A lesson in the remarkable marketing power of reciprocity


Rod Swanson, the owner of Colonel Mustard’s shop in Highlands, NC demonstrates the results of the power of reciprocity as he packs up my purchases.

In my book Return On Influence, I do a deep dive on the changing nature of power on the web. The old ways of accumulating influence through connections, wealth, and a position on an organizational chart are falling by the wayside and I talk about the amazing new realities in my book.

One of the topics I cover in-depth is the remarkable idea of reciprocity. The web is an empire of favors, as Internet influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk amply demonstrate.

One of the examples of reciprocity I used in my book is a little store in Highlands, North Carolina, that sells hundreds of varieties of sauces, jellies, and salsa products.

You can spend all day at the store if you like and sample every one of them. But what you may not realize is that every taste is creating a “favor.”

I recently re-visited the store for the first time since I wrote my book and decided to make a little video demonstrating the power of reciprocity in action. Hope you enjoy it …

If you can’t view this video, you can see it directly on YouTube by clicking here: A Lesson in the Power of Reciprocity.

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  • It would be interesting to see how the psychology of reciprocity evolved in our brains and why it makes us feel like we owe other people. This is a great marketing strategy! Did you eat him out of business? 🙂

  • I bought $80 worth of stuff I didn’t need : )

    My guess is that reciprocity evolved out of a need to gain favor with the alpha male or leader. Sociologist Alvin Goouldner showed there is not one society that does not show this tendency.

  • Shirley Pittenger

    Love this! Great video, too. Makes me want to go to NC (almost).

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