A train track with a sign that depicts an X/cross

Cross marketing ideas to increase brand awareness

June 17, 2022

Cross marketing is a partnership strategy that is used by businesses to promote each other’s goods and services. It’s an effective way to help a brand reach a wider audience of people and make them more aware of its offerings. In this blog post, we'll be devling into the benefits that cross marketing has for businesses, the types of cross that exist and the cross marketing stretegies brands can use to increase their brand awareness.

Benefits of cross marketing

Colgate promoting their toothpaste on pizza boxes
Colgate advertises on pizza boxes

Cross marketing offers a number of benefits for brands. These benefits include:

  • Increased sales 
  • Improved brand awareness 
  • Reduced advertising costs 
  • Long term business relationships 
  • Increased customer loyalty 
  • Expand your offering 
  • Lead generation

Types of cross marketing

There are different types of cross marketing that you should be aware of. Some of these include:

Integration cross-promotion

Pexels and iStock cross promotion

This is when a brand allows their products or services to be purchased within their partner's products. For example, popular free stock image website Pexels promotes iStock photos and allows them to be purchased on their website. This is beneficial for both brands because Pexels users will get access to a broader range of stock images that they can easily purchase and iStock will reach a wider audience and make more sales.

Out-of-brand cross marketing

A picture of a McDonald's burger and chips with a glass of Coke on the sude. The background is red.

This type of cross marketing refers to promotion that happens between two brands' existing products. An example is McDonald's and Coca-Cola's cross marketing efforts. They often market themselves together, to the point where when one thinks of McDonald's, Coca-Cola immediately comes to mind and vice versa.

In-brand cross marketing

Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate made with Oreos

This type of cross marketing refers to promotion that happens using one brand's products. A great example of this is if a company that owns a variety of products wants to promote a product that customers may not be familiar with. They would cross promote internally by using a well known product to promote another. Sometimes internal cross promotion is simply done to increase sales and customer engagement. This can be seen by Oreo and Cadbury (which are both owned by the trans-national company Mondelez) collaborating on a Cadbury Oreo chocolate.

Affiliate cross marketing

This is a type of paid cross marketing that allows brands to increase their brand awareness through referrals. A brand can recommend another on their website and for every referral that signs uo, they'll get a percentage of the sign up fee.

Brick-and-mortar cross marketing

Burger King's Upside Diwn Whopper -- A collaboratuon with Stranger Things

This happens when a brand with a brick-and-mortar store collaborates with another brand. In 2019, Burger King collaborated with Stranger Things to offer a limited edition Upside Down Whopper at select locations in the US.

Cause-based cross marketing

For-profits and non-profit organizations can collaborate to bring more attention to a cause and a business's offering.

Related: Cause marketing examples that prove profit isn't everything

Event cross marketing

Absolut Land, an event in the Metaverse that Absolut Vodka collaborated with Coachella on

Events like concerts, conferences, trade shows and festivals depend on cross marketing to be a success. Absolut Vodka and Coachella cross marketed each other through an event in the Metaverse called Absolut.Land in the virtual world of Decentraland (DCL). Coachella fans were able to engage with the festival in a unique way and Absolut Vodka was able to offer a great experience for their customers.

There are various cross marketing strategies that brands can use to effectively attract their target market:

Create a joint product or service

Starbucks Pokémon Go Frappuccino
Starbucks' Pokémon Go Frappuccino cross marketing campaign with Niantic

Partnering on a product or service can help your brand sell more than if you were selling individually. A great way to cross market is to consider creating bundles with a company that sells similar products or services, allowing customers to purchase a bundle at a great price. Customers may recognize one of the brands and be inclined to purchase, or they’ll be intrigued by the collaboration, which increases brand awareness, loyalty and sales.

Use cross-promotional emails

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to reach an audience. With the ROI being $36 for every $1 spent, it’s no surprise that it remains a key part of business’ marketing strategies. Sending cross promotional emails is a good way to advertise to your audience and your partner’s audience. It can help with boosting advertising for rewards, discounts, bundles and other collaborative projects.

Leverage social media

Sonic's square milkshakes which were sold at Coachella through Instagram
Sonic promoted their Coachella milkshakes through Instagram, using the app to deliver them to concert goers exact locations

Social media is undoubtedly one of the most important platforms that brands can use to attract customers. This is why it should play a role in your cross marketing tactics, even if you or your partner’s brand is a brick-and-mortar business. You and your cross marketing partner should post images and videos of each other’s products and services or any collaborations you’re doing. This will expose both of you to different audiences, thereby helping you increase brand awareness.

Related: Brand partnership mistakes to avoid in 2022

Host in person events together

Co-hosting events with your partner can help you increase brand awareness and improve your business’ reputation, especially if it’s a local business. In person events can help you connect with your community in a way that online events can’t. The best part about this is you can also rally your attendees to document your event online through Instagram stories, reels, tweets, and other types of posts. By tagging your brand online, they’ll be helping you and your cross marketing partner reach a wider audience.

Offer joint giveaways and competitions

Facebook page of eSalon and Skinergy Beauty joint giveaway screen capture

Everybody loves a good giveaway or competition, which is why it’s one of the easiest ways to attract attention to your brand. The result is obviously amplified when you cross market, because the other brand will be posting the competition across their platforms as well, which will put more eyes on your collaboration. The ideal giveaway prize can be a product or discount from both brands.

Give free samples 

Free samples will always be a winning strategy! You can ask the brand you’re partnering with to keep samples of your product in their store and you can do the same for them. If one of you sells services and not products, offer a free consultation or class instead. 

Share booths at trade shows

Trade shows are notoriously expensive, but they can be beneficial for brands who are looking to network and get their names out there. Partnering with a non-competitor that shares a similar target audience is a good way to halve the cost and market to people who may be unaware of your brand.

Offer rewards 

BP and United Airlines®  Joint Rewards Programs
BP and United Airlines' joint rewards program

A reward system incentivizes customers who frequent your business and encourages them to keep coming back. You can offer your customers a discount from the store you’re collaborating with once they’ve bought from you a certain number of times.

Co-brand your advertising 

Advertising revenues are dwindling significantly across the globe while costs are skyrocketing. Partnership marketing is a great alternative to paid advertising, and cross marketing can help with sharing advertising costs to make it cheaper and more effective to reach your desired audience.

Create a pop up shop at a brick-and-mortar store

Adidas and Yeezy BOOST Pop-Up shop
Adidas x Yeezy Boost pop up shop

A shared space like a pop up shop at a brick-and-mortar store can increase consumer traffic. By hosting a pop up in your partner’s store, you can market to their customer base and they’ll benefit from having a pop up store that makes themes stand out from the competition.

Start a referral program

Referrals are one of the best ways to grow a business. Ask for referrals from a business you’re partnering with and return the favor.

Co-host online events, YouTube shows, or podcasts

Improve your online presence by partnering with another brand and co-hosting online webinars, a YouTube show or a podcast. Make sure you share similar values and goals so that your partnership can work out in the long term.


Cross marketing offers many benefits for businesses, including increased customer loyalty, increased sales, reduced advertising costs, and more. Using the creative cross marketing tips above, your brand can partner with other like-minded brands to reach its goals in a quicker, simpler and cost effective way.

If you need a little more inspiration then check out our epic list of brand partnerships examples.

What is Intribe? 

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