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Q&A: What Is Cross Promotion, and how do I use it?
By Michael Allison - 12/17/2001 - 03:28 AM EST

Question:
Hello Michael,
I just read an article about cross promotion and really didn't understand what it was. The author said that cross promotion is a great way to advertise. Could you explain this to me in plain english?
-Steven Wright - Boston


Answer:
Cross promotion is a form of advertising that involves two or more parties. It's a good way to have other people help you promote your music or product. What happens is each party helps to promote the other party's product or service. A good example of an effective cross promotion campaign would be Visa. They tend to use this technique a lot. What they do is mention a store or whatever in their commercials. Let's say it's a dot com. Yourname.com will make a good example. Their commercials will talk about all that you can buy on "Yourname.com," and what a great place it is for buying that product. Then their ads will mention the Visa credit card is some way, shape, or form. In turn, "Yourname.com" will recommend that their customers use their Visa cards to make any purchases from the website. There will probably also be ads, and maybe even credit applications.

There are several different forms of cross promotion, but this is the most common. Basically what you are doing is getting other companies to promote your product. There's really not a lot to it once everything is setup. The up coming Olympics is another example of cross promotions. Companies will help to promote the Olympics by calling themselves "Proud Sponsors of the 2002 Winter Olympics." In return, they will get to not only place ads and banners around the various events, but use the brand name of the Olympics to add credibility to their product.

This is a great way to promote your product, but it might not be as easy for the unsigned artist to get going. What you'll need is a radio station or music store to help you out. Set up some sort of cross promotion with one of these types of companies that will be mutually beneficial. If it's a music store, you could have them give away certain promotional items like T-shirts, key chains, etc. with each of your album sale. In return, you would display a banner or something at your shows.

With radio stations, you might be able to set up some sort of On Location spot. This will bring people into your shows, and also allows the radio station to give away their own promotional items. These are just simple examples. Unfortunately, I can't devise a plan for you. Some things you just have to do yourself.

The problem with cross promotions and indie artists is the fact that many of these companies won't take you seriously. You're probably going to have to prove to them that you can reach a decent sized audience. You're also going to have to prove that they will benefit from this deal. That will not be easy. The On Location spots with the radio stations may be a bit easier. You may have to pay for it, but it definitely will get people to your shows. If you are going to try this, prepare for a few let downs. This isn't easy to set up, but is definitely worth the time. Good luck. - Michael Allison



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