The Beginner’s Guide to Cross Promotion

Brands cross promoting each other

What Is Cross Promotion?

Cross promotion has many names: co-marketing, partnership marketing, brand alliances and reciprocal marketing, are all synonyms of cross promotion and mean the same thing.

Cross promotion is a partnership between two companies or brands, where both brands promote the campaign and share the benefits.

It’s a growth hack that allows companies (both big and small) to acquire new customers with a shoestring marketing budget!

Why Cross Promote?

There are many reasons why you should cross promote, some of which are summarized below:

  1. Cross promotion campaigns yield much better ROIs than online marketing owing to a) rising digital marketing costs over the years and b) their incredibly low cost (sometimes no cost).
  2. Cross promotions are much more engaging than advertisements.
  3. Using cross promotions, you can build customer loyalty by gratifying them with an offer of your partner brand.
  4. Unlike other forms of marketing, there are no limits to which channels you can use for cross promotion – push notifications, ATM screens, physical vouchers, co-branded products, and more!
  5. If you choose your brand partner carefully, you can acquire your ideal customers through cross promotion.
  6. Brand alliances can create entirely new revenue streams through co-branded products.
  7. Cross promotions are a great opportunity to reiterate your brand positioning and increase brand equity.

Cross Promotion Types & Use Cases

There are many forms of cross promotion. So much so, that we can’t possibly list them all!

Here are some of the popular types / use-cases of cross promotion out there:

Type #1: Offer Based Cross Promotion

In this use case, two or more brands cross-promote each other’s offers. This is a great way to build customer loyalty (by gratifying them with an offer) while at the same time generating traffic from the other brand – an amazing win-win situation.

Take, for instance, Ixigo and Pharmeasy. Ixigo is one of India’s leading travel website and Pharmeasy is a large online pharmacy in India.

Ixigo promoted Pharmeasy’s exclusive offer on its homepage, transactional email and mobile app, while Pharmeasy promoted Ixigo’s exclusive offer on its web offer page, mobile app, push notifications and social media.

Ixigo's mobile app promoting Pharmeasy's exclusive offer
Ixigo’s app promoting Pharmeasy
Landing page of Pharmeasy's offer on Ixigo's website
Offer landing page on Ixigo’s website

Both brands promoted each other’s offers using Madneto and had call-to-actions that took customers to an offer landing page with the offer details.

You can even redirect directly to your brand partner’s offer page if you don’t want to build a landing page.

For online brands, this is probably the most common type of cross promotion because:

  1. It’s super simple to setup – just generate a coupon code and build an offer landing page (or not).
  2. There’s zero marketing cost (except for the cost of communication to customers)!
  3. It’s a win-win situation – gratify your customers with delightful offers and generate traffic from your brand partner’s digital properties.
  4. Both brands can not only acquire new customers but also reward their loyal customer base.

Type #2: Contest Based Cross Promotion

This particular use case works well if one of the brands can offer sponsoring a membership or product for free for lucky draw contest winners.

For instance, Thomas Cook sponsored a free trip to Singapore for a few lucky customers of Pharmeasy.

Thomas Cook's landing page for cross promotion with Pharmeasy
Thomas Cook’s landing page for Pharmeasy contestants

The sponsoring brand needs to build a landing page on its website to collect the contact details of the contestants.

The promoting brand would then promote the lucky draw contest to its customer base. Its customers are happy to get a chance to win a prize and the sponsoring brand gets some good leads for future e-mail or SMS campaigns.

Some key points to consider:

  1. The sponsoring brand needs to allocate some budget for rewarding the contest winners. However, it does not need to promote anything on its digital properties.
  2. There’s absolutely no marketing costs (except for the cost of communication to customers) for promoting brands.
  3. The prize needs to be of considerable value to excite the customers.

Type #3: Brand Awareness Cross Promotion

Cross promotion can be an incredible way to create awareness for your brand.

A great example is the cross promotion between Uber and Spotify. Uber allowed riders to choose their own playlist that’ll stream as they ride to their destination.

Uber's cross-promotion with Spotify

Users could link their Spotify and Uber accounts, choose their playlists and enjoy their ride while listening to their favourite tunes.

This brought Spotify to the attention of Uber users and Uber users were delighted with the ability to listen to their playlist during their ride.

Some key points to consider:

  1. Brand awareness campaigns can vary from a simple promotion displayed on digital properties to a complex integration between both brands’ products.
  2. Typically, there’s no marketing cost involved in these types of cross promotions.
  3. While running an awareness cross promotion, you need to make sure that the users are either engaged or benefit from the awareness.

Type #4: Content Based Cross Promotion

Content based cross promotion campaigns involve both brands working together to produce content for their users.

The content can take multiple forms. Some common examples are:

  • Videos
  • Blog posts
  • Social media posts
  • Images
  • Infographics
  • E-books
  • Billboards
  • Movies
  • Spreadsheets or presentations
  • Events
  • Magazines
  • Merchandise like T-shirts

GoPro and Red Bull created multiple engaging videos featuring a GoPro action camera and a Red Bull energy drink.

With the release of “Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens” in 2015, the series’ parent Lucasfilm, partnered with Covergirl, an American cosmetics brand, to capture a broader audience and get its fan excited about the release.

Covergirl launched a new line of makeup, designed by the famous make-up artist Pat McGrath, featuring two styles: the Light Side and the Dark Side. Star Wars fans would come to recognize these as the sides of good and evil in the series.

Step By Step Guide To Launching Your Cross Promotion Campaign

You’re probably already excited about launching a cross promotion campaign. Here’s 10 steps to launch a cross promotion campaign:

  1. Decide your marketing goals
  2. Choose your brand partner. On Madneto, you can explore brand partners based on categories, web traffic, relevance, etc.
  3. Reach out to your brand partner. On Madneto, you can send a partnership request.
  4. Finalize the type of cross promotion you intend to run.
  5. Zero in on the promotional channels (website, mobile app, push notifications, social media, blog and many others) used by both brands to promote each other. On Madneto, you can send a cross promotion proposal.
  6. Create your content and promotional assets. On Madneto, both brands can upload and approve creatives for the cross promotion.
  7. Create the landing page and/or coupon (if required, depending on the type of cross promotion).
  8. Execute your cross promotion agreement with your partner brand. On Madneto, this is not required as all brands have an agreement with Madneto and don’t need to execute individual agreements between each other.
  9. Launch!
  10. Measure the success of the cross promotion campaign. On Madneto, you can view impressions and clicks generated by both brands, on a cumulative basis as well as split by promotional channel.
Launch your cross promotion

So, what are you waiting for? Blast away and launch your cross promotion campaign!

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.