What is Cross-marketing – a Complex Concept in Simple Words

Andrew Andreev
Author at ApiX-Drive
Reading time: ~8 min

Cross-marketing is one of the most famous and sought-after strategies for promoting brands and their products. It is one of the main varieties of affiliate marketing, and has been successfully manifesting itself for more than a decade.

What is cross marketing?
2. Benefits of cross-marketing
3. Disadvantages of Cross Marketing
4. Effective cross-marketing strategies
5. Examples of cross-marketing campaigns
6. Conclusion


We decided to dedicate our next article to this popular type of marketing, which can bring you a lot of new customers and significantly increase sales.

Here you will learn about what cross marketing is, how and when it appeared, what features and advantages it has. We will also talk about promotion strategies and examples of successful marketing campaigns in this area.

What is cross marketing?

Cross marketing is advertising or marketing campaigns that promote the products or services of multiple brands. It is also often referred to as co-marketing, cross-marketing, or reciprocal marketing. For example, if two companies have the same or similar target audience, but do not directly compete with each other, then they may well create a joint campaign to promote their products. One of the most striking examples of such a strategy is the brand collaboration, through which both brands expand their target audience and stimulate sales.

An important condition for an effective cross-marketing campaign is the intersection of audiences, which allows brands to literally exchange customers. In addition, in the process of co-marketing activities, companies share a number of other important resources among themselves: such as advertising capacity, traffic, subscribers, etc. After a successful cross marketing campaign, customers of one brand also become potential customers of its partner brand with which they have collaborated.

It is important that the goals of this type of marketing may be different for its participants. For example, one company may promote its new product or brand in this way. While another company needs to expand its target audience or wants to get new customers, using its partner's customer base as a source. The main thing is that the target audience of both brands should at least partially intersect with each other, but at the same time they should not be competitors to each other.

What is cross marketing | An important condition for an effective campaign is the intersection of audiences.

Benefits of Cross Marketing

Cross marketing is considered to be one of the most effective and optimal promotion strategies. Especially for those brands that are within the same ecosystem and want to make the most efficient use of their advertising budgets. As for the specific advantages of this strategy, among them are the following:

  • Optimization of advertising costs. A well-prepared and implemented co-marketing strategy allows companies to significantly reduce their advertising costs. Rental of advertising space, preparation of events and other stages of an advertising project in this case will be less expensive, since they can be equally divided among its participants.
  • Additional promotion opportunities. Cross marketing is not only about saving money, but also about new prospects for advertising campaigns. Cross-promotions provide a business with new promotion channels, bring a new audience to it, and thus stimulate sales growth.
  • Strengthening a positive reputation. As you know, one of the most important components of the success of any brand is audience coverage and reputation. Conducting joint marketing campaigns in partnership with well-known brands will help strengthen the positive reputation of your company and increase the trust of the target audience. In turn, this will help reduce the cost of attracting new customers.
  • Expansion of the assortment due to partner products. Another important advantage of cross-marketing is the increase in the product range. A good example here are mobile operators' stores, almost all of which sell mobile phones, other gadgets and accessories for them. Which, in turn, provides them with an additional influx of customers and sales growth even if they sell partner products without their extra charge.
  • Variety of marketing scenarios to choose from. Combining the potential of two or more companies (especially within the same type of ecosystem) will allow them to double their ability to prepare and run campaigns. For example, they can use the efforts of several creative departments to work on a project at once, which will help them come up with an effective marketing concept in a short time. It will also provide a wider variety of promotion scenarios, along with a large number of profitable offers for buyers.
  • Establishing long-term relationships with partner brands. Cross marketing often involves more than just joint marketing activities and sharing of advertising costs. In addition, companies get access to the client bases of their partners, can supplement their assortment, exchange goods or services, combine purchases, logistics, etc.

Disadvantages of Cross Marketing

However, in addition to a number of significant advantages, cross marketing also has some disadvantages. These include certain difficulties with the preparation / implementation of advertising campaigns and cost sharing, which may arise at any stage of collaboration.

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In addition, cross-advertising does not allow a careful control and management of each stage of an advertising campaign, since the brand always has to interact with its partner. And any mistake or flaw made through the fault of a partner can lead to significant financial and reputational losses.

However, some of the risks of this strategy can be eliminated or minimized by following certain rules of promotion in marketing. In particular, such as:

  • Do not create joint projects with competitors. Even if a company or brand competes with your business only partially in any particular segment, then cooperation with them should be avoided. Such a collaboration can confuse the target audience and will not bring tangible results to either you or your partner.
  • Do not mix target audiences. Effective co-marketing is always tailored to a specific target audience, and all products advertised as part of this campaign must fully comply with it. For example, a good marketing campaign for buyers of game consoles would be a discount on going to a men's barbershop, but not to a nail salon.
  • Do not mix price segments. Another important factor in successful cross marketing is the association of brands from the same price segments. If you are selling a premium product, then your audience is unlikely to appreciate a collaboration with a brand from the mass market, and vice versa. Very indicative examples of cross-promotion include joint promotions of luxury brands: BMW with Louis Vuitton, etc.

