Exchanged display or ad space: Companies may exchange display or ad space, where each company has the opportunity to set up a product display or post ads or brochures at the other company's place of business.

Tips for Successful Cross-Promotions

So now that we know different cross-promotional ideas, how can we ensure they are successful?

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