Recently when we (myself, my wife and my kid) were back in the evening from a 1 day trip to a beach in Ontario, we had no intention of making dinner. We stepped into our neighbourhood pizza shop to buy a couple of slices of pizza. We bought 3 veggie slices for $6 inclusive of taxes! ( cheaper than the other pizza franchises Pizza Pizza and Pizza Nova).
We went back to the car to have the slices. As I finished the first slice, I noticed something. The serving paper on which they served the Pizza had this written on it – “Your next slice might be FREE, fill this out, it will only take you a minute“. There was a form with first name, last name, phone number (optional), email address (required) on this serving paper. Even though the grease did not help the writing, I filled it out (since I love free pizza and free beer) and handed it over to the lady (the Mom) behind the counter. She dropped that into a cardboard box on the counter. Assuming that I might get a free slice then and there, I was kind of disappointed. She turned around and said – “Check your emails from us, we will give you free pizza soon“.
Back at the car, I thought to myself – Interesting, permission marketing at its best.
Lesson #1 – Build email campaign lists creatively. Use baits which customers will fall for.
Couple of days passed by and surely there was an email from Pertosa Pizza Place with the subject – “Free Pizza – Hurry only valid today – 24 Pizzas left – Made at 11am today”. The email body had the type and sizes of the pizza. After my work that day, I headed over for my free slice. I said to myself there are only 24 left and I might be too late for this. I had a printout of the email with me, you know in case I need to argue with the lady about my free pizza. I stepped in to the place, walked straight to the counter and started saying – “I got an email…” . Before I completed my sentence she asked – ” Do you want veggie, three toppings or two topping with pepperoni?”. I went for my veggie and planted the commitment for my next pizza purchase.
Lesson #2 – Always deliver what you promise, otherwise don’t promise
I waited for another customer to leave and to ask the lady why she was giving pizza free. A man came over ( I assumed this was her husband) in his apron and answered this. He said that there were certain corporate orders, returns or bad planning from their part which would result in surplus pizza on a particular day. He said these usually happened in the middle of the week during the day. He said he never gives a pizza which is more than 3 hours old to paying customers. However, if it gets older he would give it free. That is why he used emails to give it free.
Lesson #3 – Turn business disadvantages (excess inventory) into marketing advantages
This all happened two weeks ago. I haven’t received another email from them yet. But one thing for sure
I am still eagerly waiting for my next slice of Pizza and my next lesson in marketing from a local pizza shop.