This past year, I spent quite a bit of time in crowded hearing rooms and conference auditoriums filled with suits, ipads, smartphones and laptops – but few electrical outlets. To recharge a device, you’d have to wait for an outlet to open up. And even if that happened, there was no guarantee that the outlet would be within the vicinity of your seat — which meant that you’d need to leave your equipment under someone’s chair to plug in and hope that no one would steal it.
I was somewhat annoyed that the facilities where I was spending so much time hadn’t been upgraded to add more outlets. At the same time, as a latecomer to these sorts of events, I was equally annoyed that in within these enormous rooms full of supposedly smart people, none of these geniuses even tried to come up with a better alternative. So after one or two plug-less experiences, I remembered my power strip and electric extension cord that I typically bring with me on trips and decided to just keep it up in my computer bag even if I was just staying local. Since then, whenever I find myself in a similar situation, I’ll plug int the extension cord, run the power strip to a central location and voila – whereas previously, only two people could huddle around the outlet, now five or six could conveniently share.
So what’s all of this got to do with marketing? Plenty. Because my power strip and extension cord allow me to make connections with my connection! Whenever I plug in, at least one or two colleagues will gratefully thank me for sharing or alternatively, will compliment me on my preparedness. Not only does a power strip let me stand out in an otherwise anonymous meeting room, but it also serves as an ice breaker to open up conversations. At some point when I remember to do so, I’d like to put my business card in a luggage tag and attach it to the extension cord for added visibility (I would also love to give away branded power strips, but I haven’t been able to find any). But even without this added extra, my $10.77 investment has proven itself a powerful (!) marketing tool.
What’s your favorite cheap marketing trick? Please share your suggestions in the comments below.