Put a Little Lagniappe in Your Marketing Strategy

In honor of Mardi Gras taking place next Tuesday, let’s borrow a marketing lesson based on an old New Orleans tradition. Lagniappe (pronounced lan-yap) is a Cajun-French word meaning gift. In New Orleans, when businesses give their customers a little something extra, they call it a lagniappe.

The concept of lagniappe can be applied to a broad range of business types. A restaurant can surprise diners with an extra side dish or dessert. A hair salon can give away product samples. Car dealers can provide service customers with complimentary beverages and snacks in the waiting area as a lagniappe. The hotel or rental car agency that gives you a free upgrade is giving you a lagniappe. I myself give a lagniappe when I offer new clients a free consulting session.

Lagniappes make customers feel special, valued, and appreciated. The act of giving a gift also helps build relationships and drives repeat business. That’s because a gift creates a powerful sense of connection between the business owner and customer that stands apart from the dollar and cents of a transaction.

Think about lagniappes more as a business strategy than a specific object. A lagniappe isn’t a promotional item with your logo stamped on it that you hand out to all customers. Rather, it’s an opportunity to create a customized interaction with a customer by giving something extra. A lagniappe also can help you smooth out a rough spot in a customer relationship. If you were forced to keep a customer waiting longer than expected — consider making it up to them with a lagniappe.

A lagniappe doesn’t have to be a physical object — it can be an experience. It also doesn’t have to cost a lot, but it does have to be desirable. Lagniappes won’t exert their magical powers to connect you with customers if the gift lacks appeal.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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