Overheard: Word of the Day

A Whatis.com blog

» VIEW ALL POSTS Apr 15 2009   5:06PM GMT

Surprise marketing – turning a transaction into a relationship



Posted by: Margaret Rouse
Tags:
Marketing
suprise and delight marketing
When I picked up my car on leaving Vancouver’s Listel Hotel last week, I found a gift-wrapped package on the dashboard with a card on it wishing me a safe journey. Wrapped in purple crepe paper were two meal-sized chocolate-chip cookies. A fun treat on the run? Of course, but so much more. That simple gesture went a long way to assuaging my annoyance at paying $24 a night for parking.

Rick Spence, Surprise marketing tactics endear

Today’s WhatIs.com word of the day is transactional marketing.  Most marketing is voodoo to me, but I sort of ‘get’ transactional marketing. It’s like Davies Hardware Store when I was a kid.  My mom and I would go in on a Saturday morning and the sales rep (who drove a school bus during the week) would come up and greet us and help us find what we needed. We paid and left.  Our whole relationship with Davies Hardware was right there at the point of transaction.

I like that. I miss that simplicity.

A few months back I ordered a sweatshirt at Lands End with a Guiding Eyes logo.  A few weeks after that I started getting emails about pet products and several catalogs in the mail clearly aimed at dog lovers.  I wasn’t just a customer, I was a target.

Clearly, I’m not just valuable to Lands End because I bought something, I’m valuable because my name and demographics and areas of interest can be sold.

Marketers wrap up all this nonsense under a nice-sounding label.  They call it ‘relationship marketing.’  Relationship marketing is supposed be all about customer retention.  The idea is that by gathering as much data as they can about you,  the company can serve you better.

Unfortunately there’s no real relationship in relationship marketing.  Lands End was not being helpful to anyone but themselves by passing my data on.

But there IS a marketing technique they could have used right there at the point of transaction that might have helped them to build a relationship with me and capture my customer loyalty.

It’s called surprise and delight marketing.

According to Joseph Ferrara,  the keys to a successful surprise and delight marketing effort are

  • a genuine “no strings attached” giveaway
  • value that exceeds expectation
  • creativity
  • giving at a time of immediate need
  • providing an emotional positive experience (a wow response)
  • making it personal

I’d also add “Given at the point of transaction.”

What if, instead of just sending me more dog catalogs, Lands End had targeted my order as “dog related” and included a dog biscuit with my Guiding Eyes logo’d sweatshirt?

Wouldn’t that have been cool? Not only would I have been surprised and delighted — I would have been way more forgiving that they passed my name on.

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