What works in the military works in marketing… and that’s the unexpected!5 min read

If your customers expect you to give them a gift, then your gift will not be anything special. To make your gift special, surprise your customers by simply bringing some randomness to your tactics and gift giving. Your gift could be free shipping, upgrade to VIP, upgrade to business class, or even a free sample. I’m not saying you do this for every one of your customers (you will go broke if you do) but figure out what you could do for them and make it a part of your marketing campaign.

Some of you may be thinking you do this all the time. For example, you give your customers free shipping if they spend $50 or more. THAT’S NOT A GIFT! That’s money in your pocket. That’s a gift for you!! Now let me explain a bit more…

Around the end of November 2015, I received an email on LinkedIn from Red Bull:

They asked me to provide my mailing address and in return they would send a can of Red Bull. So I did. I didn’t get an email from them saying it’s shipped and I also don’t recall seeing anything on my screen after I submitted the form indicating when I should expect my Red Bull. The first couple of weeks I was waiting for my can of Red Bull but then I gave up and thought “OK Red Bull, you got my address for free and you never fulfilled your end of the deal.” Kinda heartbroken! (not really but let’s be a bit dramatic, it’s not costing me anything!) Time passed and I forgot that I had submitted the form.

Then came Wednesday, February 10, 2016, mid-week, when I was wishing the weekend would come sooner and also had a night class on M&A that I really didn’t want to go to. I see the postman dropping off a small package by my door. Lo and behold, it was the Red Bull I thought I would never get! A few things made this even better:

  1. On the can, it read: serve chilled. Well, it was ice cold when I received it as it was -5C outside. #Awesome
  2. It also came with a card that read: “Looking to redefine productivity?” – Well, as I said it was mid week and my energy level was at mid-level.
  3. I was about to leave the house and Red Bull gave me wings (not really… but gave me energy).

As I’m writing this, I realize that it only took CA$1.99+tax to make me happy and write a post for Red Bull on LinkedIn! And that’s the retail price… it cost Red Bull much less!! So make a note, your gift doesn’t have to be expensive to make your customer happy.

And what happens when you are happy? You want to tell the world! This is how word of mouth marketing works in the 21st century. The internet allows you to get in touch with your customers wherever they are and you can make them talk about you by simply spending pocket change. Use it to your advantage. Figure out where your customers hang out. Reach out to them. For Red Bull and their “increase your productivity” campaign, LinkedIn is the perfect spot.

I also noticed that I feel the same way when I order from Amazon. Aside from the fact that Amazon gave me a free upgrade to Amazon Prime because I’m a student (also happened unexpectedly), they deliver my purchases at least a day or two earlier than scheduled and expected. As a result, I go to Amazon first to see if I can make a purchase there rather than to go to a local store near me. The same will happen the next time I’m at a gas station and want to pick up a can of energy drink, I’d have the nice experience with Red Bull in my mind.

It doesn’t matter if you are selling detox tea, clothing, consulting services, or say you are a fitness trainer. Find out where your customers hangout. Make their day better by giving them something (free sample, information, help, etc.) and not ask for something in return right off the bat.  This is where 99% of sales people make a mistake, they start the conversation with I have XYZ, or I provide ABC… buy it from me. Remember receiving starts by giving. Is there a guarantee in receiving something back? Absolutely not. But you’ll never know what you could get back if you don’t try. You may have to give 20 times before you get something back but you will build a reputation for your business as the business that is looking out for the customer. The next time they or someone they know has a problem that you could solve, guess who they think of and recommend? YOU! Or the next time they want to order their detox tea, guess which brand they’re going to pick? YOURS!

You grow a brand by giving, sharing, and caring.

Here is the secret though, you have to give, share, and care authentically. As DJ Khaled would say, that’s #MajorKey to Success!!

I like to end this post by strongly suggesting listening to Jayson Gaignard’s Mastermind Talks Podcast, especially episode 50, “Why giving gifts this holiday season is an irreversible mistake”, and episode 11, “Creating a customer for life with Joey Coleman”. I’m sure you will be addicted to this podcast.

Disclaimer: I didn’t get paid for this post by Red Bull, Amazon, DJ Khaled, Jayson, or anyone else for that matter. I was merely excited to receive a can of Red Bull when I least expected!

By |2018-12-27T12:33:50-04:00February 15th, 2016|Marketing, Product Management, Sales, Social Media, Strategy|0 Comments

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