What’s your marketing lagniappe?

Shutterstock_42375907 My blogging buddy Stan Phelps has always preached the word of having a "marketing lagniappe."  He wrote about it in a guest post back in April and now he's decided to write a book on the topic.

In short, lagniappe (pronounced lan-yap) is a creole word, originating in Louisiana and literally translated means 'the gift.''  It refers to a small unexpected extra gift or benefit presented by a store owner to a customer at the time of purchase. The people of Louisiana have embraced the term and have broadened the definition to include any time a little something extra is given.

Stan's point is that every company should have some lagniappe in their culture, brand and marketing efforts. 

Here's the recipe for creating a marketing lagniappe:

Here are the four main ingredients:

  1. Unexpected – the extra benefit or gift should be a surprise.  It is something thrown in for good measure.  Think 'surprise and delight'.
  2. Relevant – the item or benefit should be of value to the recipient.  Make sure that the item or service is a true benefit.  It shouldn't be a one size fits all proposition.
  3. Unique – if it's a small token or gift, try to select something that's rare, hard to find or unique to your business.  
  4. Authentic – many times it comes down to the gesture.  It becomes more about 'how' it is given, as opposed to 'what' is given. The small gift or extra communicates that you care about your client and you appreciate their patronage.

Let me give you a few examples from the McLellan Marketing Group culture:

Fresh baked cookies:  If you come to a meeting at MMG, you're going to be served warm (fresh from the oven) M&M cookies.  An added dash of double lagniappe — the M&Ms in the cookies are only the three colors (purple, green & orange) from the MMG logo. 

Who Loves Ya Baby Day?  For years, we've had an internal celebration for Valentine's Day called Who Loves Ya Baby Day (think Telly Savalas for those of you old enough to remember Kojak).  Now — we share that celebration with our MMG clients.  On Valentine's Day — each client receives a special Valentine's treat with a note from us — telling them how much we love them.  Yup — love them.  If we don't love them, we don't want to work with them.

Charity Adoption:  Every year, as an agency we put out an RFP (last year we have over 50 applicants) and adopt a charity for an entire year.  We ask some of our vendors to join us and in total, the charity will receive over $100,000 of marketing counsel, design, help and stuff. 

Marketing lagniappes can't be artificially manufactured.  They need to come from the heart (see #4 from the list above).  It's about actually wanting to go above and beyond.  It works because it's genuine. 

Stan is looking for some examples to put in his book.  And I'm betting that many of the Marketing Minute readers (that's you!) have either done or seen some great examples of marketing lagniappe.  

Check out this PPT presentation (be sure to watch the short video embedded in the middle as well) and then if you have some examples — reach out to Stan and share.

Why not tell the world what you're up to?  Or give someone else some props for their marketing lagniappe?  And as you've been reading this, if you've realized that you can't point to something that you're doing to give that "little gift" — I'm hoping that's making you feel a little uncomfortable. 

If you won't make your clients feel special and appreciated…someone else will.

Meanwhile…why not tell us here in the comments the best marketing lagniappe you've ever received?  I'd love to hear some!

P.S.  By the way…I think you can and should have some marketing lagniappe tricks up your sleeve for your employees as well.

Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

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