A lesson in giving a little extra from Soap Shed


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Be clear about giving your ‘little extra’ something and be consistent

A couple of great lessons in marketing lagniappe (’giving little unexpected extras’) from Karen Wylie. Karen talks about the importance of spelling out the ‘little extra’ so as not to cause confusion. The Blue Ridge Soap Shed lathers into the Purple Goldfish Project at #266. In her words:

“We are a 12 year old business and include gifts with every order we ship. We provide free samples with all web, phone and mail orders (about 4,000 orders a year), and the number of samples is based on the dollar value of the order.

First time customers were so unaccustomed to receiving something free, that we had to start labeling the gifts AS ‘gifts.’ When we didn’t, we estimate that 20-30% of new customers would call or email us worried that we made a mistake with their order. Some would ask how to return the extra product, others would state in very annoyed emails that they hoped they weren’t charged extra for it.

We quickly realized that our nice gesture had potentially negative consequences for us, because the free gift created a doubt or concern in some customers’ minds about their order, our business, or how we handled their order. So we adopted additional packaging and shipping procedures. All free items we provide now have a gold label that says ‘Thank You’ or ‘Enjoy this Gift’ or ‘With Our Compliments’ so there is NO QUESTION the item is free.

We initially started providing small samples to our web & mail customers as a marketing strategy. We would review a customer’s order, and include free samples of similar scents. Our free gifts have become quite a tradition, and something customers say they look forward to with each delivery. I don’t think this is a gesture we could ever stop making without incurring a negative or disappointing response from our very loyal customers.

Over the years, we extended our tradition to visitors to our retail shop because they asked why our mail order customers got something they did NOT. This required us to create a completely different set of procedures for providing free gifts in the face-to-face retail shop environment.”

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra) – Speaking of soap, here is a highlight reel from the Red Bull Soap Box Derby in Atlanta. The #2 pencil is my favorite:

Where is the lagniappe in your marketing? What’s Your Purple Goldfish?Download the FREE eBook here

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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