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Newsletter #1038: The “Make Someone Smile” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Don’t get too caught up in complicated marketing. You don’t always need a coupon or a call to action. Sometimes the best marketing is the kind that’s so simple it catches people off guard with happiness.

Here are three simple things to make people smile:

1. Balloons
2. Friendly phone calls
3. Pretty dumpsters
4. Check it out: Eyes in Space

1. Balloons

Fleur, a florist shop in Chicago, puts a bucket full of bright balloons by the door of their shop with a handwritten sign that says: “Take a balloon.” That’s all. No logos, no catch. Just something to make people smile. Inside the store, it makes a pretty display, and outside the store, people are likely to ask where you got the balloon. That’s a simple, fun way to get a conversation started without a marketing message.

The lesson: A bucket full of balloons is a bucket full of word of mouth tools. It doesn’t have to be branded or a part of a larger campaign — in fact, the simpler you make it, the better.

2. Friendly phone calls

When one customer got an unexpected call from her wine club service, Naked Wines, she said she expected to hear something like her card needed to be updated or that she hadn’t ordered in a while. Instead, a cheerful rep had just called to thank her for her years of support and to make sure she was happy. That’s it. No sales pitch and no problems. Just a friendly call.

The lesson: When’s the last time you called or wrote to your customers just to say thanks? You don’t need any other excuse to talk to them, just some genuine gratitude and care.

3. Pretty dumpsters

To raise awareness for the amount of stuff we consume and waste, one artist, Christine Finley, began wallpapering dumpsters with beautiful patterns in cities like San Francisco, Berlin, Paris, Rome, and New York. The wallpaper makes a stark contrast of trash poking out from behind floral and damask prints. But here’s Finley’s point: “If we see dumpsters as works of art, we have raised consciousness.”

The lesson: That’s a lot different from your typical eco-conscious PSA. Finley makes the conversation more approachable and easier to talk about by using beauty instead of guilt to raise awareness for waste.

Learn more: Finley Studios

4. Check it out: Eyes in Space

Here’s something that will make you smile (or cringe, if you’re scared of heights): a 360-degree view from a weather balloon floating into space. There’s also a version for virtual-reality glasses if you dare.

Check it out: Eyes in Space

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