When I went to pay for my car wash, I unexpectedly was offered a bag of free chips. Apparently the local distributor just started carrying a new line, and they provided a few boxes of free samples. It was a good strategy as the flavors are out of the norm: Peach Habanero, Sweet Maui Onion, Rosemary & Olive Oil, Aged Cheddar Horseradish and Ninja Ginger to name a few.

I’m not sure I would have been attracted to them, even for free, but the clerk at the car wash was extremely enthusiastic about them. He was talking to each customer about his personal taste-testing and results, and encouraging people to take several flavors to try at home on their own. I am confident that his personal pitch made an impact on how many people took bags home, and, if like me, ventured into a new flavor that they are likely to buy in the future.

I think about the key ingredient in this promotion being the car wash attendant, and I doubt he was factored into the marketing plan. Instead of relying on happenstance that he tried a bunch of flavors, liked them and promoted them, could there have been more intentionality in giving him a whole set of chips in advance and taking that extra step to make him knowledgeable? Could the distributor have acknowledged that he played a role in the process and thanked him for doing so?

When you are launching something new, don’t overlook the people who are closest to the customer. Be intentional about the flavor they can add to your pitch.

beth triplett

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