Nike + iPod
T-Mobile + Starbucks
RedBox + Grocery Stores
Keno + Bars
Carpet Cleaning + Veterinarian
Pizza Hut + Family Board Games
These relationships go beyond the expected connection between two businesses and form an entirely unexpected relationship that makes complete sense. WalMart actually built their business around analyzing consumer purchasing behaviors so that they could more effectively market items that "go together" like Celery and Peanut Butter, Ice Cream and Napkins, Basketballs and Socks. The thinking is, by putting one product or service close to another product or service that has a relationship to the product, you will sell more of both by the power of suggestion with very little financial investment or outlay.
Here's an example that I came into contact with this week while consulting another business:
Cake Artist New to Small Town
Cake Artist isn't sure if the new town she lives in can support an artist like herself, with a modern style and higher pricing because of the time and ingredients she uses. Most local people seem to be modest and reserved, but there is a large population of college age students and young professionals just entering the field who would be interested in her product for their wedding day. In order to test the market and attract customers, I suggested teaming up with other area wedding vendors who have storefronts and might need a beautiful cake for display, such as a florist or an event planner. If no such storefront exists, how about teaming up with these people or caterers during the next bridal show and offering samples of the cake as a giveaway at the show. Her cake adds value to the display of the person she's giving it to and it helps her get her name out in a way that appears as an endorsement for her product from already respected people in the industry she's hoping to target.
How can you apply this to your business? What do your customers typically shop for when they aren't shopping with you? What else are they passionate about? How can you harness that power of suggestion by being connected to another product or service that your clients enjoy or are looking for?
Anne Ruthmann is a lifestyle & wedding photographer from Boston, MA. She spent 10 years in the corporate & non-profit world before pursuing her passion for photography. When not behind the computer or camera, she can be found exploring the world with her husband. Follow her on Twitter.