Last Friday, I once again carried out my semi-regular gig of speaking to the marketing students at McGill University's Desautels School of Management, and what started out as the usual, free-flowing affair soon focused in on the topic of Surprise Marketing.
First of all, the students' interest in and challenging questions about the subject was profound (so chalk one up to the potential of Pow! becoming a College-level course). These young future leaders weren't just on the ball, they were hopping on it with one foot, doing backward flips and landing back on top with ease. An impressive bunch.
But two comments struck me hard during the 90-minute session. The first was from a woman who, after about 45 minutes of "How To" examples, asked:
"Isn't Surprise Marketing just
customer relationship management?"
To which I responded:
"Exactly. But 'just'?"
I went on to explain that Surprise Marketing serves to delight its recipients, which--if delightful enough--serves to solidify the bond between customer and marketer. And I don't care WHAT business you are in, from a mom-and-pop corner store to a multinational, there is NOTHING more important than the bond between you and your customer. Find a way to eternally concretize this bond and you'll never have another business worry. Ever.
But "eternal customer concretization" is easier said (even five times fast) than done. And Surprise Marketing is a great start.
The other comment was from a regular at my McGill verbal barrages, and he said something that will forever change the way I see snowstorms. As much as most of us whine and complain at their disruptive nature, this young man saw the Surprise element in them.
"It breaks us out of our routine," he said.
"You never know what's going to happen.
You don't know how--if!--you're gonna get to school.
You don't know who you'll help or who will help you.
It's exciting to think of what lies ahead each time
your daily routine is thrown into disarray by a snowstorm."
Great reverse perspective thinking. A candidate for the first Doctorate in Surprise Marketing, no doubt.
Anyway, the reaction to the talk has sparked me to put together a one-hour speech on the subject, a multi-media, show-and-tell, how-to, Pow!-sprinkled, thought-provoking, hyphen-laden extravaganza...
...which makes it debut (where else?) closing out McGill's Management Graduate Business Conference on Friday, March 7.
Hope there's no snowstorm...