Cross Promotions - a
cost-effective way to spread the word
Written by Shirley Lichti for The Record,
February 11, 1998
One way to make your advertising and promotion
budget stretch a little farther this year is to consider doing cross
promotions. Simple and effective, cross promotions involve two or
more groups acting together to reach potential customers.
Start by brainstorming what other types
of products or services your customers need. Then think about other
organizations with shared values and target markets you could team
Some businesses naturally complement each
other. The Second Cup on University Avenue West in Waterloo also
has coffee stands on campus at Wilfrid Laurier University. Located
in the Frank Peters Building and the new Science Building, these
stands offer a range of hot and cold beverages plus muffins, cookies
To get a share of the lunch market Second
Cup needed to offer more substantial fare. So franchise owner Liz
Berger approached Hend Lawendy, the owner of Almadina, an Egyptian
restaurant in the same plaza as the coffee shop. Almadina now supplies
Second Cup with vegetarian and meat sandwiches and pitas, as well
as salads. While it doesn’t generate a lot of profit for Second
Cup, the cross promotion allows them to attract people who might
otherwise have gone elsewhere. And, most of those who buy sandwiches
also buy drinks. For Almadina, it means exposure to a market it
would not normally reach. Flyers with information on Almadina are
available for students to pick up at the Second Cup stands at WLU.
Cross promotions help create a more valuable
offer for your target market. Customers of Twice is Nice, a used
clothing store in downtown Waterloo, know that any garments they
bring in to sell on consignment must be clean. So owner, Deborah
Joseph has done cross promotions with a number of local dry cleaners
who have provided $5 and $10 coupons for Deborah’s customers. The
dry cleaners picked up additional business and reciprocated by handing
out flyers about Twice is Nice to their customers. Both companies
offer added value and generate awareness in places where competition
is not as intense.
Cross promotions also let you hit your target
market directly. The Peter Chandler team at financial planning company
C.M. Oliver and local lawyer Craig Pinchen of Sloane and Pinchen
have presented free retirement and estate planning seminars together.
The focus was on long range personal planning aimed at maximizing
assets and the tax perspective of ensuring the most effective transfer
of wealth to heirs.
The seminars allowed attendees, primarily
seniors and prospective clients, to learn about a very important
topic in a friendly environment. They were also able to get a feel
for both companies presenting the seminars. Both the Chandler team
and Craig Pinchen got exposure to each other’s prospects and picked
up new clients as a result.
Princess Cinema owner John Tutt has done
a number of cross promotions over the years. Recently the Waterloo
theatre brought in the movie "Shall we Dance?" a Japanese film about
a man who signs up for ballroom dancing lessons. Tutt approached
Horst Kessler of the Starlight Social Club which offers ballroom
dancing lessons, and together they came up with a plan. Tutt provided
Kessler with posters promoting the film. A group from the club organized
a dinner and movie night, buying a block of tickets at a discount.
Kessler printed up promotional postcards with information on the
club. These were featured prominently at the Princess ticket booth.
The cross promotion allowed both Tutt and Kessler to reach more
customers with less time, effort and money than might otherwise
have been required.
One of Tutt’s most successful and long-standing
cross promotions is the co-presentation of the Banff Mountain Film
Festival. It began at the Princess, but when a larger venue and
more sponsorship were needed, Tutt approached Shane Baker at Adventure
Guide, which sells a complete line of outdoor equipment and clothing.
For a number of years the film festival ran at the former Seagram
Museum and has recently moved to the Humanities Theatre at University
of Waterloo. This cross promotion allows the Princess to get exposure
with Adventure Guide customers. "People who are active also go to
movies," Tutt reasons. Since the bulk of the tickets are sold at
Adventure Guide, it brings people into the Waterloo store who might
not otherwise have visited. While they are there, many shop around
and buy other items. The Princess promotes the film festival in
its regular film calendar and Adventure Guide includes information
about it in a fall newsletter. Baker says he likes the cross promotion
because "We don’t have to do all the work and we share the risks
Joint efforts also give owners a chance
to create memorable and unique promotions that may be more effective
than traditional advertising. The Princess plans a three-way cross
promotion in March with Adventure Guide and Words Worth Books of
Waterloo featuring U.S. writer and filmmaker Robert Perkins, author
of "Talking with Angels." Perkins will present his film "Into the
Great Solitude." Words Worth Books will make copies of the book
available for sale and will promote with in-store posters. "The
advantage of a cross promotion is the synergy that develops by tapping
each other’s customers. We can reach more people than if we were
doing the standard author in the store kind of promotion.”
Cross Promotion Tips
- Pick a target market that you currently
do not reach or would like to serve better.
- Brainstorm to come up with other organizations
that reach the same target market as you. Be sure they have common
interests and values with your company.
- Figure out “what’s in it for them” before
you approach the organization. Remember, you will need to find
some area of mutual benefit if you hope to enlist their help.
- Be very specific about what you want the
other party to bring to the cross promotion, for example, time,
money, printing, employee participation. You may want to consider
drafting a simple agreement so there are no misunderstandings.