Monday, July 16, 2012

A Whale of a Tale

“No woman should work this hard on her birthday!”

That was just one of the many comments that I heard while talking with customers in line at the Olde Creek Store in Dawson Creek last week. The mood was positively festive! Customers were smiling, and not one bit concerned about having to wait a wee bit during the busier moments throughout the day.

What began in 2004 as a unique way for store owner, Tanya Machula, to celebrate her 40th birthday (a birthday that many of us wish to forget), has become a highly anticipated annual event. You see…..that first year Tanya didn’t just give 20% off, or even 30% off…..instead she offered her customers a whopping 40% off! For the past 8 years that percentage has grown in direct relation to Tanya’s age and last week the sale was 48% off storewide.

Tanya’s Birthday Sale is a perfect example of something called “Lagniappe” (pronounced Lan Yap)

What the heck is lagniappe? Let me explain…two years ago I stumbled across a very cool website by Stan Phelps. His blog was all about this strange thing called “Lagniappe” and something that he called his “Purple Goldfish Project”. I was intrigued.

Phelps defined Marketing Lagniappe or Purple Goldfish as any time a business goes above and beyond to provide a little something extra for the customer. He also described it as Marketing G.L.U.E. (Giving Little Unexpected Extras). The blog was filled with great examples of Marketing Lagniappe and his book, “What’s Your Purple Goldfish? How to Win Customers and Influence Word of Mouth” will definitely make you think.

The concept resonated with me so deeply that I have never forgotten about it. In fact, I watch for examples of Purple Goldfish wherever I go and if I see a cool one…I either blog about it or tweet about it.

Tanya’s sale is wonderful example! In fact, it is the WHALE of a Purple Goldfish!

And the best part? Tanya’s unique marketing approach isn’t another fish story….it is authentic, it is sincere… is real.

Even more unusual is her marketing approach for the annual sale. There is no designated twitter hashtag, no radio ad campaigns….she shares the information via facebook, an email newsletter and signage at the store.

I particularly loved the sign at the store entrance titled, “Tanya’s Birthday Sale Rules”. The last rule was: “Have fun and be gentle with other customers”.

“Gratitude is an attitude” and when business owners live that statement each and every day, Marketing Lagniappe can come easily.

Other great examples of lagniappe:

·   Being served a free beverage or appetizer while waiting in line at your favourite restaurant;

·   A note or a treat waiting in your room at a hotel where you have previously stayed;

·   Dealerships who clean your car (inside & out) when you bring it in for servicing;

·   A hotel which offers a safety check-in for those guests who like to go for a solitary jog in the a.m. or p.m.;

·   A dental office which allows you to “plug in” your ipod or iphone and listen to your own playlist during your appointment (music can assist with anxiety)

Have I got you hooked on looking for Purple Goldfish? If you see one, you can always go to and share it on the Purple Goldfish Project page. While you are there, take a minute and read through all of the others that have been submitted. They are pretty amazing!

1 comment:

Cristeen said...

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