Guest Post: Tying the bow is just as important as the gift by Stan Phelps

Guest post by Stan Phelps, Author of What’s Your Purple Goldfish? (launching 1/11/12)





Tying the bow is just as important as the gift

One the most effective ways to differentiate your product or service, improve satisfaction and drive positive word of mouth is through gifting. Giving little unexpected extras to exceed expectations. It’s not just giveaways, it’s smart business that can move the needle. A case study by the International Journal of Marketing Studies cited that customer who received “a small gift and a greeting” before purchase bought 46% more than the control group.

It is my contention that merely giving a gift is not enough. The way you give the gift and the little extras in delivery can make all the difference. Here’s a great quote that stresses its importance:

“The reality is that your competition is probably delivering a very similar product or service as your company. In order to separate your brand from the pack you have to provide extra value to punctuate the customer experience. The funny thing is that going beyond a customer’s expectation is not very difficult. Stan’s concept of marketing lagniappe in What’s Your Purple Goldfish? nails the principle and proves that ‘the bow’ is just as important as the gift. If your organization delivers beyond its product or service, that will motivate customers to share their positive experience with others. When you can cultivate customers to become custodians of your brand you will beat out your competitors and grow revenues.” Lou Imbriano

Let’s look at sports example from the Purple Goldfish Project (a collection of 1,001 examples of little extras) that illustrates this exact point:

Tampa Bay Lightning Surprises Season Ticket Holders With a Jersey That Keeps Giving

This story was shared by Lee Silverstein,

Not long after experiencing the joy of winning the Stanley Cup in 2004, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and their fans, experienced the frustration of a new ownership group that spent more time fighting amongst themselves then running the team.

That all changed when in February 2010, a new ownership group, led by billionaire hedge-fund manager, Jeff Vinik purchased the team. Vinik vowed to build both a winning team, and a winning fan experience; he has definitely put his money where his mouth is.

Over the summer the St. Pete Times Forum, home of the Lightning, underwent a $40m renovation, funded entirely by Vinik. The two biggest changes to the fan experience; however, was the addition of the world’s biggest digital theater organ and a new program that rewards season-ticket holders.

The Lightning’s new program for their season ticket-holders is the first of its kind in professional sports. All full season ticket holders received a home game jersey with their respective season ticket commitments.
tampa bag lightning STH jersey

In addition to the sweater’s distinct look, a microchip is inserted in the sleeve, thereby allowing season ticket holders to be identified at concession stands and merchandise shops throughout the St. Pete Times Forum. By scanning these embedded sleeves, fans receive a 25% discount on all concessions in the arena and a 35% discount on all merchandise purchased at the Times Forum during Lightning games.

Season ticket holders are the lifeblood of any successful franchise. Vinik’s move of giving a special jersey to these key fans was a good marketing play. Making it unexpected and adding the chip within a special badge on the sleeve was the act of “tying the bow.”

Are you giving little unexpected extras? If so – are you going the extra mile with the small details? Because “tying the bow” is just as important as the gift.

Stan Phelps is Chief Solutions Officer at Synergy Events. Synergy is an award winning experiential marketing agency specializing in the creation of signature brand experiences that accelerate business results. Stan believes the “longest and hardest nine inches” in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer.

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