Cross Marketing

I’ve noticed many companies getting creative to generate new business and maintain their existing business.  The television industry is getting pretty good at this.  Take for example the episodes when Grey’s Anatomy characters appeared on Private Practice and visa versa, two weeks in row.  It gets you to watch both shows, two hours of fascinating TV, each week.  I’m sure the advertisers loved it.  

Or what about the advertisements for FX Cable TV, which airs during football and hockey and other traditionally men’s programming?  Since millions are watching, why not lure them over to the FX Cable channel during the commercials?  Men love flipping channels anyway.  Why is that?  

Anyway, the most recent example I saw was an ad in my local magazine, where a dog store partnered with a local bank.  The ad showed the officers of the bank with their own dogs in the dog store.  The headline was “Business’ Best Friend.”  The intention was to show how local banks know your business and are patrons of it, so why not return the favor by giving them your business?

This marketing and advertising behavior seems to have taken cross marketing to a whole new level.  Traditional cross marketing was for businesses that were complementary, with like-products and audiences.  That old-fashioned rule has been thrown out the window.  It’s now about knowing your customers and how they shop.  It’s all about making an emotional connection and providing an experience for your customer.  The retail store, Anthropolgie, has this down pat.  Their web site states “Each of our stores is a unique, unimagined experience.”   Women shop for clothes and soap and sheets and earrings.  So why not provide them one place to do all of that?

So, how should this work in the healthcare world?  How do you create that connection and provide an experience for the patient?  Perhaps you not only target patients in doctor’s offices and hospitals. How about going to places where they spend their time, particularly when they’re not distressed or ill?  Go beyond sending mailings to their homes with information on prevention and weight loss.  Develop slick promotional material and take it to retail stores where they shop or to sporting events where they spend countless hours.  For instance, focus your efforts at the opera or the theatre. You have a captive audience of affluent, well-informed people.  How about running a nice promotional piece within the playbill?  That’s a bill I’m sure they are willing to open!


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