I recently had a surprise show up in my inbox--a $20 appreciation gift certificate. It was also the spark that reignited my loyalty to this particular company--a shirt maker--which went the extra mile to appreciate my business.
“By showing sincere appreciation with unexpected rewards, brands can build a greater connection to customers on an emotional level,” said Scott Matthews, CEO of CrowdTwist, a social loyalty rewards platform. “If implemented successfully, brands can realize increased customer engagement, reduced churn, and greater ROI.”
When embarking on a surprise-and-delight campaign, it is critical that marketers make the experience authentic and meaningful. This message from Charles Tyrwhitt, the company that sent the $20 gift certificate, caught my eye: "When you are a small company, it is only with the support of your customers that you can succeed, and that's you. So thank you. This voucher is yours to spend, it doesn't matter how large or small your purchase is."
Surprise-and-delight marketing is more than a “nicety.” It is powerful marketing! Here are some stats to keep in mind:
- More than half of shoppers say they would pay a higher price for the customer experiences they value most, and 77% of shoppers would be more loyal to stores that provide their personal top ... customer experiences.
- 68% of companies report they are allocating less than 20% of their marketing budgets to loyalty, yet 58% of companies say that more than 20% of total sales or revenue is attributed to the program.
Let’s take a look at two companies that know how to surprise and delight their customers.
MasterCard Brings Consumers Priceless Surprises
MasterCard began its “Priceless Surprises” campaign last year, but has taken it to the next level by introducing a mobile aspect to the already successful initiative that lets partners geotarget consumers with spontaneous treats. For example, if a customer is in an airport, an airline will have the option to send them a “Priceless Surprise,” which could be anything from a complimentary drink to a free upgrade, or they could receive a ticket upgrade at a sporting event.
“Mobile is something which people carry with them all the time and provides the best opportunity to reward the consumer with Priceless Surprises, more than any other media ... surprising cardholders across areas like sports, music, and fashion,” said MasterCard global chief marketing officer Raja Rajamannar in an interview with The Drum. “The activity has gone on to become one of the most successful marketing drives to date–delivering an engagement rate three times higher when compared against other brand programmes.”
Lego Surprises, Delights–And Wins
Surprise and delight can be in the form of an unexpected bonus, but it can also be in the form of an unexpected occurrence or event.
During the recent Oscar broadcast, dancers fanned out through the audience to hand yellow Lego Oscar statuettes to a celebrated audience of stars whose look of surprise and delight reached 35 million viewers. According to Amobee Brand Intelligence, Lego dominated the night with close to 47,000 social mentions on Twitter, 44% of the real-time discussion, and approximately $7.5 million of free advertising.
Three Takeaways For Your Brand
What can you learn from these examples?
1. 61% of consumers will tell friends and family about their experiences, so it only makes sense for marketers to use surprise “thank you” or rewards to enhance customers’ experiences.
2. According to Synchrony Financial’s customer experience study: “Certain experiences matter more than others to different shopper segments.” So going the extra mile to develop experiences targeted to specific segments will cultivate the value-based mindset that builds brand loyalty.
3. Know your customers and what they want; a surprise is only a delight if it is presented in a personalized manner that demonstrates your brand has taken the time to be relevant and sincere.
Marketers need to step outside of traditional strategies to give customers the types of unanticipated thanks, perks, and bonuses that give new reasons to be brand-positive and brand-loyal.