#4 of 12 different types of Purple Goldfish (First / Last Impressions) – Chapter 15


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[Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing excerpts as we work towards completing the manuscript for ‘What’s Your Purple Goldfish?’. Today is Chapter 15, the fourth of 12 different types of Purple Goldfish]

The power of primacy and recency

One of the foundations of marketing lagniappe is the idea of leveraging primacy and recency. They say (whoever they are) that people tend to remember the first thing and the last thing they see. A ton of attention is paid to the importance of a first impression (primacy), but little is made of the last moment (recency). The concept of doing a little unexpected extra at the time of purchase is a recency strategy.

You never get a second chance to make a first or last impression. Translation: You need give the customer something to talk, tweet, blog, Yelp or Facebook about right before the leave, hang up or logout.

Let’s look at a handful of examples:

How does a hotel launch itself all the way to #6 on the Conde Nast Readers Choice Best List?

hotel murano purple goldfishAnswer: Lots of Amazing Glass and Service that’s First Class

Mark Brooks wrote an excellent post about the Hotel Murano on LostRemote.com. Here is an excerpt:

“A friend of mine, Brian Forth, recently made a reservation at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Washington. . . After making the reservation, Brian tweeted about how he was looking forward to having a staycation with his wife in honor of his birthday. When the couple entered the hotel, they were greeted by name and given an automatic upgrade at no charge. When they entered the room, they found a welcome package including gourmet cupcakes. Naturally, Brian tweeted some more about all the nice surprises.

Upon check-in, he inquired about whether the hotel shuttle would ferry he and his wife to a local steakhouse for dinner. Later, he posted the same question on Twitter. About 3 minutes afterward, the phone rang in his room and the concierge informed him that the shuttle would be available whenever it was needed.

So Brian tweeted again. And the culmination of those tweets, from [Brian] a respected local business owner, had arguably more marketing power than any local advertisement the hotel could have purchased with the money they spent making Brian and his wife happy. Think about it: the cupcakes cost $5, the rest of it was just awareness and hustle.”

Give them something to talk, tweet, post and Facebook about

Mark talked about how the Hotel Murano was just voted No. 6 on the Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice list. He went on further to state that this distinction has puzzled many of the locals, especially those in Seattle. So – how do they do it?

The proof is in the pudding . . . or maybe in the cupcakes. The companies who understand marketing lagniappe tend to get the little things right. Whether it’s greeting the a first time customer by name (they probably had Brian’s picture from his Twitter address @brainfroth), to a complimentary room upgrade or a shuttle ride . . . the Hotel Murano gets it.

By the way – in case you feel you might be missing out of those miles or points [a.k.a Ryan Bingham syndrome], just whip out another hotel loyalty card and the Hotel Murano will hook you up with some immediate swag. NICE!!!

Hotel Burnham Goes Above and Beyond to Get it Right

#141 in the Purple Goldfish Project was submitted by Mark True.

“On the two occasions I stayed there, The Hotel Burnham in downtown Chicago left me a bottle of wine and then a bottle of root beer with a personal note from the manager. The root beer was the second gift, after I thanked them for the wine and told them that I’m not a wine drinker after the first visit!”

[Nice personal touch by the Hotel Burnham . . . kudos for getting it right the second time around as a great lagniappe isn’t a ‘one size fits all proposition’]

What’s Your Cold Drink?

mountain view tire#605 in the Project is taken from a blogpost by Business Voice:

One of our many great clients is Mountain View Tire, a 29-store tire and automotive service company in southern California. The other day I was adding testimonials to the new website we just built for them when I saw this one:

“I wanted to make it known that I received exceptional service beyond anything I could have ever expected from your [store] in Burbank, California.

I was heading to Lebec, California and blew out my tire just north of Burbank. I called the Magnolia [Road] location and spoke with Leville Slayton. He dispatched Jacob Pomaville to my location where he retrieved the tire from my vehicle, brought it back to the store, replaced the tire, and repaired the wheel.

Amid this stressful situation, Jacob had a cold drink ready for me and, beyond that, actually purchased two jack stands from a nearby auto parts store, as neither one of us had them.

I wanted to share this story with you as it is a rarity, especially in the Los Angeles area. They have secured me as a new customer with their exceptional service and care.”

I know the folks at Mountain View Tire pride themselves on providing “the WOW experience” for their customers, but the fact that Jacob brought the stranded customer a cold drink just blew me away!

It shows that he was thoughtful enough to anticipate what the customer may have needed, given what he was experiencing: the flat tire, the hot sun, being stranded, the feelings of frustration! (You’ve probably been there. So think how you’d feel if Jacob showed up, not only to fix your tire, but with free refreshments!) The customer needed relief, both physically and emotionally, and Jacob was intuitive enough – or trained well enough – to understand and react to those needs.

Nothing calculated. Nothing out of the Mountain View marketing plan. Just a 99-cent bottle of water or pop that “secured me as a new customer. Perfect.

What about your company? How are you delivering “cold drinks” to your customers? Again, it’s not something that has to be “part of the plan,” but, for it to work on a sincere, memorable human level, the question “how can I best serve my customer today” needs to be part of your company’s DNA. When that question permeates your culture and your staff works every day to answer it, you’ll garner the type of loyalty and earn the good word of mouth that Mountain View Tire does.”

Surprise ‘thank you’ . . . your bill is half off

#355 in the Project is submitted via e-mail by Owen Clark:

arigato sushi rosevilleIn Owen’s words:

“In Roseville, CA Arigato offers half-priced sushi, all the time.

Started as a promotion when the place opened but business was so successful they never got rid of it. Even though I know it’s permanent it still makes you feel like your getting a great value every time you go in.

Especially because the menu still has the full-prices and you don’t really see the savings until you get the bill. Also, sushi is good enough that they could be charging a lot more.”

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: Half off everyday is a distinctive pricing model. It looks like this an ‘wink, wink’ in the know play. You only see the discount when your bill is presented. Talk about surprise and delight for a first timer.

Move over plain old mint . . .

Hard Rock Hotel Universal Orlando Resort#762 in the Project is taken from a post by Lou Imbriano:

Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Studios Orlando

“Another fun amenity of staying at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal is that instead of finding mints left on your pillow each night before bed, you discover guitar picks, funky bracelets, or smiley faced super balls, giving a new meaning to “have a nice day”.


bistro montageTucked under the Morrison Bridge in Portland is a restaurant that boasts a handful of purple goldfish. It comes in at #226 in the Purple Goldfish Project. Here are 3 of my favorites from Le Bistro Montage:

  1. A signature dish in Spam and Mac. Macaroni & Cheese with your favorite mystery canned meat. For a little lagniappe on the flavor . . . you can order it SPICY.
  2. Oyster and Mussel Shooters – slimy fellas served in a shot glass with some cocktail sauce and horseradish. Once ordered – the waiter or waitress will immediately scream to the kitchen . . . OYSTER SHOOOOOTER
  3. Your leftovers get wrapped up in tin foil. Move over balloon animal guy, the staff at the Bistro will WOW you with their animals. Check out this scorpion.

[Next Up is Chapter 16. ‘Guarantees’ – the fifth of 12 different types of purple goldfish]

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – Here is a 3 minute video discussing primacy and recency:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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