One of the techniques in marketing that I see most often among savvy marketers, and least often among the less savvy, is known as “host-parasite” or “cooperative” marketing.
What is host-parasite marketing? It just sounds…negative, doesn’t it? Well, actually it is not. It is simply one business using another business’ resources to generate sales. If you want to do it, you have to give the “host” something back, too.
Probably the most common and effective form of host-parasite marketing is a simple referral/referral fee relationship. Business X has a large mailing list of people who could probably benefit from using Business Y’s services. Business Y asks Business X to send out a mailing to its customers recommending it and providing a brief ad in return for a percentage of the profits generated from the letter. If Business X has chosen its parasite carefully, then the letter serves it in two ways: it provides an additional service to its customers for no cost, and it generates revenues from every sale. This can be enormously profitable for the host, and it is one reason mailing lists are such a valuable resource for market-savvy businesses.
It is just as good for the parasite, Business Y. Business Y is given very inexpensive access to a (possibly) large group of potential customers along with a recommendation that virtually assures it of receiving a favorable reading. It can carefully control its marketing expenses while closely tracking the profitability of the venture.
And it is good for the customers, who have had a potential need identified for them and a reliable source of a solution provided.
Of course the trick is to identify the potential needs of your customer and enter an appropriate relationship with a reliable other business. These are things a good marketing campaign will take into account as you map out your business strategy anyway.