Many years ago, according to legend, a factory worker at McIlhenny Company (the makers of the world-famous TABASCO® Sauce) once proposed enlarging the size of the hole in the bottle — meaning all the hot sauce buffs out there would use more product with each shake and therefore ultimately buy more.
The company (officially) maintains this story is an outright myth — but it also includes the caveat that the story “remains a good parable about the value of innovative thinking.”
A quick aside: I will drown anything edible in TABASCO®, so maybe I’m drawn to this story because of my hot sauce bias. But just so we’re clear, you can’t serve me eggs, pizza, chicken, slaw, mac and cheese, shrimp, fish tacos — anything, really — without that peppery godsend of a concoction they make down in Avery Island, Louisiana.
Sorry, I got distracted.
My point is this: I like what they said about innovative thinking, but they’ve been both innovative and smart. Here’s a product that’s widely known for being just about perfect for everything. But instead of blindly flooding the market with an endless supply, they restricted the amount you could use with each pour. They stayed true to their recipe. They produced only a limited amount every year. They understood that it was better to never quite get enough of their brand than to get too much.
Unwittingly, perhaps, their approach is the perfect example for B2B marketing. Create something unique. Share it — but make your customers the true ambassadors who want to tell your story. And most importantly, don’t let go of the secret recipe that made you who you are.