Create Better Customers Using Surprise and Delight

The idea of surprise and delight is one of the more popular concepts in marketing right now. It describes ideal customer interactions with your brand.

In consumer brands, surprise and delight are achieved in any number of creative ways.

For example, Bud Light created its Whatever, USA party town, then held auditions for those who wanted to populate the town for a weekend. Not only did it create a great experience for fans of the brand, but they released a social media blitz of footage from the party, further marketing their brand.

In another example, Mastercard surprised its audience with tickets to Justin Timberlake, celebrity experiences and more.

These unprompted experiences are great for increasing their following while increasing loyalty in their fans.

B2B marketing doesn’t usually get the same amount of press for its surprise and delight efforts. But Litmus does it with their coveted Litmus logo pillows, which are released at their annual conferences.

The attendees of the event compete for these pillows through social media challenges. This increases the social media hype around the event and therefore makes the conference more visible and popular.

Basically, you need to give your audience content and experiences that will make them feel special. Key to this is the element of surprise. They aren’t expecting to suddenly receive something from your brand, which is why it works. But how do you create a customer experience that surprises and delights?


Focus on These Three Components

There are three components that make up a good surprise and delight campaign. They are:

  • Personalization – The experience must be a perfect fit for the fan you are targeting. This can be tailored either through hyper-personal selection (i.e. a worker browses the social posts of top engaging fans and selects them by hand) or through specific targeting. Having a person select and reach out to fans by hand is very personal, which often adds to the thrill because this is also social credit. The content or physical object can also be highly personalized, more so than if an automated system chose based on pure statistic.
  • Context – Be sure that the surprise and delight experience makes sense. How does it relate to your brand? The answer must make sense, otherwise, it will be hard for fans to connect it with your brand. These moments must be both positive experiences for fans and also further the story of your brand.
  • Timing – While the element of surprise is important, randomly giving out a surprise and delight experience can often be wasteful. Some of the most important times to give out these experiences is when a customer is at a crucial pain point.

    This could be a current customer or a potential customer. If a current customer has an issue with your brand, be sure to reach out and remedy it by sending them a credit for their next month’s subscription or a small thank you gift with some of your brand’s promo materials.

    Alternatively, you can find potential customers who are expressing their frustration with a problem on social media. These are the perfect folks to surprise and delight because often they will come back to your brand after you give them a gift or experience.

    Picking the time when your audience will be most receptive to your tactics is key to making them effective. Use surprise and delight to turn a bad experience into a good one, or to fill the need a prospect has with your brand.


Set Expectations

Make sure that you provide good, followable logic for your surprise and delight campaigns.

While it’s nice to give your customers the best treatment possible, you must make sure that your surprise and delight campaigns are sustainable.

Maybe you do a monthly or yearly giveaway, depending on the budget you have. Or you give out a certain number of experiences each month.

Your actions in these experiences will set your customers’ expectations very high. If you set the bar that high, make sure you can always jump it. Your customers will think less of your brand if it can’t make the leap.

But done well, in a sustainable manner, surprise and delight can send brand loyalty skyrocketing, and your sales along with it.



Let us know what you think:

  • Do you love surprise and delight?
  • Which tactics are your favorite?
  • What are your favorite examples of surprise and delight?



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