Low-hanging fruit

Feb 24, 2020

Cross-marketing is the low-hanging fruit of business development. But will it work for your firm?

Cross-marketing can be an important and highly useful tool in your arsenal. It can be mutually beneficial to you and your clients, saving you both time and money. However, it’s not an effective strategy for every company or situation. How can you know if cross-marketing will be beneficial for your firm? And if so, how can you implement it?

Before we get into the mechanics of cross-marketing, we need to first assess if your company is well positioned to cross-market. For this purpose, diversity and culture are going to be key. If you have no diversity in services, clients, or geography, you have nothing to cross-market – and nobody to cross-market to.

Likewise, if your firm lacks a “one-company” culture, staff will be reluctant to spend their time and effort cross-marketing because they will not see how it benefits them. To get people excited about cross-marketing, they need to have the mindset that strengthening one facet of a company strengthens the company as a whole. A company that operates in silos, where every market essentially exists in its own little world, cannot accomplish this.

So, to assess whether your company is positioned to cross-market, ask yourself a couple basic questions:

  • Do you have a diversity of service lines, clients (private/public), or geography?
  • Does your firm promote a “one-company” philosophy and culture in which all employees can see how they would benefit from cross-marketing?

If your answer is no to either of these questions, your cross-marketing efforts will most likely be unsuccessful.

After you’ve evaluated your company and determined you’re well positioned to successfully cross-market, what’s next? You have two options:

  1. Cross-market to existing clients.
  2. Pursue new clients currently outside of your service line.

Option one, cross-marketing to existing clients, is generally the easiest way to go – the “low-hanging fruit” option, if you will. Marketing costs can be high, especially when attempting to break into new markets or gain new clients. By leveraging existing client relationships to embrace the diverse services that your company provides, you can avoid the high logistical costs of establishing your service line in a brand-new market.

How to get started:

  • Focus your cross-marketing efforts on clients with multi-service contracts who you have a strong, trusting relationship with. Use this strong relationship to offer quality services that can be beneficial to your company and the client.
  • Remember your client value. Cross-marketing is mutually beneficial to both you and the client. You gain a client for an existing service line and the client gets the peace of mind that comes with dealing with one quality firm to complete their goals. A true win-win!

Berry Still is a vice president and Southeastern Business Unit Leader for Transportation Design at Mead & Hunt. His experience spans more than 28 years in the transportation industry. He is knowledgeable in all facets of highway construction, from environmental to design to construction. Contact him at berry.still@meadhunt.com.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.