You Might Be Overlooking The Key to Surprise & Delight Marketing

Does anyone even use surprise and delight marketing anymore?

I see a lot of marketers shy away from surprise and delight marketing because it’s so hard to prove out the value.

But here’s the thing.

Surprise and delight does work.

And actually, surprise and delight is a critical part of the best brands’ marketing.

According to a study on human brain activity, scientists at Emory and Baylor found reward pathways in the brain respond most strongly to unpredictable activity.

Basically, consumers crave rewards they don’t expect.

Surprise and delight marketing strategies work really well when done correctly, because they build brand loyalty and create fans.

But, in order to create a surprise, your marketing first has to be predictable.

You have to be predictable before you can be unpredictable.

One of the greats who mastered this concept was Kobe Bryant. He always said he had only two moves (minute 1:35).

Only once you teach the defense that you’re a threat with that initial move, can you reverse it the other way.

So here are five quick ways you should be making your marketing predictable:

1. Train your audience to visit your website’s homepage every day.

Feature and rotate a new product or piece of content there every day.

For example, Facebook did this by showing the local weather in user’s home Feed for a bit.

Then, surprise your consumer with a discount on a personalized recommendation in that spot, or with the launch of a new podcast episode, or with a birthday gift.

2. Train them to visit your blog every day.

Publish blog content on a consistent schedule. Ideally pick themes for each day of the week (tutorials, tips, opinion, etc) so readers know what you’ll be covering.

That way you have a regular readership that helps drive views as soon as a piece is launched, indicating to Google it’s worthy of search real-estate.

Then, surprise your consumer with early access to a new ebook drop, or with the option to get a quarterly magazine send to their house featuring the same content for free.

3. Train them to open your emails.

Provide the very best information on the same day of the week at the same time.

Include easter egg links (links to funny news, great songs, whatever) in your emails, to ensure they open to find them.

Then, drop a surprise flash sale email, or a personalized thank you email, or an email with a commissioned personalized piece of digital art attached perhaps based on their profile photo.

4. Train them to check your social media.

Post consistently, and create similar engagement opportunities (for example Twitter chats) at a regular time daily.

Then, create a scavenger hunt across social channels as part of a giveaway, or run a live Q&A with an influencer they value.

5. Train them to love your brand.

This is a key part of your digital marketing tool kit.

Ensure your marketing is strategically and specifically different, holding consistently from your television spot to your customer service response templates. Keep your voice and imagery aligned.

When a brand’s identity is cohesive, it increases the brand’s perceived value.

Then, take your brand into a new channel (hello Taco Bell hotel), or launch a new product (hello Disney+).

Being predictable takes work. But it’s worth it.

Until you put your customers on a schedule, you can’t put yourself on a schedule. And a schedule will help you further maximize your work flow.

Predictable marketing gives you the chance to connect with your customers every single day.

Don’t be afraid of being predictable. Embrace it!

Now that you’re prepared to get the most out of your surprise and delight marketing, discover practically free digital marketing ideas.

And would it be too crazy to ask you to please send a $5 tip to my Venmo tip jar because you’ve learned something new? @megsterr.

Or my Paypal:

By Megan Mitzel

I'm the wearer of overalls behind the marketing advice website Marketing Overalls. I'm also a senior marketing director with more than ten years of experience leading acquisition and lifecycle marketing at successful startups. Before that, I got a business degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. Before that, I owned a seashell shop. And that's the tea on me.