Increase Sales And Cash Flow With Crossmarketing Alliances

by Doug Smith, President, The Woodhaven Group

As a business you must increase sales while not overspending on marketing.  If this is done well, your company will realize more profit and an improved net worth.  The increase in cash flow will allow you to do such things as pay down debt, expand into other markets and contribute back to the community.

The challenge lies in the ability to effectively market your product or service by spending your available dollars wisely.  The marketing options are many.  Depending upon the target customer you may invest in TV, radio, newspaper, special events, trade shows, sponsorships, direct mail, or the many forms of internet marketing.  There are some companies that still telemarket, use billboards or even canvas door to door.  The form of marketing that worked last year may not work this year.  As a CEO  I knew the head of marketing had one of the toughest jobs in the company.

In spite of all the marketing channels available to a company I always thought there was one method that was extremely effective and underutilized.  Executed correctly the marketing cost could be extremely low.  I am talking about using crossmarketing alliances.  What is that?  It is where separate companies with different products market to the same customer together.  In the eyes of the customer there is synergy in the offering coming from the combined approach of the companies.  The customer perceives this combination as added value.

Confused?  Here is a simple example to illustrate a cross marketing alliance that works well.  Think of the bride and groom.  Now think of all the things that have to be coordinated for the wedding.  Imagine if the couple can receive a suggestion from the florist they like to use a specific bakery for the cake and then both companies suggest a reputable photographer.  This can continue with the tux or wedding dress store, limo service and even the location for the reception.  There might be discounts used for the referrals.  This approach works for both the business and the customer. The customer gets what they want and the money the business saves on marketing can increase cash flow and add to profit.  More sales, more cash, and more profit is always a good payoff for a winning marketing strategy.

How can separate companies market themselves to the same customer.  Here are a few ways:

  • Share the cost of direct mail or brochures where each business’s product or service is featured.
  • Hold events or shows together and invite the same targeted customer.  An example is a Bridal Fair.
  • Pass out coupon books with each company featured.
  • Display an ad , sign or presentation in each others business location.
  • Offer a bundled package of services or products for one price.
  • Write testimonials for each other.
  • Mention the other company on Twitter, Facebook, or in a blog post.

Those are just a few ideas.  The key is to think outside the box.  Not sure this approach is right for you?  Here are some other examples of companies that could benefit from crossmarketing services:

  1. Web designer, SEO agency, email service, copywriter, video production company.
  2. Painter, plumber, electrician, handyman, home cleaning service.
  3. Attorney, CPA, insurance agent.
  4. Veterinary, kennel, pet grooming, pet store
  5. Landscaper, lawncare company, deck company, tree service, fence company
  6. Auto repair, wrecker service, car rental, car wash.
  7. Dry cleaner, seamstress, shoe repair, fire & water restoration.   

I suggest you have your mangers brainstorm this topic at the end of your next management meeting. You may be surprised at some of the workable combinations they will discover.

Remember, the next time you want to save some marketing dollars and increase cash flow try using a crossmarketing alliance.

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