I've been in marketing for a while, but I had never come across this term -- lagniappe. So I was curious. Apparently 'lagniappe' (pronounced 'lan yap') is a creole word that means "the gift." It refers to a small unexpected gift given by a storeowner to customers at the time of purchase. Turns out, there is a guy trying to accumulate 1,000 lagniappes for an ebook. You can go to his website and contribute to his story about how these gifts really enhance customer experiences and build customer loyalty.
He cites examples that you may be familiar with, such as the warm cookies given to customers at Doubletree Hotels or the free peanuts at Five Guys restaurants.
I'm intrigued by these stories and totally agree -- these can make a huge difference in a customer relationship. In our company we offer forums and other services at no charge. It's not why our clients come to us, but I know they enjoy them and definitely find them very useful.
The obvious question is, "What's yours?" What is your company doing that is a little extra gift? However, the not so obvious questions I wonder are, "Do your people feel they can offer these gifts? Do they see it as their job to do extra things that enhance customer experiences? Or do they just follow the manual?"
I'm guessing the companies that are most focused on their customers are issuing marketing lagniappes routinely in a broad variety of ways. And, I am also guessing they are outperforming their competition.