Mastering the Art of Retail Cross-Marketing

Team up with another community business to boost your brand’s profile

What can an aging crooner like Tony Bennett teach a store owner looking to grow a business through effective marketing? Well, more than you might imagine.

We recently saw Tony Bennett in concert, and at 86 years old, he’s still got it. He shows more energy at 10 p.m. than we can muster—and he’s twice our age!

Scanning the crowd, I noticed the mix of ages in attendance, and I couldn’t help but wonder if he would have been able to achieve the same level of concert attendance 10 years ago.

He hasn’t released any new songs; he simply dusted off the old favorites. He has, however, perfected the art of tapping into someone else’s market.

In the old days, they called it a duet: Two singers of a similar genre would get together to release a song—in some cases finding new fans, but in most instances communicating to the customer base they shared.

These days, it’s called a collaboration. And in many instances the main performer is seen as the headliner, while the other artist making a sort of guest appearance.

So what’s changed?

The marketing. The modern duet—we still call it a duet!—can include two similar artists; however, more and more frequently, the performers would be lucky to share one fan in common. And that brings us back to Tony Bennett.

His most recent album, 2011’s Duets II, features artists as diverse as roots rocker Sheryl Crow, dance-pop phenom Lady Gaga, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, country icon Willie Nelson, and the late blues singer Amy Winehouse. The benefits are clear: He has exposed himself to a new market of fans who may never have heard his name before. Combine that with his octogenarian point of difference and a revival in Rat Pack–era music, and it’s clear why he’s probably making more money now than at any other stage of his career.

Bridal gives you a chance to collaborate with like-minded local businesses.

Bennett learned to tap into another customer base. Likewise, new ­artists’ careers often take off when they associate themselves with a big star. (It didn’t hurt LMFAO to join Madonna at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.) It can raise their profile and credibility quicker than years of performing.

So what does all this mean to ­jewelry store owners?

There is a ready-made base of customers if you’re willing to collaborate; in most cases, it’s right under your nose. What can you offer with another business to benefit its clients and yours?

Bridal is one of the best opportunities. Usually by the time the rings are purchased, most other ­wedding-day events have been planned. There is a great opportunity to work out a ­wedding-day collaboration that lets the jeweler get ahead of the competition while benefiting from the existing relationship the florist or reception venue might have with the bride-to-be.

This can work the other way, too. You can raise your own rankings with your customer base by bringing them exclusive offers from other businesses. What if everyone who made a purchase from your store received a free cup of coffee at the café across the road? It’s not only good for your customers, but it also brings in potential new customers for the café owner that can lead to regular ongoing business, and they can provide you with opportunities in return.

After all, collaborations are a two-way street. Tony Bennett’s sales may be up—but who’s to say Lady Gaga hasn’t had a few more iTunes downloads with the over-70 set herself?

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