Top B2B examples from the Purple Goldfish Project including FedEx, Disney and Wufoo


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Leading brands that give a “little extra” BtoB

Special thanks to Derek Bildfell for inspiring this post. I had a chance to connect with Derek at the CXPA Member Information Exchange in San Diego.

In Derek’s words:

I haven’t seen alot of B2B Lagniappes, but I did teach the concept to my daughters Lemonade stand on the weekend!! What are your best B2B examples?”

B2B examples are more infrequent, but I scanned the 1,001 + purple goldfish to find some noteworthy examples in this slideshare:

Here they are by category:

#1. Throw-ins (value) – little extras that are included with your product or service. They help you stand out in a “sea of sameness.”


#249. Submitted by EJ Kritz

Cartridge World

“To begin, we’re in the business of refilling and remanufacturing printer cartridges. We offer a free delivery service to our business customers during which time plenty of things can happen opening the door for added value.

For example, if we’re delivering a cartridge for a laser printer but the businesses fax machine is on the fritz, it’s only natural and fitting that we’ll do anything we can to help get their fax back up and running. Similarly, many of our franchises keep a “toner vac” in their delivery vehicle. This vacuum is specially designed to handle the fine particles in toner. It’s a HUGE benefit to our customers (as silly and small as it sounds) to bring in the toner vac for a complimentary cleaning of their laser printer before we put in their new cartridge. This service is the printer equivalent of getting a free car wash each time you get a tank of gas… it doesn’t help your car run better but it sure does make you feel good.

The last example is something almost universal regardless of which Cartridge World franchise you visit. It’s quite simple actually. Each and every business delivery comes complete with a Tootsie Pop. _You see, purchasing our product is all about saving money. However, typically the person saving the money (the business owner) is not the same person taking the delivery (the office manager). This little token makes everyone smile in the middle of a busy day! In fact, many of our owners could even tell you the favorite flavor of pop for each of their top customers. Simple, and yes, sweet.”

dancing elephant

#247. Submitted by Laura Posey (@lauraposey)

Dancing Elephants

I’m a strategic consultant with clients all over the country. After our first consulting session, I send them a book that is hand-picked based on the area they need help with. Each month I send another book to keep them focused on what they really want to accomplish. The books are not part of the consulting they buy, but rather an extra surprise each month.”

#2. In the Bag / Out of the Box (value) – little unexpected things that are added as a surprise.


#446 and #461.

Free FedEx ground shipping with your order. Plus, according to article by Ron Green Jr. at the Charlotte Observer:

They remember the mints

When boxes of golf shirts and shorts and other high-end menswear are shipped from the Peter Millar office and warehouse, the packing list includes mints.

When customers unpack their orders, they are struck by three things: The quality of what they’ve ordered; each item comes out of the box in the order it’s listed on the packing sheet; and, mints are included for the pleasure of it.

It’s a little thing but this year when a few boxes arrived short of mints (they ran out briefly), phone calls started coming.

At Peter Millar, located in a low-profile office park on the southwest edge of Raleigh, the attention to detail, commitment to quality and a North Carolina-grown appreciation of classic menswear has helped catapult the company into one of the hottest brands on the market, particularly for golfers.

#590. Submitted by Jack Campisi

Schlesinger Associates


Jack’s SWAG bag

Schlesinger Associates is known in the market research world as a premier focus group facility. They are also a Purple Goldfish. They are famous for top notch service and recruiting, state of the art facilities and for just plain doing things right. Recently I went to a seminar in their New York facility and I was pleasantly surprised with a little lagniappe. Everyone from the seminar left with a gift bag full of gifts. I’ve seen swag before, but this was surprise and delight in action, because it seems like there was an endless supply of treats. There were a lot of the things you might find at a trade show booth and some notable exceptions. There were a variety of branded pens, candy, sticky pads, lip balm, mini-flashlight, first aid kit, information packet and a very nice journal. But wait, there’s more. The grand finale in this goodie bag was a bag of Garrett caramel popcorn. If I was not overwhelmed by the abundance of thoughtful and useful items in the bag, now I have a delicious treat to look forward to. And its a big bag. They don’t pull any punches. Schlesinger Associates already does enough to warrant their reputation, but it’s little extras like this and a commitment to exceeding expectations that generates loyalty and buzz. And it works. See? I’m generating some word of mouth right now.”

#3. Sampling (value) – give your customer an additional taste by offering a free “little extra” on the house.

#339. From Paul Chaney – Conference Call Unlimited

The company went above and beyond by acknowledging my business by giving me a handcrafted chocolate bowl for the holidays. The next year they gave a donation to a school who was affected by Katrina in my name. One year during Thanksgiving the company gave everyone (customers and non customers) one hour of free conference call with up to 50 family members

#4. First & Last Impressions (value) – you have two chances to make an impression. When your customer comes through the door and right before they walk out, hang up or log off. These “little extras” make you memorable and more importantly talkable.


Image Brew

#941. Submitted by Lauren Sujkowski this story via Twitter:

Like that @ImageBrew stays on brand and gives clients their own beer. Better than a business card. Check out the video here:


Lightspan Digital

Hi! I love your purple goldfish project and I’d like to share with you my purple goldfish.

