One of the marketing techniques that I see most often among marketers, and less often among the less intelligent, is known as “host-parasite” or “cooperative” marketing.
What is host parasite marketing? Sounds … negative, right? Well, it really isn’t. It is simply a company that uses the resources of another company to generate sales. If you want to do it, you also have to give something back to the “host”.
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 an email to their clients recommending it and providing a short announcement in exchange for a percentage of the earnings generated by the letter. If Business X has chosen its parasite carefully, then the letter serves it in two ways: It provides additional service to its customers at no cost, and it generates income from each sale. This can be hugely profitable for the host, and is one of the reasons that mailing lists are such a valuable resource for market-savvy businesses.
It’s just as good for the parasite, Business Y. Business Y has very inexpensive access to a (possibly) large pool of potential customers along with a recommendation that pretty much ensures you’ll get a favorable reading. You can carefully monitor your marketing expenses while closely monitoring the profitability of the business.
And it’s good for customers, who have been identified with a potential need and provided a trusted source of solution.
The trick, of course, is to identify your customer’s potential needs and establish a suitable relationship with another trustworthy company. These are things that a good marketing campaign will take into account when mapping out its business strategy anyway.