The Gift Economy

I stopped at a Starbucks that had just opened a block from my house not too long ago. Unbeknownst to me, they were having a “grand opening special!” Not only was my coffee free, but they packed a tetra pack of 10 cups of coffee for me to take back to my office for free. I was absolutely blown away by the generosity of this Starbucks.

Not long after my Starbucks experience, I noticed a billboard for McDonalds, who in an attempt to capture a larger piece of the enormous coffee market and attract more morning visitors, was offering free coffee to all patrons every morning for 2 weeks (with no purchase necessary).

These are potentially expensive examples, but look around, we are living in a “gift” economy where free is becoming the new norm but it doesn?t have to cost a lot of money. Knowledge, information and downloads are readily available on websites to help consumers make educated decisions on which products and/or services they wish to purchase and most importantly, from whom they wish to purchase them from.

We also need to remember that it’s often the little things that make the biggest difference. We need to take the time to get to know our customers, and deliver value that is relative to them and their lives. Creating positive memorable experiences for your customers does not have to cost a fortune. It requires a little more research up front, so in the long run you will have created a group of cheerleading customers who can’t wait to tell their friends about you!

Take a look at this 3 minute clip on how a bell hop at a boutique hotel was creating priceless, memorable experiences without it costing a penny.

Enjoy, and make it count.

Richard Robbins