7 Reasons Why Cross Promotion OutPerforms Online Marketing

You’re about to launch your new digital marketing campaign. You’ve researched the right keywords, set the right targeting criteria, designed the right creatives and you’re ready to watch your website visitors roll in.

You go live, but then… same old traction.

Digital marketing can only get you as far. Online marketing costs are ever-increasing and you’re likely to hit the same customer segments over and over again.

Did you know that cross promotion campaigns can generate astronomically higher ROIs while reaching out to fresh customer segments?

Did you know that many companies (both large and small) have setup brand alliance (or partnership) teams just for cross promotion?

Here’s why cross promotion is now more powerful and popular than ever:

Reason #1: Free Marketing Is Better Than Paid

Most cross promotion campaigns don’t even cost a single penny, they’re absolutely free! And the ones that do require investment, still generate much higher ROIs than paid marketing.

A large part of why cross promotion campaigns outshine digital marketing ones is because of the ever increasing costs of digital ads.

Google search costs have risen over 113% over the last year! Facebook ads are 92% more expensive!

Rising Digital Advertising Costs
Digital Advertising Costs Have Skyrocketed
Source: Adstage Benchmark Reports

With many companies increasing their digital marketing budgets, digital ads are much more expensive than they were a couple years ago. This is why your digital marketing ROIs are nowhere comparable to what they were 5 years ago.

Cross promotion campaigns can undoubtedly generate amazing ROIs for you because they’re either free or incredibly low cost!

Content marketing is free as well but it takes time to yield results. 6-12 months at the very least. But with cross promotion, you can see results within a matter of weeks or days.

Reason #2: Cross Promotions Are More Engaging for Customers

Have you ever done a Google search and just naturally scrolled over or skipped the paid search results? I do that all the time!

How about Facebook ads or sponsored posts, ever noticed them?

Over the years, the human eye has been trained to skip these pesky little ads that hijack your feeds or search results. There’s simply no reason to pay attention to paid messages like these when you have the opportunity to instead look at Google’s organic search results and reviews. No wonder the click-through-rates are low.

Compare that with the recent Amazon-SiriusXM cross promotion. SiriusXM offered free Amazon Echo Dot speakers to those who sign-up for new subscriptions through the Sirius website. In turn, Amazon offered a free 3 month trial of SiriusXM when customers buy an Echo Dot speaker.

Amazon sells about 21.5 million Echo devices in a year and currently, Sirius is installed in over 110 million vehicles. So the traction gained with little marketing cost for both brands is incredible!

Reason #3: Cross Promotions Build Customer Loyalty

Even when you’re actually promoting your brand partner, your customers may benefit through those promotions. That builds loyalty!

For instance, in the Amazon-SiriusXM cross promotion example above, when Amazon was promoting SiriusXM, Amazon customers benefited through the offer, which meant more happy and loyal customers for Amazon!

So much so, that some companies promote others without actually asking for any promotion from those brands.

Let’s look at Tata Sky, one of India’s largest satellite TV provider. When customers recharge their account, Tata Sky gives them free offers from other brands (in effect, promoting other brands). It doesn’t ask for anything from the brands it promotes. Why? Because the customers are delighted to receive those offers and it increases their ❤️ for the brand!

Reason #4: Limitless Channels!

With online marketing, there are limited channels that you can advertise on. Cross promotion knows no such limits!

Here’s an example of Digibank (DBS) promoting OlaCabs through push notifications. Push notifications are probably the most engaging communication modes (high read rates) to reach out to customers. But, there’s no ad network that allows you to run push notification ads.

Besides push notifications, there are many other such channels that aren’t available on paid advertising. Think cross promotion through physical vouchers, co-branded products, digital properties on brands who don’t advertise (e.g. ATM screens, web/mobile banners), etc. The list goes on…

Reason #5: Cross Promotions Unlock Fresh Customer Segments

Have you ever wondered whether you’re reaching out to the same customer segments over and over again through digital advertising?

With the same advertising modes and channels, it’s very likely that you’re missing out on certain customer segments or re-advertising to the same segments.

Cross promotion helps unlock fresh segments all the time. If you pick the right brand partner to cross-promote, you can unlock fresh customer segments that may be super valuable to your brand!

When Google launched Android 4.4, they codenamed it Kitkat and partnered with the Hershey Company to launch a very large cross promotion campaign.

Kitkat made 50 million chocolate bars in the shape of the Android mascot. In turn, Google offered the chance to win a free Nexus mobile device on purchasing Kitkat chocolates.

This partnership helped Kitkat gain new customers in China where Android was immensely popular but Kitkat had a mere ~1.3% market share. Google gained branding of the 50 million bars that were sold in 19 countries. Yet absolutely no money exchanged hands!

Reason #6: Cross Promotions Can Create New Revenue Streams

Sometimes cross promotions can even create new revenue streams for both companies.

Consider Nike’s cross promotion with Apple. Nike+iPod created fitness trackers and sneakers that tracked activity while connecting people to their tunes.

Tracking transmitters were built into the Nike shoes and arm-bands, and allowed connectivity with iPhone apps to track and record workout data.

Nike developed an entirely new product that created new revenue streams, through the cross promotion partnership!

Reason #7: Brand Equity & Brand Positioning

Cross promotion is a great opportunity to reiterate your brand positioning for customers and increase brand equity.

Consider GoPro’s cross promotion partnership with Red Bull. GoPro manufactures action cameras and Red Bull makes energy drinks. Both the brands’ positioning is around adventure sports and adrenaline.

Their global cross promotion partnership allowed GoPro access to over 1800 Red Bull events across 100 countries. This created a great opportunity for both brands to elevate brand equity and position themselves around adrenaline packed action sports.

If you’re looking to do the same for your brand, choosing a brand partner that has the same brand positioning (yet is non-competing) is critical.


Cross promotion is sexy!

Owing to the skyrocketing costs of digital marketing and great ROIs of cross promotion, companies (both large and small) have setup teams for cross promotion and brand partnerships.

Internet users have been trained to skip ads or sponsored content but cross promotions can be highly engaging for customers.

It also helps in building loyalty. Customers are glad when they’re gratified with a gift or offer from where they buy stuff.

With cross promotions, you can explore a lot of channels that aren’t open to advertising. Think push notifications, ATM screens, physical vouchers and others.

Brand alliances can unlock fresh customer segments. Google’s partnership with Kitkat helped Kitkat gain new customers in China while Google got brand visibility in 19 countries.

Cross promotion partnerships can also result in co-branded products that create new revenue streams. Nike’s partnership with Apple is a great example.

Finally, cross promotion can increase your brand equity and reiterate brand positioning. Red Bull and GoPro’s partnership helped both brands to position themselves around adventure sports and adrenaline.

What do you think about cross promotion? Do you cross promote?

Paras is the founder and CEO of Madneto, the world's first cross promotion platform. He's been advising brands for over 5 years on marketing campaigns, specifically around cross promotion and brand partnerships.