Thursday, October 22, 2009
Delight is in the timing
Fresh on top of a project we’re currently working on - to make devoted fans of casual customers - comes a real life and quite delicious demonstration.
After an evening at Miami Ad School, I met up with star Miami alum Bobby Appleby for a bite. (BTW, Bobby is fresh out of Fallon, and one of the best hires I ever made. He’s damn good. Hire that man!)
We went to Black Sheep Pizza on Washington. My first time. Great coal oven-fired pizzas, short and sharp beer list, sassy service.
At the end of the meal, our waitress brought over the bill, and with a flourish and a grin, she announced that it was the restaurant’s first anniversary, so the pizza was on them.
Maybe it was the amount of beer I’d consumed, but I was suddenly madly in love with the place.
They had kept their anniversary a secret all evening. There was no sidewalk sign hawking celebratory deals. They apparently hadn’t even announced it in advance to regular customers. It was just a gift they loved presenting to whoever was lucky enough to be there that night. And who knows what effect it had on the wait staff - and consequently the atmosphere - knowing that at the end of every meal, they were going to get to be Santa.
How cool is that?
Advertising a special night would have no doubt crammed the room full of bargain seekers. (They were packed anyway, late on a Tuesday.) It would have been a hectic and perhaps not very comfortable customer experience. They’d have given away tons of free pizza. And everyone would have gotten exactly what they were expecting - freebies.
Instead, they made it a surprise. A secret shared between me and them. They won a fan. All through timing.
So, if you’re considering using offers to entice new customers, cool. But see if you can keep a little something in reserve, and drop it on your new customers when they least expect it.