Many of marketing’s biggest challenges are just like puzzles where there are separate moves one can make to come up with a solution.
If you’ve ever played with a Rubik’s cube, you can sort of identify with the puzzle. A few twists, a rotation, a few more twists and you can start to see the pattern forming. But then suddenly, you hit a dead end and you have to undo your last few moves, and head off into another direction… that is of course unless you are a mathematical genius and the solution appears to you easily. However, we are dealing with marketing types in this blog, so for the sake of argument, we’ll say solving it is difficult!
Trying to figure out what moves to make and to think a few moves ahead is an incredible talent, and one that you get better at solving with the more puzzles you attempt. It’s simple, the more puzzles you solve, the more valuable you are to your organization.
Personally, I love the challenge of looking at two disparate organizations or products and trying to solve the puzzle by rationalizing each of their strengths, weaknesses, goals, audiences and similarities in order to fit into a pattern. The more difference there is between the entities, the better. And in some cases, it may be impossible to come up with a solution – but those are truly the rare occurrences.
Take for example: two products or services have different methods of delivery, different sales channels, relatively low price and in turn, very low profit margin. The only thing they have in common is the same end user. How do you go about determining a marketing or promotional angle that will help both products to succeed?
First, we analyze the similarities the two products have. Can one product provide a promotional opportunity for the other through physical or virtual couponing which can be tracked back to their partner? When evaluating coupon as a potential step, you must create a response mechanism that can be tracked, otherwise partners will be left wondering whether the program worked. Far too many promotions forget this step, only to realize at the end of the project they have no way to measure whether it was successful or not.
Second, since the end user audience is the same, unless the two organizations are working from the same database, each should have independent lists which when swapped allows for the other to reach out through physical mail or email. Social media in this type of partnership is critical because shared messaging on each other’s platforms allows for followers to benefit from their relationship with the brands while providing content generation opportunities for the brands themselves.
Increasing demand for one product by offering a special discount or exclusive access to the partner’s customer base is another way for both brands to succeed. It may be up to one brand to sacrifice short term profits in order to improve its long term potential by giving unprecedented value to the customer, but this is a puzzle move definitely worth making as long as there is structure in place to track and analyze the results.
Physical limitations and logistical challenges more times than not will create the largest obstacles to success, but if you’re solving the puzzle creatively, you’ve already thought about those moves and avoided getting caught in that trap.
How this type of cross promotion can work for your non-profit arts organization is up to how creative you seek to be with the companies and organizations in your community. Solving the marketing puzzle is the challenge we all face, but if you do it with a willingness to try any options for your partner, you will no doubt improve your chances for success as well. Good luck!