Be The Unexpected One

By , July 31, 2014

The month of July has proven to be a very busy on for all of us here at Ptex Group.

After weeks of intense planning and exhausting coordination, we successfully pulled off an amazing LTB 2014 mega-event. Hundreds of community business owners and entrepreneurs walked away inspired, ready to put the wealth of knowledge dispensed at this conference to good use. (You can check out the live LTB blog to get a real-time feel of what happened during the event.)

The very day after LTB 2014 ended, my wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Needless to say, I was overjoyed and thankful. Did I mention exhausted? I spent the next few days juggling my hours between work and enjoying the newest family addition – and I learned an extremely valuable marketing lesson in the process.

One morning while working at the dining room table, there was a knock at the door. It was from a man holding a beautiful breakfast platter. I automatically assumed it was being delivered from a family member or close friend. After all, a number of baby gifts had already been brought over by relatives and who else would be bringing my wife a fancy basket with breakfast inside?

A quick look at the attached card revealed who it was from: the local grocery store.

Yes, you read that right. The grocery store Food Expo where we go shopping each week.

I was stunned. I was amazed. I couldn’t get over the fact that the little grocery store around the corner sent us a dazzling gift basket. I told my wife about it. And my parents, brothers and cousins. And all the people at the office. That’s when it suddenly hit me – this was marketing at its best.

Think about it. We received wonderful baby gifts from family members and dear friends and close business associates. These gifts were all greatly appreciated and will forever remain cherished. But we weren’t necessarily surprised by them; we were expecting to get presents from certain people.

Along comes the local grocery store. They chose to be the unexpected one.

Who in the world gets a baby gift from a grocery? The fact they sent us something really stood out. We talked about it endlessly and told everybody out there what this store did. (Hey, I’m actually writing an article about it right now!) In terms of building loyalty, this thoughtful gift will prove to be absolutely priceless – the Hoffman’s will be shopping at this grocery for years to come.

The overall lesson here is astonishingly simple: be the unexpected one. Here are a few Ptex Practical Pointers that can help you do just that.

Be Unexpected: Determine how you can stand out and do something unexpected to generate more word of mouth. Breakfast platters are definitely a great start; but one person I read about searched online at the DOT website and paid his client’s parking tickets.

Be Different: Always challenge the status quo. If everybody does something one way, do it differently on purpose to stand apart. For example, at Ptex Group we include a genuine New York lottery ticket with every invoice sent out. Believe it or not, clients enjoy getting bills from us. And best of all, they’re practically guaranteed to tell their friends about it – especially when they win.

Be There: Whenever building loyalty, try to engage with consumers during happy moments. It can be with a thoughtful gift, a colorful card, or even a simple phone call. Share in their celebration, take part in their joy, create a bond for life.

There you have it. A big lesson in marketing from a small neighborhood grocery store. The closing message here? It’s not always about doing what everybody else does; it’s about doing the things nobody else ever expected you to do.

Be the unexpected one. Start standing out more. Make waves. As they say, success sometimes happens… when it’s least expected.


P.S. What have you done in your career to be the unexpected one? I’d love to hear your story. Just reply to this email.

Meny Hoffman

Meny Hoffman is the Chief Executive Officer of Ptex Group, an Inc. 500/5000-ranked marketing and business services firm headquartered in Brooklyn, NY.

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  1. Hi Meny, thanks for publishing it, definitely we didn’t expect any PR from sending you a little platter, YES we do try to send it to every customer for the last 6 months (although we don’t have a way of knowing of every new Simcha) but at least we try.

    We are getting a lot of feedback since you posted the article, someone translated the article in Yiddish and posted it on,

    And we do encourage every happy costumer to give a feedback here or on

    Mayer Lebovits
    Food Expo Grocery
    299 Heyward St.
    Brooklyn NY 11206