Dating Your Customer: How Can You Be More Thoughtful?

Seth Godin’s book “Free Prize Inside” came in a cereal box. That in and of itself is noteworthy. But that’s not why I remember it as fondly as I do. No, I remember it because the concept of a free prize (in marketing) is so compelling, I still see free prizes around me, years after reading the book. And I think of them as just that: a free prize.


A free prize is the dog biscuit the bank teller sends my pooch with my deposit slip when I go through the drive through…and the big guy is sitting in the backseat. A free prize is the employees’ choreographed dancing at Johnny Rocket’s. A free prize is the unexpected dish of ice cream you were just served by your waiter because it’s your birthday. (And another free prize was the birthday card from the restaurant that was waiting for me on the table!)


All of these free prizes say one thing: “We’re thinking about you and want to do something nice for you.” And that makes warm fuzzies that build customer royalty!


Free prizes happen in dating too, when the one you’re dating is thoughtful and shows he or she was thinking about you when not around you. Consider the man who frequented estate sales. He showed up one day with a cow shaped butter dish he’d found because he thought it would go with my kitchen. Thoughtful!!


Or the man who knew I needed a new toilet seat and didn’t have the nerve to actually buy me one (too personal?) but admitted when at the Home Depot he had thought about it. OK, no physical prize there, but that is really thoughtful! So the free prize is the thought!


In both cases, men I hardly knew were showing they were thinking about me when not around me. And that makes warm fuzzies in two ways: one, there’s the “prize,” and two, there’s the sweetness in knowing someone wants to do something nice for you.


Marketers, think of your marketing like dating. What do you offer customers as a free prize? Anything? And is it really a free prize or just a promotional giveaway that gives YOU warm fuzzies but not the customer?

If you were dating your customer, what little things would you do for her to show her you’re thinking about her?

Category: Marketing Is Like Dating · Tags:

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