Original insights in international business and marketing

Put More Fun in Your Marketing

For many marketers and organizations there is a strong tendency to take everything very seriously.  This is business, after all, and we must fight every day to survive.  Business has often been likened to warfare and we can all recognize that where survival is in the balance there is scant opportunity for levity and humor.
And yet, a number of businesses, brands and research are showing us that a sense of humor or – better yet – a willingness to poke fun at oneself can actually be good for business.
Quick Case Study #1
A recent study by Forbes Insights assessed potential disconnects between brands and consumers.  They surveyed 250 marketing executives and over 2,000 consumers on the types of advertising that best caught attention.  Interestingly, there was a significant diffence between the type of advertising that consumers found most memorable vs. marketing executives.  No fewer than two thirds of consumers (67%) noted that what gets their attention above anything else are ads that were deemed “funny.”  In contrast, only 14% of marketing execs – almost five times less – considered making their ads intentionally humorous.  The research suggests there is a huge disconnect (and missed opportunity) between what consumers enjoy/remember most and what marketing executives are producing.  Consumers are saying that funny is simply more interesting.
Quick Case Study #2
Amazon and several manufacturers/authors have fostered a climate that allows snarky and sarcastic product reviews.  Several of these are legend (click here for examples) and have massively enhanced visibility and awareness of products which otherwise might have been condemned to obscurity.  The latest “beneficiary” of hilarious on-line reviews is the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer.  Far from panicking at or condemning these reviews, the maker has laughed with them – and all the way to the bank as sales have soared!
A couple of lessons can be drawn from these two simple case studies:
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously.  Seriously, not everything you market needs to be treated with the gravitas of the mortuary business.  Dry is dull.  This may be business but great businesses people can also have a playful side.
  • Laugh a little.  Create a culture or environment that fosters humor and welcomes the occasional dig at oneself.  Organize events and activities that periodically unleash the inner comedians inside teams, even if only for internal consumption.  For example, be more like Google which picks a day each year to celebrate project/product failures.
  • Don’t panic!  Before you sound the alarms and potentially over-react at the first sign of on-line customer criticism, try to look at the situation in a larger context.  How can you respond in a measured and clever way to turn the situation to your advantage?  The recent brilliant White House response to a petition for the development of a real-life death star is a great example of not over-reacting and giving a candid yet playful response.
  • Be human.  Relationships between consumers and brands/products/companies, are still about relationships between people.  Nothing says “we are humans just like you” like a little fun and a touch of self-deprecating humor.
  • Explore the funny side.  You might be in a perennially serious business like healthcare but there are always ways, some more subtle than others, to show that you can be trusted while still showing that you have a heart.  At your next brainstorm or workshop, explore for a few minutes or as an exercise how and where you can inject a little fun into your marketing strategy.

What are you doing in your organization to leverage the “fun factor?”  Leave a comment!

photo credit: The Doctr via photopin cc

2 comments on “Put More Fun in Your Marketing

  1. capetowncopywriter
    March 26, 2013

    Reblogged this on Cape Town Proofreader and commented:
    Oh yes…hear, hear!

  2. Shruti Nagrale
    May 19, 2013

    Loved the post!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on March 25, 2013 by in Management, Marketing and tagged , , , , , , , .

Click to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 188 other subscribers

Time Machine

March 2013

View Andrew Hyncik’s profile on LinkedIn

Who is behind Parifornia?

Andrew Hyncik

Andrew Hyncik

Parifornia is the creation of Andrew Hyncik, an experienced International Marketing executive who's lived and worked for over 20 years in both Europe and North America.

Personal Links

View Full Profile →

%d bloggers like this: