The Goldfish Rule: Love your customers and employees as yourself. Give more than expected. Be remark-able


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The Goldfish Rule for Customers and Employees

9 INCH marketing was founded in 2008 on the belief that “differentiation via added value” can be a game changing marketing strategy. Our aim is to shift the marketing paradigm. For far too long, the overwhelming majority of marketing has fixated on the eyes and ears of the prospect. Not enough has been focused on creating experiences that drive referrals by reaching the heart of your customers and employees. The Goldfish Rule is about being so remark-able that people can’t help but talk about you. That if you exceed expectations and absolutely delight someone – they will not only come back, but they’ll bring their friends.

The Goldfish Rule venn diagram

Philosophy of The Goldfish Rule

Businesses think that the best way to grow sales is to find new customers. Actually, the best way to grow sales is to increase the lifetime value of existing customers.

Happy existing customers benefit your business in at least three ways:

  1. They buy more from you.
  2. They buy more frequently from you.
  3. They tell more of their friends to buy from you.

How do you make existing customers happier? You realize that, from the customers’ standpoint, there’s no such thing as “meeting expectations.” Your only two options are to deliver less than they’d like, or more than they’d like. Choose “more.”

The way to accomplish “more” is through added-value. The Goldfish Rule, which is based on a time-tested loyalty strategy, works by giving customers unexpected extras. Those extras improve the brand, drive loyalty, and promote referrals. (Related post: Marketing GLUE can increase sales by 40%)

Referrals are key. Referred customers are four times more valuable than customers acquired by other means. Why? A referred customer spends twice the amount of money and refers twice the number of customers than non-referred customers do.

The Goldfish Rule — and the strategy of giving existing customers more than they expected — isn’t new. Leading companies, such as Apple, Doubletree, Five Guys, Southwest, Wells Fargo and Zappos have leveraged such gift-economy principles for years to create customers for life. (Slideshare: Traditional Marketing is Dead, Long Live the Customer)

The Goldfish Rule also applies to employees. When organizations give employees little unexpected extras, those extras drive engagement and reinforce the desired culture. Employees are happier, more productive, stay longer, and are excited to spread word to friends (who may themselves become employees).

Bottom line: Adhere to The Goldfish Rule. Stop spending dollars on chasing prospects. Instead, focus on giving customers and employees more than expected. Giving more builds loyalty to your brand, which translates into increased sales, word of mouth, engagement, and productivity.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – The Goldfish Rule should not be confused with the Golden Rule. An although there are three ways to leverage The Goldfish Rule (Purple, Green and Gold), it should never be confused with a 3-way. Maybe I should just let Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga and Andy Samberg explain it:

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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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