Joyful marketing: Aim for phenomenal

A typical marketing and communications plan can be a dry document. The average plan will focus on all the essential areas of promotion that a business needs such as social media content strategy, advertising, email marketing, mail campaigns, customer service plans, marketing collateral and more.

With all those areas defined across time you're sure to be successful, right?

Or are you poised to be as successful as you can be with a fully drafted typical marketing and communications plan?

Consider the value joy might have in your efforts to promote your business, your services, your products. Joy is defined as a moment of extreme pleasure or delight. It's different from happiness in that joy reflects an exalted moment that's memorable and discrete.

When your customers feel joy when they engage with your business, services or products they are likely to share that great feeling with people they know. That's good for business. When your customers become your evangelists, you win.

I've thought a lot about the role that joy can play in business marketing. When the typical marketing plan includes opportunities to spark joy customers will notice.

Apple Stores elicit joy masterfully. First, they are local and easy to visit. They are actually "tech support" clad in boutique clothing. A visit to the Apple store often results in a customer being happy with the service they received and often causes the customer to think about buying more Apple products. Genius, right?

Locally, a visit to Abt Electronics offers similar good feelings. Borrowing from a museum-going experience, Abt has cleverly turned the mundane experience of shopping for household appliances into a fun, quasi-educational adventure replete with freshly baked cookies, coffee, candy and games for bored kids and even the largest privately owned saltwater fish tank in Illinois.

Couple this with a pledge to offer great customer service and how does anyone shop anywhere besides Abt for household appliances?

I recently had the pleasure of staying at a new Marriott hotel boasting a 24-hour free snack service for guests. Having access to this lounge not only made the travel days easier but even a bit pleasurable as a little treat after a busy day on the road is a welcome interruption to someone far from the comforts of home. The immaculate rooms had the longest built-in luggage shelves I'd ever seen and once the luggage didn't have to sit on the floor I won't lie, I felt pangs of joy.

I could go on showcasing how joyful moments can create big marketing opportunities.

The savvy business owner will give thought to more than a primary marketing plan. I'd suggest following three steps to ensure joy plays a role in your marketing plan.

1. Think about the role joy can play in your customer's experience of your business. Note those moments. You need not be in retail. Service providers and professional service offices can spark joy, too. My kids' orthodontist offers fun contests, snacks and coffee for all visitors and branded giveaways that change by the month. I've yet to meet someone who doesn't love visiting this office.

2. Map those identified moments in step 1 to functional marketing tactics you can use.

3. Once you employ those tactics observe and measure their impact and results on your business. Test different approaches to achieving joy among your customers and note what works for you.

When customers feel joyful about a business, they talk about it. Buzz, word-of-mouth marketing, consumer evangelism, your business will thrive when your marketing elicits joy. It's not hard to do but it does take a little strategizing and thinking about what works for your audience. Once you've experienced joyful marketing you will never forget it.

• Rebecca Hoffman is the founder and principal of Good Egg Concepts, a strategic communications and brand marketing consulting practice serving clients around Chicagoland and nationally.

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