Small Business Development Center

If It Is Free - It's Me!

If It Is Free - It's Me!


Eric Grimstead

Sometimes marketing can be easy.

Here at the SBDC our staff has been enjoying going through Seth Godin's The Marketing Seminar (highly recommended BTW)

In one our our learning modules, Seth was explaining how sometimes marketing can be easy - like 'selling' dog food to a hungry dog.

Or how if you're gasping for breath and someone happens by at the opportune moment with a gas mask, you're not likely to ask 'how much' or 'is it made from all natural materials'.

Those are easy examples right - but how hard does marketing really have to be?

I would like to suggest not too hard.

What's that you say, you want another real world example?


Today while I was out visiting a client at their location our meeting was pleasantly interrupted by a Jimmy John's delivery guy. He was canvassing the businesses and dropping off free sample sandwiches! While they were not full size subs they were certainly enough to be considered a light lunch or decent snack (it was around 10:30 am)...perfect time to wet the appetites of potential lunch hour customers.

This is the third time I have had the good fortune to be on the receiving end of a Jimmy John's sampling effort. They stopped by our SBDC office during the holiday season. They stopped by Overflow Taps Barkley location during their grand opening when I just happened to be there. And now today's meeting crasher.

Maybe it's all that clean living catching up with me...or more than likely, an indication that Jimmy John's gets it when it comes to marketing and is willing to hustle for business by delighting people first before ever asking for an order.

Being the marketer that I am I had to ask, 'how does this sampling effort work out for you?' He responded that it works VERY well.

The lesson for today: Ask yourself, how might you be able to delight your potential customer before ever asking for an order?

Can you offer a free sample? Or at the very least a low-cost but high perceived value offering?

I'm sure you can, but if you'd like some help brainstorming ideas...give us a call here at the SBDC, maybe we'll get lucky and the Jimmy John's guys will stop by:-)

Authored by: Eric Grimstead