Graham McGregor

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Graham McGregor: Lagniappe Marketing

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A little unexpected extra can be a great marketing strategy. Photo / Thinkstock
A little unexpected extra can be a great marketing strategy. Photo / Thinkstock

A little unexpected extra can be a great marketing strategy.

Lagniappe is pronounced LAN yap.

Lagniappe is a word that is used primarily in southern Louisiana and southeast Texas and refers to an "unexpected something extra."

Lagniappe is giving your customer a little unadvertised, unexpected, unasked-for 'extra'.

This little extra is often remembered long after the purchase. It could be an additional doughnut (as in "baker's dozen"), a free "one for the road" drink, or possibly a complimentary dessert for a regular customer.

Here are some examples of businesses that used lagniappe and as a result got clients recommending them to a lot of other people:

The Car Dealer and the movie tickets:

I bought a new car from a car dealer over 20 years ago. Three weeks after my purchase I received two free movie passes from the car dealer; along with a note thanking them for their business.

I told all the people I knew about the delightful little added value bonus from this car firm. I also went back two years later and bought another car from the same firm.

The Dentist and the phone call:

I was on holiday in another town a few years ago and had a tooth ache. I went to a local dentist who fixed the problem. What was unusual was this same dentist phoned me that night in my hotel to make sure I was okay. They also phoned me a few days later, when I was back in my home town, just to make sure they were fine. This person was very impressed with this great follow up service and has told dozens of people about their unusual experience.

The appliance shop and the pot plant:

There is a very successful appliance shop that does something very simple. Several days after you buy an appliance from them, they courier out to you a beautiful pot plant and a lovely thank-you note. The owner is making sure you tell everyone about your positive experiences dealing with his store. Their clients rave about their unexpected free gift. It generates a lot of referral and repeat business for them.

The Chinese takeaway and the paper bag:

There was a Chinese Take-away owner who used to include something free with every order a customer placed. He would put it in a small bag and write "free" on the outside. Many people enjoyed going to this takeaway just to see what the free offer would be each time. It only cost the take away owner a few cents to give away something free and it made his business special to his customers.

The Car Dealer and the personalised Desk Calendar


One car dealership sends their clients a personalised desk calendar that has a lovely colour photo of the customer sitting in their new car. Customers love this unique memento and often keep it on their desk. This leads to other people picking it up and talking about it. So this simple added value gift often results in further business for the car dealership.

Here's the reason for giving you these examples of Lagniappe:

When you consistently use lagniappe with all your customers and clients you will turn many of these people into hardworking and loyal salespeople for your business.

They will actively recommend your business to many of the people they know.

You will also generate a large amount of repeat and referral business from these same clients and customers because they now feel valued and special

Action Exercise:
Write a list of 5-10 simple ways that you could provide 'lagniappe' to your clients. Use some of these in the next few weeks.


'A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.'
Michael LeBoeuf

Graham McGregor is a marketing consultant and the creator of the 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage Report.' www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com (This is free and has now been read by business owners from 27 countries.) You can email Graham on graham@twomac.co.nz

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