The Art of Unexpected Giving to Fuel Word-of-Mouth Marketing

The best kind of gifts are often those that don’t coincide with a special occasion. Small, thoughtful gifts given at unexpected times produce a spontaneous joy in the person who receives them that they can’t wait to tell their friends and colleagues about.

In business we call this “Surprise & Delight!”

It’s these little extra gestures demonstrating that businesses care about customers, clients, and vendors that can make companies remarkable.

“Unexpected giving is a spark lighting the fuse for viral word-of-mouth marketing.”

3 Stories of Surprise & Delight in Action:

#1 — Gary Vee & The Bears Jersey

Gary Vaynerchuk tells the story of a customer in Chicago placing an order with his store for a few bottles of wine. Through the use of social media, Gary learned the customer was a fan of the Chicago Bears. So he had his marketing team surprise the customer by sending him an autographed jersey of the Chicago Bears star quarterback.

The gift of the jersey was totally unexpected and Gary’s wine business wasn’t looking for any direct return on their investment. After sending the jersey several months went by, and they hadn’t heard anything from the customer.

Then, out of the blue, this customer ordered 10+ CASES of wine which Gary later found out were for his adolescent daughter’s future wedding in 10–20+ years.

For Gary, this one random act of kindness lead to tens of thousands of dollars in repeat business!

#2 — TOMS Shoes & The Goodies

A few years ago my wife told me that she wanted a pair of TOMS Shoes for Christmas. So (as any good husband would) I went online and ordered her a pair.

When they arrived I wrapped them and put them under the tree without opening the box. On Christmas morning when she opened them, to our surprise, in addition to the shoes, the box also contained a sticker, a brochure, and a cool little burlap sack the shoes could fit into for taking them on trips.

Just these few little extras were enough for us to say “WOW! This company is really cool!” As a result, she eventually ordered another pair, then another, and then another.

For an extra dollar or two TOMS turned us into long-term repeat buyers!

#3 — Scott & The Flowers

Scott, a colleague of mine, works in commercial real estate sales & development. He recently told me the story of a time when a woman he had never met made a call that helped him get into a closed bid meeting for a large project.

He attended the meeting but didn’t get the job. However, a few days later Scott sent the woman a small bouquet of flowers and a note thanking her for assisting him.

Several months later this positive connection lead the woman to help Scott get into a meeting for another project which this time was awarded to him. It was a large project with a 7 figure budget.

This multi-million dollar deal would never have happened without a small, unexpected gift!

“Only by giving are we able to receive more than we already have.” — Jim Rohn

Caring about our customers is what our marketing strategies need to start with.

How can we better solve their problems?

How can we exceed their expectations?

What are the little extra things we can do for them that will make their experience with us remarkable enough for them to tell their friends about?


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