What the heck is lagniappe?

by Molly Clubb | Feb 01, 2012

Wikipedia defines "lagniappe" as "a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (such as a 13th doughnut when buying a dozen), or more broadly, "something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure."[1] The word is chiefly used in the Gulf Coast of the United States, but the concept is practiced in many countries where community is the emphasis, such as North Africa, rural France, and Holland."

Until today, I admit, I didn't know what this word meant. I've always been a big believer in it's definition and have used other terms to get the same point across, but never knew this precise word existed to describe it. Guess I should invest in one of the "Word of the Day" calendars or help my daughter with her grammar homework more! Anyway, I came across this word while reading a new book that was suggested to me. The book is called "What's Your Purple Goldfish" and it's by Stan Phelps. You can download it for FREE (in keeping with the lagniappe theme) via Scribd by clicking here: So far it's a great read and I highly recommend it.It's also available on Amazon or for paperback purchase.

Hoping that I'm not breaking any rules of Blog etiquitte I'm going to post the foreward to the book below. It sums up the power of this easy read in a few straightforward paragraphs. It is written by another Iowan and Marketing extroidanaire, Drew McLellan.

The foreward really hits home as it's what many of us, including the team at Hired Hand, strive to do for our customers (and ourselves) each day. It's the reason we're having the Hired Hand Huddle and the reason that Jaymie and I have teamed up with Tessa Millsap (Improving Genetics) and others to volunteer to host the Longhorns & Lace Benefit & Sale. An event that will raise money for charity while at the same time help breeders profit from selling their beloved cattle. When you love what you do...everything else falls into place. I think that much of the information in this book could be carried over into your day-to-day businesses and the business of your breeding programs (if it's not already).

Here are some excerpts from the foreward:

"True lagniappe can’t be faked or forced.  We banter the word authentic around too much these days.  But for lagniappe to work, it must be just that — real and offered without expectation of anything in return.

In other words – you do it because you want to, not because it’s in a marketing plan document or because your ROI calculator told you it would generate a 42.36% return. (And no…there’s no such thing as an ROI calculator!)

As you read the stories that Stan has collected for this book, I think you’re going to be amazed at the creativity and generosity that many businesses have and in the end, I suspect you’ll be inspired to let your inner spirit of lagniappe loose.

You’ll probably fill up a notepad with ideas of how you could do a little something extra to enchant your customers.  When you’ve turned that corner and are thinking about them rather than what’s in it for you – you’re truly ready to practice lagniappe.

...companies that embrace the belief that if you give first and you give generously – you will earn customers for life are marketing’s good guys. This book shows us time and time again how to make that happen.

...In the end, this book is Stan’s own lagniappe for all of us.  A genuine gesture of sharing what he truly believes with the hope that it is of great value to us.  I’m so happy for you that you’ve found Stan, his book and are about to receive a gift that could, if you let it, change how you do business forever.”

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