Is giving your product away an effective marketing tactic?

I got a free box of donuts yesterday.

I went through the Krispy Kremes drive through, and when the friendly voice asked me what I wanted, I asked if they could make a recommendation, since it was my first time there. They gave me some ideas, I ordered, and pulled up to the window, card in hand.

But when I got there, the owner of the friendly voice was already leaning out with my box. He said, “Since it’s your first time here, these are on the house.”

It really made my day; and as I drove away I thought, “I am definitely coming here again.”

And, last Saturday morning the Chick-fill-A hot air balloon touched down in my neighborhood. I thought it must have been due to some sort of malfunction, but it turns out they were visiting different areas and passing out gift cards for free meals. Guess where I went for dinner that night?

Giving away your product/service may seem like a foolish tactic, but done in the right way it can yield tremendous results. I went to Krispy Kremes on the recommendations of friends. But I went away thinking they were the best donut shop in the world…and I hadn’t even tasted their donuts yet. On Saturday I changed my dinner plans to eat at Chick-fill-A, and I took friends with me. I’ve told at least 3 people about my experience with both businesses (and now I’ve told you, as well).

For Kirspy Kremes and Chick-fill-A, that’s one loyal customer and some free word-of-mouth publicity; not a bad return for the cost of a couple of donuts and a grilled chicken salad.

Have you ever had an experience that shaped how you think about a company? How did it change your perception? Share with us!

Written by Eliza Fry