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Three Ways to Have Fun With Your Marketing (Even If You Have a 'Boring' Brand)

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When I'm talking to other marketing people about my job, one of the things I hear over and over again is, "You're so lucky! You get to have fun with your marketing.

"I wish we could have fun in our jobs."

That's because I work at a company with an irreverent brand, where it's perfectly OK to come to work looking like we do in the picture on the right.

And where this is a part of our website:

Here's the thing, though: You, too, can have fun with your marketing.

Sure, maybe you don't want to put up a video where one of your sales folks dresses up in a shiny silver jumpsuit on your website. And maybe a bio for your in-office massage chair wouldn't be quite on-brand. But just because you sell something kinda boring, or you have a brand that rates a 0/10 on the kooky scale, doesn't mean you can't have fun with your marketing.

Fun doesn't have to mean goofball copy and silly GIFs. Fun can be as simple as communication that people want to hear and want to interact with—communication that adds a little delight to your audience's day.

I want my fellow marketers to have fun, and I want their audiences to have fun, so here are three tips you can use to make your marketing fun. Even if you're selling something like this:

1. Be unexpected

Think about your customer's day. A lot of the day is probably pretty similar to yours: too many emails, too many meetings, too little time—wash, rinse, repeat. To be fun, think of ways to interject some delight in between those day-to-day blahs.

Like this shipping notification from Photojojo:

Way different from your typical shipping notification, and different in a way that makes you smile and take notice. It may seem like a small touch and a small touchpoint, but such little fun moments add up to a meaningful brand.

2. Have a sense of humor about yourself

Something else that's unexpected: not taking yourself so seriously. There's an opportunity for your company to put what you sell in a different light—a lighthearted, interesting light. Yes, even if you sell software or industrial equipment or the dreaded "services."

For example, raise your hand if you're just absolutely titillated by engine components and turbine control structures.

Not a niche machinery enthusiast? Well, you might be if someone told you what was cool about those products. And that's just what GE did, on a Pinterest board called "Badass Machines":

GE took it even further with a board about its founder, Thomas Edison. Instead of a straightforward bio or press release honoring the famous inventor, GE did this:

If GE can make machine components cool, you can make your product cool. If GE can be playful with the subject of Thomas "I Invented the Light Bulb and About 100 Other Things You Use Every Day" Edison, you can be playful.

Don't be afraid to approach why people should care about your product from a new angle. Your customers will appreciate it.

3. It's about people, not product

If you're feeling really anxious about that "having fun with your product" idea, why not turn your attention on something just as important: people. Your people, your customer's people.

We spend way too much time talking about our products anyway. Email after email about "exciting" feature updates, long PowerPoint presentations about all the companies you've worked for and the awards you've won.

Instead of talking all about you and what you offer, focus on the customer. And not even necessarily what your product or service can offer customers. Rather, celebrate those customers. Help them. Teach them. Make their day a little brighter.


  • An email to say "happy birthday!"
  • Or, "Happy anniversary to us!"
  • Thought you'd enjoy this!
  • Check out this interesting article on a subject we're both interested in.
  • Saw your good news—congrats!
  • Woo-hoo, we're so excited to be working together!

When you treat your prospects and customers like people instead of faceless leads, they'll be ready to listen when it does come time to talk a little product.

You can also talk about yourself... but in a "This cool thing happened and we wanted to share it" kind of way, or a "Get to know us!" kind of way. Not an "Aren't we the most awesome?" kind of way.

For example, one of my coworkers gave the coolest, most surprising company presentation, and it was just such a treat we had to share it with everyone:

People want to work with people they like. So consider sharing the great things that are happening behind the scenes at your company. At the very least, spit-shine the bios on your website and make them sound like real people, not resumes.

* * *

So there you have it, marketing friends. You can have fun at your jobs, too, because fun doesn't have to be banana suits. Fun is thinking "people" instead of "targets," and not being afraid to do something new, unexpected or just plain delightful.

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Melanie Davis is a marketing storyteller at Jellyvision, an interactive marketing company that helps you explain your important (but maybe kind of complex) messages in a delightful way.

Twitter: @melaniecdavis

LinkedIn: Melanie Davis

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  • by Fabienne Raphaël Sun Aug 31, 2014 via web

    Great post Melanie! You are so right about the fact that if our communications are more people focused and also with a glimpse of humor and difference, for sure our they will definitely more noticed. It will also be easier to build a relationship with your reader, customer, client, etc.

    I want to share with you what a friend of mine did and that was totally unexpected from a potential client.
    He sent a cell phone and programmed his office number in it. Therefore, when the potential client received the phone with a hand-written message, it was really easy for him to give a call back and schedule an appointment. He had a great return with this method.

  • by Meredith Watts Tue Sep 9, 2014 via web

    I really enjoyed this article and it is inspiring to see the different kinds of marketing for unsuspecting brands. The concept of getting to know your customer better rather by focusing on the experience rather than just exposing the brand is really interesting - "Rather, celebrate those customers. Help them. Teach them. Make their day a little brighter." This marketing direction is more worthwhile and can be adopted by all companies, no matter what product they are selling.

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