A Surprise & Delight Classic: The Lollipop

Surprise and Delight Campaigns – 5 Reasons Healthcare Marketers Should Take Note

September 17, 2015 Sadie Howes Healthcare Marketing, Marketing Strategy

Surprise and Delight is a marketing strategy in which companies select an individual or group to receive a surprise gift or experience.  According to Harvard Business Review, this campaign strategy is a No. 1 favorite amongst marketers for a plethora of reasons, but the evidence is in the massive range of marketers embracing the strategy. With numerous successful case studies to support it, here are five reasons why healthcare marketers ought to be paying close attention:

1.  There are many ways in.

Thanks to every marketer’s favorite buzzword “Big Data” and the simple nature of the strategy, the ability to execute a custom Surprise and Delight campaign is becoming increasingly limitless. There are always going to be opportunities to deliver that extra-mile experience that your patients are looking for. The way in can come from numerous platforms (social media, customer feedback surveys, conversations with caregivers, etc.) and be designed to complement a variety of your objectives, such as awareness, engagement or more. By tapping into the wealth of data they collect on patients, healthcare marketers have ample opportunity to execute Surprise and Delight campaigns across every product and service line. 

2. Surprise and Delight is scalable.

Marketers and their clients reap the benefits whether the campaign reaches a single individual or the masses. Which means you can spend massive coin to deliver an experience all around the world, or spend a couple of bucks to reach one individual customer; either way you can see positive results. 

3.  It creates meaningful engagement with your brand.

Today’s consumers increasingly distrust big brands that lack humanity. Surprise and Delight campaigns provide the opportunity to not only fill an unmet need, but also go that extra mile to do so. What better way to show your brand’s humanity? This demonstration of going the extra mile envelops not only your target but your employees in a meaningful engagement with the brand, which is far more likely to change consumer behavior and yield brand advocates than standard marketing strategies alone.

4. It’s a sustainable strategy.

That’s because the execution and scale of the Surprise and Delight strategy can be highly diversified with an unmatched potential for ROI. This takes you beyond the repeat customer to the brand advocate.

5. In healthcare, especially, it’s not a tired strategy.

Largely, people don’t enjoy the experience of going to the doctor or managing their health. It’s done out of necessity, obligation and, in some cases, emergency. That factor alone creates an abundance of opportunity for healthcare marketers to employ the Surprise and Delight strategy to deliver a better overall experience and disrupt the ordinary. Not to mention that unlike consumer packaged goods, hospitality and other industries, Surprise and Delight campaigns in healthcare remain relatively absent from the conversation.

Imagine how the spirits of a child or elderly bed-ridden patient are lifted when she receives an unexpected, customized gift or special VIP treatment that reflects her wishes. Imagine the happiness on the face of a patient being discharged who is handed a surprise present, or the relief of family members when their concerns are wiped away with a generous gesture. More important, imagine the lasting feelings of goodwill toward your hospital that they will have and share with others.

Social media is a critical tool in helping you find targets for a Surprise and Delight campaign as well as document how the campaign plays out. Ideally, you’ll want photos or videos of your patients’ surprise and delight when they receive their gift or experience; such videos sometimes go viral or, if not, at least achieve a reach well beyond word of mouth or press release.  So start thinking of ways you can deliver special treatment to your target market. Here are a few examples to inspire you:

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