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Cross pollination isn’t just for gardeners anymore. It’s become common in the print and multi-channel marketing worlds, as well. The phrase used to refer to co-marketing (or co-branding) campaigns designed to “cross-pollinate” to one another’s customer bases.

The NBC shows “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD” do this very well. Recently, the shows joined forces to create joint episodes that took the storyline across both viewerships over back-to-back episodes. These programs have common themes and common viewer bases, so it makes sense to introduce the characters and plot lines to one another’s audiences. Once engaged, many viewers will naturally begin watching both programs if they aren’t already.

Cross-pollination can be done in print and multi-channel marketing, too. Fairmont Hotels and Lexus have a long-running cross-pollination program in which the hotel chain markets the ability of its President’s Club members to use Lexus hybrid vehicles as hotel courtesy cars for while staying at the hotel and traveling around town. This program shows great value to its “eco-minded customers” by providing both luxury and environmental concern. For Lexus, it introduced its hybrid vehicles to an affluent audience.

How can you potentially use cross-pollination in print and multi-channel marketing to build your prospect and customer base?

Look for products and services that complement yours well.Select products and services whose customer base has a similar profile to yours.Tap data to ensure that products and customer bases (or audiences) are a good match.Use relevance and personalization in print, email, and other channels to draw those prospects in and communicate the relevance of your offering.Have a follow-up plan using a variety of channels to reinforce the message and nurture those leads all the way to a close.

Maybe it’s because we’re well into the gardening season, but cross-pollination is sure sounding good to me!

Written by: Heidi Tolliver-Walker, Print Industry Consultant

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