Advisors: What’s Your Purple Goldfish?

Purple Goldfish

I hope you had a wonderful and relaxing holiday and are ready to jump into 2019. I did! I had time off to spend with family, and I also read the books I mentioned before the break.  And this post serves as my official review of What’s Your Purple Goldfish: 12 Ways to Win Customers & Influence Word of Mouth.

Defining the term

You may remember I was intrigued, what the heck is a purple goldfish? I’ve never seen one. And it sounds vaguely like it could be an internet disagreement a la the dress. Is it purple or is it gold?

What I learned is purple goldfish is actually a marketing strategy that creates differentiation via added value. “Finding signature extras that help you stand out, improve customer experience, reduce attrition and drive positive word of mouth.”  This extra should be scalable so it can be equally offered to all customers.

A must read

Know that I highly recommend this book. There is a lot of valuable content, so much that I am not able to comment on all of it in one post.  Also I don’t want to give it all away, so here the key points and favorite examples I want to highlight here.

1. Meeting expectations is not possible

The book calls this the “Marketing Myth.” We either exceed expectations or fall short. I couldn’t agree more. We found in our research that satisfaction is not enough. As Stan Phelps, the author of the book, says, “it is a sure fire way to lose business.”  A customer’s expectation cannot be our benchmark. It has to be table stakes.

2. The customer should be the number one priority

How to grow is a key question we’re always trying to answer in our industry. This book is clear that the customer/ their experience need to be the first marketing priority. Focusing solely on prospects and getting them into the sales funnel results in missed opportunities with your existing clients. By creating tailored exceptional experiences you can transform your clients into your sales force.

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My favorite Purple Goldfish examples

A purple goldfish strategy focuses on exceeding your customers’ expectations by offering them unexpected extras. These extras can come in all shapes and sizes. In fact there are 12 different types of purple goldfish.

One of my favorite examples offered in the book is of a luxury car dealership that has an indoor driving range for use while waiting for your car to be serviced. This is a unique extra that differentiates the dealership, and gets customers talking about and sharing their positive experience. It potentially transforms an otherwise annoying task into something customers look forward to.

Another example that is a lower cost but not any less impactful, is of national bicycle store that delivers gift certificates in branded water bottles. This serves many purposes; it removes the question of presentation for the purchasers, and makes them look clever and caring. Also the recipient (who may already be a customer or not) would most likely be a collector of water bottles given his/her cycling interest so here’s another! And bonus, now they’re cycling around with this stores name.

What I love the most about these two examples is that these businesses clearly know their customer.

Not surprisingly, while I was reading the book I was thinking of all the different purple goldfish advisors could offer. Remember it should be seen as valuable to your clients, while also supporting the service you provide. Here are a few I came up with:

  1. If you have many young families as clients, create a list of childcare recommendations they can contact.
  2. If you serve many philanthropic clients, partner with a charity.
  3.  A welcome package that isn’t just full of paperwork but surprising goodies that complement your brand.

Please be sure to check with your compliance department to be sure you aren’t breaking any rules with these extras. And have fun coming up with more of your own purple goldfish!

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