Effective Cross Marketing Strategies

Today, such promotion includes an extensive set of various strategies. Each of them can demonstrate a very decent performance, depending on the specific marketing goals. Among the most popular of them it is worth noting:

  • Cross promotion. This is one of CM's most sought-after strategies for allowing brands to expand their audience with new potential customers. Also, with its help, companies can clearly declare themselves in a new market segment for them, using the resources of their partner as a “springboard”. In the course of such joint projects, partners provide each other with their own advertising resources for promotion: mailing lists, etc. In addition, they can jointly pay for external advertising platforms: order promotion in search engines, social networks, media, etc. Cross-promotion is considered a classic example of CM, as it helps advertisers achieve their goals while saving on advertising budget.
  • Event marketing. Cross marketing activities are not limited to joint advertising campaigns and promotions. Also, partner brands can organize and hold various types of joint events together. For example, industry forums, seminars, any entertainment events supported by several sponsoring companies, etc. are quite common.
  • Co-branding. Co-branding or collaboration is a temporary association of several brands to launch a joint project: creating a new product roadmap, conducting an advertising campaign, etc. In the process of co-branding, companies often merge their identities and corporate styles. Especially often you can see collaborations of brands from the same ecosystem, the target audience of which closely intersects with each other. For example, Louis Vuitton and Supreme, etc.
  • Cross-posting/cross-streaming. Given the rapid development of Internet marketing, cross-posting or cross-streaming is becoming an increasingly popular type of cross-advertising. This format denotes mutual publications of partner companies on websites, placement of links in social networks or blogs in order to promote each other. Also, there are often joint videos and live broadcasts (streams).
  • Copacking. Another popular area of cross-promotion is co-packing: combining several products in one package or several services in a package offer. Co-packing is especially common in retail: for example, it includes such promotions as beer + snacks as a gift, razor + shaving cream, etc.
  • Loyalty programs. This is a very effective cross marketing strategy, it involves the creation of a joint loyalty program that would be interesting and beneficial for customers of all companies participating in the project. Nowadays, a wide range of such programs is available: from the simplest (for example, when buying a product for a certain amount from company A, the client receives a discount on the products of company B) to complex and multi-level ones.
  • Ingredient branding/bundle. This co-marketing strategy assumes that one product complements the other as an integral component. A popular example here is the Google Play Market app store, which is part of the Android OS. Moreover, if both products belong to the same company, then such a strategy is called ingredient branding, and if different, then it is called a bundle (goods or services from several brands supplied as a set).

Examples of cross-marketing campaigns

Of all the existing CM technologies, co-branding campaigns of large transnational brands are the most popular these days. Among the most striking and memorable examples of product advertising is the longstanding collaboration between McDonald's and Coca Cola: the combination of burgers and fries with cola is so firmly embedded in the minds of the audience that these products are hardly perceived in other combinations.

What is cross marketing | A highly demanded and effective direction of modern marketing

As for other well-known examples of cross-promotion, among them is a joint project between Amazon and American Express to issue a co-branded payment card to support small businesses in the US and UK. An equally interesting example is the Megogo and OKKO cross-promotion, according to which, when paying for the “Maximum” tariff on the Megogo website, users received a discount on the purchase of fuel at OKKO gas stations.

In addition, the list of effective cross-marketing projects includes more serious promotions aimed at launching new joint products. For example, the famous sports shoe brand Nike has released an innovative sneaker model in collaboration with Apple Corporation. It was equipped with a number of sensors (speed, calories burned, etc.) and transmitted this data to the iPhone, iPad or other Apple gadgets.

Another interesting example of co-branding was presented by Google Corporation together with the Swedish fashion brand Ivyrevel. Google has developed an app to design garments that can then be ordered from the Ivyrevel online store. Finally, the Louis Vuitton and Supreme collaboration, as well as Uber and Givanchy, have contributed to the list of successful co-branded projects.


Cross-marketing is a highly demanded and effective area of modern marketing, which involves the unification of brands for joint promotions, events, collaborations, promotional campaigns, loyalty programs, etc.

With its help, a business can reduce its advertising costs, get additional opportunities for promotion, expand the target audience, strengthen its reputation and complement the assortment, and also acquire reliable partners. Among effective co-marketing strategies, there are cross-promotions, cross-events, co-branding, cross-posting or cross-streaming, co-packing and a number of other formats.


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