I have limited brain RAM available and do not squander my precious mental resources by actually remembering the names of relatively insignificant places, such as where I parked my car. In fact, there is actually only one parking lot in America whose name I remember: SmartPark off the Essington exit near the Philadelphia International Airport.
While there are many reasons that I use Smartpark exclusively when flying in and out of Philly (such as consistently courteous service, prompt pick-up and drop-off at the terminal, reasonable prices and a ready supply of coupons in my glove compartment), there is only one reason I remember the name:
Every time I pay, they give me Smarties.
That’s right, Smarties: The hideously sweet little minisci of pure soury sugar twisted tightly in clear cellophane with red type. Those Smarties.
I invariably return to my car late at night and have a boring hour drive home. For some reason, I value those Smarties. I never even consider eating Smarties at any other time and place. I’m sure that there are colonies of five or ten years old Smarties living peacefully, unmolested and unconsumed in junk drawers throughout our house. They are safe; I will not eat them. But somehow I regard the Smarties late at night torn open on the drive back to the turnpike from SmartPark are more than a delicacy. They are crack. God help the attendant who forgets to include Smarties with my receipt.
What’s the big deal about the Smarties at SmartPark? They’re not a big deal. I think that’s the point. They’re not necessary. Just like the Godiva Chocolate or Andes mints left on your pillow at an expensive hotel, like the peanuts on Southwest Airlines, like the fortune cookie at every Chinese restaurant in America. They are just a way that a business says to its customers: Hey, we were thinking of you. We thought we’d do a little something special for you. No big deal. Enjoy a Smartie on us.
It’s Lighten Up! Marketing at its best, and that’s smart marketing.
Relentless marketer Sean Kelly is a 20 year veteran of the franchise industry, and founder of the award-winning marketing firm IdeaFarm. In 2006, he founded the FranBest franchise networkbest franchise opportunities, the top new franchises, franchise marketing, franchise public relations and small business marketing. Contact him at seankelly[at]ideafarm.net.
More Lighten Up! Marketing Classics: