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Newsletter #886: The “Things We Didn’t Expect” 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.]

Surprising, unique, and unexpected things get us talking. Great marketers are always on the lookout to use these opportunities to create something worth talking about. Here are a few inspiring examples of things we didn’t expect:

1. For a porta-potty to be this nice
2. For a trucking company to be this great on Facebook
3. For a magazine to be delivered via helicopter
4. Check it out: What Book Should I Read?

1. For a porta-potty to be this nice

IKEA is great at being unique, weird, and wonderful. Their latest mind-blowing stunt: They rigged up what looked to be a normal porta-potty into a lavish, IKEA-stocked bathroom. As you can imagine, people were absolutely shocked and stunned when they entered. The whole thing started more positive conversations about a porta-potty than any other public bathroom in history, and videos of everyone’s reactions soon went viral online.

The lesson: This type of unexpected marketing creates more long-term word of mouth than any traditional ad ever could — and it’s also a whole lot more fun for everyone (including you).

Learn more: Huffington Post

2. For a trucking company to be this great on Facebook

BtoB brands — especially the little ones with tiny budgets — just aren’t supposed to bother with this social media and word of mouth stuff. It’s supposed to be too hard and not applicable for their customers. But the folks at Sammons Trucking offer a different take. They specialize in flatbed pickups and deliveries — and they have more than 10,000 fans in their active Facebook community. They post pictures from their truckers. They share industry news. They invite their fans to join their monthly safety and informational calls. It’s a unique, focused, and surprisingly active community that proves that anyone can create something worth talking about.

The lesson: If a trucking company can do it, what’s holding you back?

Learn more: Facebook

3. For a magazine to be delivered via helicopter

A product launch is a great opportunity to do something they didn’t see coming. Forbes recently launched their magazine in Brazil, but they didn’t want that first issue to just show up in the mail. So to really make an impression, Forbes coordinated with the assistants of business executives to make deliveries to their high-profile subscribers by helicopter. Calling it the “Helivery,” they actually landed on rooftops and hand-delivered the issues. Sure, a big budget helps pull this off — but there are a million ways to surprise your customers with a special delivery that don’t involve a pilot.

The lesson: You don’t have to wait to launch a new product to try this. Find an excuse to do something really big and really unexpected for your biggest talkers and best customers and see how many conversations you start.

Learn more: Simply Zesty

4. Check it out: What Book Should I Read?

Wondering what to put on your summer reading list? This clean, simple site is full of recommendations and has links to where you can read it (on Google Books), borrow it (through WorldCat), or buy it (from Alibris).

Check it out: What Book Should I Read

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