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What your customers want: Pickles

I went to bring something to a friend today. We parted with goodbyes, said “Let’s get together soon!” and as I left, she handed me a jar of pickles.

I thought to myself, as is the case with so many friends, “I really must get together with Emily more often!”.  I realized that she had given me the best gift a friend could ever give. Pickles! Everytime I reach for a pickle, I’ll think of Emily. The pickles will last a while, because pickles aren’t an everyday kind of food, but as long as they last, I’ll be reminded of my friend every time I open the fridge. It will be a warm feeling, because it’s personal.

Marketers, communicators, salespeople, pay attention: Your customers WANT pickles.

The best marketing is not a direct mail piece that gets a 0.8% response rate which is better than the 0.6% response rate you got last month. This is no longer enough. This is tantamount to trying to catapult pickles at your customers from a mile away.

The best marketing is something personal, that comes in a format that touches at multiple points, is created with good intentions, builds on a relationship and feels good inside. Just like my pickles.

If I think of my favourite marketing campaigns , I think about the following:

  1. Old Spice

    And the many personal responses that followed. They were personal, they were fresh, they made my stomach tingle when I laughed at them and I saw lots of them, all in the same type of package. All characteristics that they share with the pickle.

  2. The Obama Campaign

    With the slogan “Change we can believe in” and “Yes we can!”, the Obama campaign made it seem like it was everyone’s duty to enable change. By giving the everyone the tools to spread the message, the Obama campaign put pickles in everyone’s fridge. It was now the responsibility of every person to spread the message and get involved in the biggest and most engaging eating competition the U.S. had ever seen: eating the republican competition.

  3. The “The Wilderness Outside” album launch

  4. The Arcade Fire has perhaps one of the most pickle-perfect album launches of all time. For the launch of their new album “The Wilderness Downtown”, they set out to create a personalized experience that touched your heart at on a very emotional level. The reason that this campaign keeps popping up in my fridge is because it spreads. Eventually, all my friends will ask me if I’ve seen it, which will re-evoke the feelings that I felt when I first went through the experience, keeping this launch campaign top of mind.

So, the next time that you design a marketing campaign, communicate en-masse, or try to make a sale, ask yourself if you’re putting a jar of pickles in your customer’s fridge. Are you personal, tasty, interesting, and will whatever you’re doing remind them at every turn who it is that gave them that great jar of pickles?

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