Give and Receive
Recently, a friend of mine who was visiting Vancouver saw a local businessman buy a meal for a homeless person. The next day he was heading to Starbucks to grab a coffee and noticed a street person standing outside. Remembering what he witnessed the day before, my friend brought the stranger into the coffee shop and bought him some breakfast. The barista was so impressed she comped him his coffee.
When was the last time you gave someone something they wanted or needed that they weren’t expecting? Whatever you did, I bet it felt pretty good, didn’t it?
We’ve all heard that it’s better to give than to receive and many of us believe and practice giving because it makes us happy – it connects us and makes us more human. So it’s no wonder scientific studies have supported that premise along with some of the most inspirational people on the planet. So “giving feels great” is a given, but don’t underestimate the rewards in receiving. As they say, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” So if you like to give, you need to also humbly receive so your cup of kindness can be replenished.
Receiving leads to more giving, so it’s time for publishers and businesses to add “Give and we shall receive” to their customer experience strategy to grow reach and revenues.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi
The power of reciprocity
Studies have shown that when people receive a free gift, they respond in a number of different, often unconscious ways. Most feel a real sense of indebtedness towards the giver – a reaction coined as the reciprocity principle. They feel a genuine need to return the favor despite the fact that they never asked for the gift to begin with. And so when they receive a subsequent request from the benefactor, the beneficiary is more likely to reciprocate.
We’ve all seen it many times and it never seems to get old…
• Free samples at supermarkets are rampant throughout many stores for good reason - they help boost sales, often from people who had no intention to buy the product when they walked in the store.
• Being offered a glass of champagne while shopping at a high-end designer store makes paying for the expensive fashions more enjoyable and easier as the alcohol helps loosen the purse strings.
It also gets the gift-of-gab going. Journal of Marketing published a study that demonstrated a few interesting statistics about on/offline Word of Mouth (WOM):
• People who received a product for free increased WOM by 20%
• Receipt of freebies related to a product resulted in a 15% increase
• Coupons and rebates had virtually no effect on WOM
When done strategically, this psychologybased marketing tactic can be a powerful instrument in the acquisition of new customers and development of deeper, longer lasting relationships with existing ones. Just make sure that you…
• Offer a gift unconditionally and make sure they know exactly where it came from
• Follow up later to reconnect with the receiver
• Maintain the feeling of indebtedness by continuing to give
Sound simple? It is, so don’t overthink it. Presenting a “try before you buy” (i.e. free trial) offer won’t instill a feeling of obligation on the part of the user. Give without strings and follow up at a later date with the user to maximize your opportunity to receive your just rewards.
Here’s one easy and effective gifting example.
Imagine you’re a young millennial on your way to meet up with some friends at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. As you get close to the front entrance, you suddenly receive an alert on your phone that the hotel wants to give you a free issue of Esquire magazine.
At first you’re wondering how they would know about you to alert you – you’ve never stayed at that hotel. You’ve stayed at other hotels that offered sponsored access to magazines and newspapers, but never at the Fairmont. But that question quickly leaves your mind when you realize that you’ve just been given an issue of one of, if not the, most stylish and sophisticated men’s magazine with no strings attached.
You’re not being asked to go inside to accept it and you don’t have to give your personal information to access it – you just need to download the issue and read it at your leisure. When you get to the bar, you can’t wait to tell all your friends about your experience and encourage them to download the free PressReader app so they too can get their free gift from the hotel
In this example the person gets a freebie that surprises and delights them; the hotel gets recognized for its generosity and the publisher gets the attention of a reader they might never otherwise have had an opportunity to reach – a reader who can’t wait to share the good news with friends. The WOM that results from one small random act of kindness creates a gift that keeps on giving…and receiving.
The ROI of gifted issues
PressReader has an unrivalled network of thousands of hotels, libraries, cruise ships, airlines and other business partners that sponsor access to our 5,000+ magazines and newspapers. By offering these businesses the ability to pay for individual issues of publications for people who happen to be in the vicinity of their sponsored location (aka Hotspot), they provide benefits for not only themselves, but for publishers and news consumers around the world.
The value proposition of gifted issues for publishers
At no cost to them, publishers receive a wealth of value with gifted issues, including:
• Massive exposure of their content to a global audience they couldn’t reach on their own
• The strengthening of their relationship with local and global business partners/advertisers • Revenue for every gifted issue read
• Audited circulation credit for every gifted issue read
• The ability to grow and engage with a large target following – people who have shown an interest in their content by downloading and reading it
• Build on the reciprocity established by the business with the reader through future gifted issues or other surprise bonuses
The value proposition of gifted issues for businesses
Hotels and airlines have been giving away printed newspapers and magazines for decades, but those “gifts” were limited to guests and passengers they already had. With gifited issues on PressReader, these businesses can reach out and touch new prospects with a valued freebie that:
• Enhances the brand image of the business
• Strengthens their affinity with premium publishing brands
• Generates good will, turning strangers into brand champions
• Enables them to follow, connect and engage with readers on PressReader
• Capitalizes on the power of the reciprocity principle
The value proposition of gifted issues for consumers
Receiving a gifted issue with no strings attached is, in and of itself, a benefit, but the real value goes beyond a one-time freebie. Beneficiaries:
• Can receive other gifted issues at thousands of consumer-centric businesses around the globe
• Connect with businesses with corporate values that demonstrate superior customer experience
• Discover the wealth of content PressReader has to offer beyond the gifted issue
• Enjoy a frictionless reading experience that appeals to both traditional replica readers and digital natives
Sow sow sow…
But when I look around the world today, I’m disheartened by the amount of lip service many organizations pay to customer service.
Some publishers love to talk about reader loyalty while they continue to erect paywalls, pollute their websites with intrusive ads and force readers to come to them, instead of being everywhere readers are.
Many businesses talk a good story about being customer-first by overpromising, but then they sadly underdeliver.
Thankfully I have the opportunity to work with some of the exceptions – publishers, airlines, hotels and other businesses that seek first to delight consumers with gifts that, as American novelist, essayist and poet, Vanna Bonta once said, “have ribbons, not strings”.
Remember to make 2016 the year of the person and I’m not talking about the one in the mirror. A culture of constantly giving will make gathering a whole lot easier.