Food Pairings as Marketing Partnerships

The other day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw an interesting post from one of my favorite cider makers. They had paired with a gourmet cheese maker to present some pairing ideas for cider and cheese. This caused me to have two immediate thoughts:

  1. I really want some cider and cheese right now.
  2. That’s a brilliant marketing idea!

Let’s focus on that second thought. How can food pairings help your marketing efforts? Although talking about food pairings in general is a good idea, as it gets your customers thinking about more ways to enjoy your product, it’s even better when you can partner with another food company to take advantage of cross-marketing opportunities.

A food pairing partnership allows both partners to tap into a different segment of their target market. You’re both food or beverage companies, which means you both reach an audience of people who like to eat and drink, and who care enough to follow their specific favorite brands. You know that if someone likes, for instance, a specific brewery enough to follow them on Facebook and attend a tasting event, they probably have a strong sense of brand loyalty. If they try your products paired with your partner’s products and they enjoy the experience, they’re likely to become a loyal follower of your brand as well.

If possible, try to not just suggest pairing ideas, but host an actual pairing event. For instance, a couple of local breweries and bars in my town are hosting a beer and Girl Scout cookies pairing event at the end of the month, and the RSVP count is through the roof! People enjoy food experiences. You can tell them that Thin Mints pair well with a chocolate stout, but they might not believe you until they actually try it. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a taste is probably worth a hundred thousand!

The other benefit of an event is that it allows you a lot of marketing possibilities… You’ll reach new eyes through RSVPs and check-ins on social media, you can Live Tweet the event (or even stream it on Periscope), and during the event you can take pictures and video that you can use in future marketing campaigns.

So how do you make this happen? First, think about what sort of food or drink would pair well with your product. Think about your favorite ways to enjoy your product, or how you’ve seen your customers pairing your product. Then look for a business that does that product well. Ideally, it should be a business you’ve already been buying from, so you can say, “Hey, I love to drink your X whenever I eat a dish of my Y. What if we hosted a pairing event?”

Of course, that’s only the first step. Beyond that you’ll have to choose a date and a venue and work out so many other details, more than I could ever hope to cover in a single blog post. But just think of the marketing possibilities! If you can stop thinking about delicious Girl Scout cookies and beer, that is.

-AJ

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