Michael Scott, the loveable (but nutty) boss from The Office, rarely had a win when it came to his business, a branch of the fictional paper company, Dunder Mifflin. However, in the episode “Golden Ticket,” Michael creates a marketing promotion that is accidentally a huge hit.
In the episode, Michael hides five golden tickets, worth 10 percent off an order, in reams of paper throughout his warehouse. In true Michael fashion, all five of these tickets go to one customer — giving them 50 percent off their next order. Of course, this customer just so happens to be Dunder Mifflin’s biggest account. The paper company is about to lose thousands of dollars because of this mistake, when the client announces they have decided to make Dunder Mifflin their exclusive office supply provider because they were so delighted by the deal.
As this episode shows, surprise and delight can go a long way toward impressing your customers. Michael Scott’s golden tickets also show that using information and data about your customers can take these kinds of campaigns to the next level. Don’t accidentally succeed at your campaign like Michael does — use data to make your campaigns a success from the get-go!
Know Your Customers
When it comes to surprise and delight, the focus should be on the customer. In order to delight, the surprise needs to align with what the customer wants or needs. This requires a little bit of knowledge and data about your customers.
There are endless ways you can segment your customers to better approach them for different marketing tactics. Surprise and delight works best on customers who are already loyal to your brand or who could become loyal to your brand, so you want to categorize your customers based on their existing relationship with you.
Adam Schaeffer on The Wise Marketer outlines four broad categories for customers: the Loyalists, the Dependents, the Sleeping Dogs, and the Skeptics. Your approach to each of these groups can and should be very different and in some cases, surprise and delight won’t be an effective strategy at all.
Surprise & Delight the Customers Who Already Love You
While it may seem a little bit counterintuitive, a surprise and delight tactic works best on the customers who are already your big fans. The goal of this kind of campaign is to retain the clients who already love you, prevent churn, and even increase sales among this group.
Loyalists are brand evangelists. They’re longtime customers who have already left glowing reviews and recommended you to all their connections. Surprise and delight is an especially effective strategy for loyalists because it keeps them engaged with your brand and helps you maintain the same level of engagement.
These are the customers who would love an exclusive gift or something personal, like a handwritten note, or something tailored to their shopping history.
You can identify your company’s loyalists because they are the customers that are spending the most money year over year, and they keep coming back. They’re relatively easy to track in your company’s data, by tracking repeat customers and engaged customers on social media or among those who contact you regularly.
Dependents, also called Persuadables, are another group that you can effectively market to directly with surprise-and-delight style marketing strategies. This group is full of people who could be loyalists but who, for one reason or another, aren’t quite there. They “depend” on your company for your services, but don’t have the same levels of engagement and relationship with your brand that loyalists do.
A creative marketing campaign designed to reach out to these customers could be the extra nurturing they need to become Loyalists. Highly personalized outreach, like handwritten birthday notes and perks that incentivize reengagement, are good solutions for this category of customer.
To make this even easier, you can automate the process of sending handwritten birthday notes to all of your customers using Bond.
Remember: Data is Key
No matter your marketing plan, it’s essential to effectively use the data that you have about your customers to target your strategy. You don’t have to rely on luck for a positive outcome like Michael Scott does in “The Office.” With segmentation and automation, it’s never been easier to personalize and target a marketing strategy for each type of customer.