Meetings + Events Magazine

What’s the True Cost of Free?

Giving away free products and services is a time-honored technique for building business. In earlier American history, soap guy Benjamin T. Babbitt in the 19th century was one of the first known people - though not the first ever - to market by giving away free samples of his products. Saloons used to give away free sandwiches to entice men to buy more liquor. It worked, even though it undoubtedly led to more alcoholism and, according to some historians, ultimately to Prohibition.

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