Business Without Borders: Colorful Cross-Marketing

Gilat Ben-Dor, MBA, CSW

Cross-marketing among your multiple=As a Multi-Passionate Professional™, you have many ideas, passions and talents. It is not surprising that the entrepreneurial path of business ownership – or in your case, multi-business ownership—calls out to you. Contrary to certain societal messages, there is no rule against having multiple businesses, as long as you feel you can manage the load, and you feel passionate about each endeavor.  The beauty of having multiple businesses is that you create a repertoire of outlets that profitably express the different sides of yourself. Your businesses don’t even have to be related to each other!

But here’s the best part: You do not have to compartmentalize your different businesses, keeping each a “secret” from your different customer bases. Doing so can be exhausting, splintering, and can make you feel as if you are keeping up two, three or four separate personas. 

Instead, consider cross-promoting and cross-marketing your various businesses among each other. There are several benefits to cross-marketing among your own businesses. Not only will this approach add a cohesive thread to your various businesses, but you can foster additional growth and opportunities for each business this way.  And that is healthy for any bottom line.
Let’s say that you maintain a family business that provides hiking and adventure tours.  You have also recently launched a coaching business to help young female executives feel balanced and empowered.  At first, these may seem like two disparate businesses that would have no overlap among their clientele.

Even if your hiking business has historically attracted males ages 22-34, opportunities are wide open for you.  Could you design a women’s empowerment retreat in which young, professional women experience a customized team adventures, while blending the content of your hiking tour and your coaching program? Here, nature or physical endurance could serve as a metaphor to your coaching message.

Like many Multi-Passionate Professionals, you might be thinking “Just two businesses? That’s easy! What about my online art business? And the novel I just wrote? How would I bring those into the mix, too?” Although not every business combination can be effectively cross-marketed all at once, there are surprisingly numerous possibilities and combinations therein.  The trick is to find some areas of overlap in terms of your target market’s demographic, interests, or lifestyle habits. 

Once again, with the hiking tour example, there may be opportunities to use that as the foundation business in which to offer additional themed retreats, based on your other businesses. You could offer a writing and hiking/nature retreat, while featuring yourself as the “writing leader” and the featured author. Why not include your book in the retreat fee, and provide a copy to each participant (instead of hoping that participants will also purchase your book during the event)?

Let’s say that you love working with children and helping the community, and you value health and fitness. You have founded a non-profit for disabled teens, and you also run a marathon training business. While your marathon business may not be a direct match to those teens (and vice versa), think of all of the fundraising and cross-promoting potential between your runners, such as runs and events to benefit your non-profit organization.

Just as there are known benefits to strategic partnerships and joint ventures with other people’s businesses, why not do yourself—and your own businesses—the same favor by considering how each of your ventures can help the other one. Get creative, and remember to think outside of the box. It is all about target market overlap and the recombining of existing elements in appealing ways, regardless of whether the products or services are normally offered under the same “umbrella.”

Gilat Ben-Dor, MBA, CSW is an author, speaker, coach, and the creator of GUSTO POWER™, a success strategy program that helps Multi-Passionate Professionals™ maximize their many talents through personal and professional development. Visit for your FREE report,“The 5 Mistakes Multi-Passionate Professionals Make.”

© Gilat Ben-Dor, 2010-2011.

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