Have you thought about hosting a social mixer at your business? I have been working with several local businesses recently to help them gain brand awareness in Chicago, and the idea of cross-marketing comes up again and again in our discussions. The specific mixer idea was inspired when I heard about Banana Republic partnering with match.com to host mixers at store locations. That is a good idea. They don’t compete with each other, and both companies get cross-over audiences from one another that can lead to fun, loyalty, and lucrative organic growth.
The cross-marketing I think about is the notion of at least two businesses getting together to promote themselves. If you run a local office products business, for example, how easy can it be to promote a local florist on your web site? People in business need to order flowers for various occasions and you can make it easy for your customers to do so.
Gale Street Inn, a restaurant in Chicago, is celebrating its 50th year in business in 2013. As part of the celebration, the restaurant is “paying it forward” all year with a series of fund-raising events for local non-profits on nights when the restaurant is usually closed. By working with non-profits that are important to the community, the restaurant is gaining more loyalty with its customers, meeting new people, and most importantly contributing in a meaningful way back to the neighborhood, the non-profits and the Chicago area. People are interacting with one another and enjoying it. That is a great way to say “thank you” for 50 years in business.
I have long advocated building a virtual community as well as a bricks-and-mortar community for businesses. People want to connect, converse and interact with one another. The online world is great, but sometimes people want that real-life connection. Think about how you can blend your business with another one that may be complementary to yours. Who knows, a social mixer may be in your future!
Check out: http://www.galestreet.com for good cross-marketing, especially the anniversary calendar.