I recently started a small social media and email marketing business in Chicago, Lightspan Digital. I work with small businesses to get them started with social media, or to help them find that big idea that will take their digital marketing to the next level. Most of my clients aren’t technical at all, may be a bit skeptical about Social Media and are looking for very clear, simple and direct guidance. To help them I developed the Daily Twitter Workout and the Twikies, which I give out for free.

The Daily Twitter Workout is a simple checklist of five daily activities, such as retweet two tweets, chat with two new tweeps, always say thank you, etc., to help any beginner get into a Twitter routine.

But my most successful purple gold fish is the Twitter cookie, aka the Twikies. These are custom-made chocolate-dipped fortune cookies that contain marketing messages. They are fun to look at, tasty, and informative, plus they get people excited to discuss and know more about their marketing tips. People absolutely love them.”

ipad4_2Prime Genesis

#968. Submitted via e-mail by George Bradt:

“We’re trying to do our own lagniappe with our app. When we complete a new job prep session to help someone create a 100-day action plan as part of a full assignment, we now ask the client if they have an iPad. If they do, we help them download our New Leader Smart Tools app. Pretty straightforward. The fun part comes if they do not have an iPad. In that case, I reach into my briefcase and pull out a brand new iPad, pre-loaded with the app, and give it to them. They don’t expect it. It’s immediately relevant. Not unique, but definitely rare. Authentic in that it’s completely in line with our whole concept of accelerating things to deliver better results faster.”

[Editors Note: George and his partners are pioneers in a concept called onboarding. His team works with new C-Level Executives to establish and implement 100 day action plans. He has been able to reduce the attrition rate of new executives from 40% to 10% and accomplish in 100 days what normally takes 6 to 12 months]

#5. Guarantees (value) – giving your customers that “little extra” pledge that you’ll stand behind your product or service.

fedex purple promise green and purple goldfish

FedEx has the purple promise.

#6. Pay it Forward (value) – give a “little extra” back to the community.

microInsighting Ideas

#420. From Wayne Cerullo of Insighting Ideas ‘The Customer Connection Company’

We seek to support business that has a beneficial impact on society. Micro-finance of third-world entrepreneurs is an excellent way to do this. We have a policy of making a $100 donation to a micro-finance group for each project we complete in the name of our client. But rather than allocate the funds ourselves, we bring this point alive by involving the client in the process. We leave the choice of making the online selection which specific individual they want to equip up to them.”

#7. Follow-up (maintenance) – make the “little extra” follow up or say thanks to your customer.


Taken from Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, “Thank You Economy“:

#770. Wufoo – the online HTML form developer sends handwritten thank you notes, sometimes crafted out of construction paper and decorated with stickers

#8. Added Service (maintenance) – the “little extra” that’s an added unexpected service.

hanes bouquet

Photo Credit: Chris Brogan Flickr

#228. From the blog of [Chris Brogan]


Custom is everything. Look at these flowers. The Disney Imagineers made them for the Hanes event. They’re made out of socks. First, it’s cool because they look like flowers. Second, it looks like a fun craft you could do with kids. Third, it’s something that didn’t have to be there. And yet, because it was, the dinner looked custom to the rest of the Hanes Comfort Crew and me. Disney SAW us. They knew we were there.”

#9. Convenience (maintenance) – what “little extra” can you add to make things easier for your customers.


Had lunch today at Salute in New York City (270 Madison Ave). Nice upscale restaurant that caters to a business crowd. Upon sitting at the table I noticed a purple goldfish. Each table came with a tiny notepad similar to those you would get at a conference or hotel. It was for notes if needed during lunch. The small pad was branded with Salute’s marks and contact info. A nice little keepsake compliments of the restaurant.”

#10. Waiting (maintenance) – all customers hate to wait. If it’s inevitable, how can you do a “little extra” to make it more bearable.

UPS offers a tracking app.

#11. Special Needs (maintenance) – acknowledging that some customers have needs that require special attention.

#296. From Mark Weinstein

imagesSNY – While working with one of our signature partners this year, we went above and beyond to aid them in delivering their targeted, time sensitive brand message to our viewers.

In order to deliver the specific dates and information to fans watching their favorite team on TV, we produced weekly billboards, that included a live read by our on-air talent, driving viewers to the clients designated website.

Was this in their deal points or their contract? No. We provided this strictly as added value and as a good way to show our partner that we cared as much about their initiatives and goals as they did by using some of our most valuable inventory as bonus to aid in their cause. We went above and beyond.

#12. Handling Mistakes (maintenance) – admitting that your wrong and doing the “little extra” above & beyond to make it more than right.

NO EXAMPLES from the Project that are technically B2B, so I’ll share one of my favorites:


Nurse Next Door

From the book, “Customer Love”:

Humble Pie. When this Canadian home health care service provider stumbles . . . they deliver a fresh baked apple pie and a note apologizing for poor customer service. Each year they spend about $1,500 on pies, but they estimate it saves about $100,000 in business going elsewhere. That sounds like pretty strong ROI as 65% of customers that take their business elsewhere do so because of poor customer service.”

Any other good B2B examples to share?

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – Interested in learning more about What’s Your Purple Goldfish. Here’s a downloadable executive summary of the book on Scribd:

What’s Your Purple Goldfish? Executive Summary by Stan Phelps

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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