10/2/09

Nothing is for free!

There can be no life without death. No good deed goes unpunished. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And oh yeah, nothing is for free! Or is it? I was recently inspired by two businesses that I love (Maggiano’s and Chick-fil-a) to give something away for free. Maggiano’s gave away an iPhone a day in August, and the Chick-fil-a that I regularly visit in Colorado Springs is constantly giving away breakfasts and sandwiches for free. I was challenged by both of these companies to give something away for free, and to give away something that cost me something. So for two weeks in September I gave away our new Desperation Band CD, “Light up the World.” Here are the four things that I learned. The first big idea is that people love free things. While this isn’t rocket science; don’t we all love free things from the companies/organizations that we love? This weekend Taco Bell and Starbucks were giving away free stuff. In this economy it’s not like it’s hard to give away the things that people love! While there is some cost involved, giving away free stuff creates a wildfire. It’s not a media frenzy that anyone is really looking for, but for a viral spread of information via Facebook or Twitter. This isn’t easy, and it’s why you have to make the free promotion worthwhile. A free iPhone, a free lunch, a free CD, a free book, or whatever you give away for free make sure that it costs you something and is valued by your patrons. If so, they’ll do all of the work for you! Enron, AIG, and most of the major banks conjure up images of long-lasting customer loyalty…right!?! Wrong. Those companies foster feelings of anger, distrust, greed, and self-preservation. When you give something away for free you build relationships with your patrons. You create loyalty, excitement, and joy, and everyone needs a little something to lighten up their world these days, so give them something they love for free! A fire needs three things in order to maintain itself: spark, oxygen and fuel. Business’/organizations need three things in order to stay in business: product, client and buzz. Without one of those three things, an organization cannot survive. So what are you doing to maintain your business? Are you creating a fire, maintaining a fire, or letting the fire die? Rekindle the fire, develop and create a passion not only for your business but for your clientele. Love on them!
People will ultimately love you for loving on them. I was genuinely taken aback by the response that we received from giving away just fifteen CD’s. The gratitude that I received made me only want to give away more in the upcoming months as we approach our biggest events. I guess that’s what happens when you give away something that costs you something, gratis does what money and greed could not do for Enron and AIG. Nothing is for free, but something for free is better than nothing.

2 comments:

Kendal Franks said...

It's not just giving something away for free - everyone does that. The key is that the Chick-Fil-A's give stuff away without any catch whatsoever. The Subways and Burger Kings of the world always have FREE SANDWICH (with purchase of 12 sandwiches at regular price), but its the seeming altruism of Chick-Fil-A that truly builds customer loyalty. Great thoughts here!

Oh, and that's funny you also had George Bolling. He's an interesting fellow.

Justin Steinhart said...

Right...something for free without a catch!