Product integrations are an under-tapped area of the partnerships landscape. They are similar to brand to brand partnerships but are not the same. A brand to brand partnership does not have to include a product integration – it could be a custom ambassador program or live classes offered through a strategic partnership. Counterintuitively, product integration does not have to be a large partnership. Instead, brands can build out product integrations via APIs that can be scaled and offered to numerous partners. These partnerships can be a truly competitive asset for brands that choose to be forward-thinking in their partnership program. If a brand is able to secure exclusive partnerships with a complimentary partner, these partnerships can easily offset the extra bandwidth required to bring them to fruition.
Why Product Integrations
Some of the rationale behind product integrations includes sharing data with relevant partners to increase value to their users. For instance, an example integration is if our client is a rideshare company and provides select partners with a widget that gives users estimated earnings based on inputs like geography and hours worked. In this example, the partner owns the relationship with the end-user, and by leveraging our client's data to provide an estimate on the partner's site, the user is being exposed to the client's offerings on a partner site. If the partner's audience is geared towards consumers who have luxury cars but are looking for ways to make additional income through side hustles, our client has just unlocked high-value drivers through the partnership.
Experts on Your Side
Product integration partnerships are more complicated as they often require engineering resources, exchanging sensitive data across companies, and additional legal and creative support. Furthermore, because of the risks taken by both sides to invest resources into bringing these partnerships to market, one brand often invests a flat fee to move the partnership forward. In instances where our team has managed product integrations, we have worked to ensure that the early stages of the partnership are nimble and non-committal. However, because of the involved and customized nature of the partnership, even a lean approach is demanding. As such, these partnerships make the most sense for more mature programs hungry for incremental growth and willing to take on performance risk.