product management

Product partnerships can grow your business.

There are many products that sell nicely by themselves. It’s morning as the author writes this, so bacon comes to mind. Home sprinkler systems, chocolate bars and paper calendars are easily marketed as stand-alone products as well.

Even if your product or service has the ability to soak up the limelight by itself, think about complementary connections with other products that could boost its brand awareness and increase usage much further. In the world of consumer products marketing, tremendous gains can be achieved through a nicely positioned partnership of complementary products. Many times, marketing success can be found in simplicity, like combining eggs and Nutella® chocolate spread to make a delicious flourless cake.

In his New York Times blog, Nick Wingfield recently discussed advances in remote home automation through the partnership of a Wi-Fi applications company with a home sprinkler manufacturer helping to better manage water consumption. Fitness club franchise Snap Fitness has partnered with dozens of health insurance companies to offer membership discounts to policy holders, boosting club membership for the gym and reducing claims for the insurance companies.

What partnership could your company create to improve the reach or usefulness of your product? Below are three suggestions for developing effective product partnerships:

  1. Keep it simple: your customers are under a daily barrage of marketing messages. Make sure the partnership is so simple that they can easily “get it” and see the value without having to ask questions. A great example is the current S’mores promotion at Kroger supermarkets featuring the summer treat’s three main ingredients: Nabisco Graham Crackers, Kraft Marshmallows and Hershey Chocolate Bars, all displayed together.
  2. Find a partner whose core competencies compliment yours: Branded paper calendar makers might explain that they haven’t developed a planning app for smart phones or tablet computers because they aren’t in the technology business. There are plenty of brilliant app developers in the marketplace who would be glad to develop a daily planning app if only they had a partner with strong brand equity and the willingness to license its brand.
  3. It should bring you new customers: So you’re a yogurt product manager bumping up against slow growth of trial because many consumers are reluctant to purchase any product that comes with bacteria in it? Co-promote your plain Greek yogurt with a branded self-rising flour product as a simple way to make your own pizza dough. Now the mom who has been eating the yogurt for breakfast will now serve it to her entire family for dinner in the form of a homemade pepperoni pizza.

If your business is looking to partner with brands, product or services that compliment your own, we might be able to help. Contact us at or by phone at 530.645.1636.