The common logic goes something like this:
A product needs complete marketing focus to succeed.
Ancillary products don’t get complete marketing focus (or else they wouldn’t be considered ancillary).
Therefore, ancillary products can’t succeed.
If you’re trying to compare your ancillary stuff to your bread and butter, then you’re probably right – they won’t succeed. But I think you have to accept ancillary stuff for what it is – it’s low hanging fruit, a by-product, that you might as well make a few dollars on if it provides some added value to a customer. When you look at it this way, then it makes sense. However, if you start looking to an ancillary line of products to start producing bigger bottom-line figures, then you’ve got the wrong idea.
When I worked at AdvoCare, we struggled severely with selling a pretty amazing skincare line, Definite Difference. The product works great, the market was open to it, and women were ready for something that they could especially sell. But it never really took off – for various reasons – most important of which was the fact that consumers didn’t want an AdvoCare Distributor selling them skincare (usually). They wanted the AdvoCare Distributor to keep selling them what they were good at – weight loss, energy and performance.
The temptation when you have a really good product filling an ancillary role is that you think you can break it into stardom, out of the ranks of ancillary and into the ranks of major product line. This will rarely, RARELY happen, and going down that path will only weaken those areas of strength where you do excel.
Keep the main thing the main thing, and take ancillary products for what they are: extras that don’t deserve much attention. But don’t always get rid of them – they have their place.