Thursday, February 9

Little Things Can Make A Big Difference

A good friend and fellow marketing devotee, Stan Phelps, just recently wrote a marketing book that I just love.  Love his concept!  He was gracious enough to allow me to contribute, and I am happy to give him center stage today to tell you all about it.  I love that his whole attempt is to set the experience bar even higher!   
What's your experience, Stan?  Jim.
What's Your Purple Goldfish? is a new book about differentiation via added value. Investing in marketing to customers through an exciting concept called “lagniappe.”  
Lagniappe (pronounced lan-yap) is a Creole word meaning “the gift” or “to give more.”  It’s a small gift given by a merchant at the time of purchase. An extra unexpected gift or benefit… something thrown in for good measure.  For today’s consumer value has become the new black. Marketing lagniappe is about putting your customers first by giving that “little extra” in order to exceed expectations through customer experience. The business benefit is threefold: Product Differentiation, Increasing Retention and Driving Positive Word of Mouth.
Let's look a couple of examples from the book that were submitted by Jim Joseph:

A personal touch from Lacoste makes all the difference

Last summer I was visiting Palm Beach with my son. Just looking to get a little R&R. Some friends who live nearby invited us out for dinner one night, which was great, but I hadn’t really packed anything appropriate for my fourteen year old son to wear.
So we went shopping in town, and of course he didn’t find anything
that he liked .. I figured that I would just make due, and we went
back to the pool.
Lacoste logoWhile we were sitting there he remembered a Lacoste shirt that he thought would be perfect. I was thrilled because he rarely cares how he looks and we were going to be visiting friends.
We didn’t have a car so we needed to take the hotel shuttle downtown, but I was afraid that we would get there too late. So I called the store only to find out that they were in fact closing for the day.
I guess the person on the other end of the phone could hear the
disappointment in my voice, and she asked me what was wrong.
Half way through my explanation, she interrupted me to ask me where we were staying. She offered to bring the shirt to us!
lacoste-polo-shirtSo I told her the size and color, which they had in stock, and in fact thirty minutes later she personally pulled up to the store to hand
deliver the shirt.
That was a wow. Totally made my night, and completely changed my perceptions of the brand. I am now a loyal consumer time and time again, especially for gift giving occasions. Maybe because every time I think of the brand I smile!
Clearly, the brand knows the importance of customer service in the
total experience and has made sure that they deliver on it at the
store level.
A true purple goldfish!”

H2O while you wait in line

jcrew bottle of water
J.Crew. I’m a huge fan, have been a for awhile. Brand experience is exceptional, always consistent whether you are at the store, online, or browsing the category. Distinct to each of those venues, but always J.Crew.
The shopping experience in store is particularly good. The sales staff all wear the clothing, so you can actually see how things will look. I’ve had many of them show me how to tie a tie the “just so cool way” they are wearing them, or how to role the cuffs up on a pair of jeans, or how to partner a pair of shoes with new khakis. This is in store, but they also offer a personal shopping service online as well.
I was at one of the Manhattan stores yesterday, and as you can imagine for a Saturday afternoon in December it was packed. Didn’t matter though, the service was impeccable. When I walked in the door, I was greeted by a salesperson. I immediately told her that I was looking for a purple jacket for my daughter …. she immediately took me to the back of the store to see three options. I went upstairs to the mens department where the service was just as good, despite the crowds.
With merchandise in hand, I proceeded to the registers where there was a huge long line. Here’s the kicker …. more sales people were working the line with buckets of small bottles of water for the people who were waiting. And helping select more items while people were in line.
That’s a purple goldfish!”
Giving little unexpected extras is not only good for improving overall customer experience. A recent marketing study showed that gifting increased the average purchase by up to 46%. 
How are doing the little things to exceed expectations? What's Your Purple Goldfish?

Stan Phelps

"The longest and hardest 9 inches in marketing . . . the distance between the brain and the heart"


  1. Thank you for the Lacoste story. I really enjoyed it. It reminded me of an experience I had recently. Unfortunately my outcome was much different. One of my friends gave birth on Valentines Day. I called the in-house gift shop at the hospital as everywhere else was sold out of flowers. I was thrilled to find out that not only were they open, but they still had flowers. Yay! Not. I asked the girl if I could please order a bouquet to be delivered (IN the hospital) and she actually told me NO because they were finished delivering for the day. Really??!! This is a very popular hospital in Hawaiʻi (in fact I was born there), and I will probably be sending many bouquets there in the future, however I will be sure none of them come from that store. I wont even buy a bottle of water there. Experience, experience!...Aloha.

  2. Thank you for the story. Its reminded me of an experience I had in my country.i went to McDonald
    with my friends on my birthday. i got my Hamburger with many birthday candles.My friends and Mcdonald'staff sang happy birthday song to me.i can not forget that day.and i got 15%off for that meal too!!!