Should we include humor in our marketing?

What’s so funny about marketing?

I heard a story about a restaurant owner who liked to run the drive up window on Saturdays. He would laugh and joke with customers and sometimes tease them. He enjoyed the laughter and fun the customers seem to get from it and many seemed to come back just to go through the drive up.

Funny marketing

But he did notice about 10% of customers would complain about it. They would tell him that they just wanted their food and didn’t find it humorous. They would say that it was unprofessional and that they would probably not come back because of how they were treated.

In the story the owner talked about how he wondered if he should continue to operate his drive thru like this on Saturdays.  Was it worth losing customers? Wouldn’t most businesses put a stop to it right away? He then went on to explain that the humor he brought to his drive up window made 90% of his customers happy. They left with a smile and some even commented about how they enjoyed coming on Saturdays. He made them feel welcome and it was a more personal experience for them.

So the restaurant owner decided that he would rather risk losing the 10% who complained because of the humor and laughter he brought to their experience than risk losing the 90% who enjoyed it.

The big question is “should we include humor in our marketing efforts”? If any of you know me, you know my answer is a resounding YES. But hey, that’s just me. However a report from Marketing Serpa provides this data:  A campaign seen as “Entertainment – funny or insightful” is a major driver for social “friend” or “follow” action.  Among metrics tracked in this study, “because it was funny” reason is given 35% of the time. This outranks the reason to learn more about “Company culture, environmental resp., workers policies, etc.,” and although this is in reference to social media marketing I think we can all correlate how it could relate to much of our marketing.

We all work in fast paced environments. We all have a lot of data coming at us from multiple sources. We have to sort through emails, tweets, likes, follows, direct mail, voice messages and text messages. It’s a lot of work, much of it is important and we take it seriously. So in the midst of all this serious information that is coming at us in all directions, humor, laughter and making someone smile even for just a moment may be the one thing that makes your message stand out. It may be the one thing that makes your drive up window worth going back to over the other guys.

So if you think that it’s unprofessional or that your customers may not find it funny when you add humor to your marketing, ask yourself the same question the owner of the restaurant asked “am I willing to make 90% of my customers feel better about doing business with us even if I risk losing 10% who don’t?”

Have you ever used humor in your marketing efforts? Let us know in the comments! If you’re unsure of how to incorporate humor into marketing, contact us today!

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Tony Pires

About the Author:

Tony Pires is the VP of Business Development at CFS, Inc. in Norton, MA. Tony serves as a leader in developing new business and strategic partnerships with our clients. You can contact him at tony@cfsinc.com or click here connect with him on LinkedIn.

4 Comments
  1. Pat Burton/TSMCo. May 24, 2017 at 3:26 PM

    An employees sense of humor and persona reflects on the employer and instills confidence of the firm in the customer. No one wants to be serviced by a grouchy employee. No one wants to be serviced by a Don Rickles…learn to measure your customer and ‘Keep Smiling’ as Tony says.

  2. Francis Barkyoumb May 25, 2017 at 8:40 AM

    It cost less time and money to keep a client than acquire a new one. If 90% percent of the customers find a good reason to keep coming back, then by all means “Keep the laughing”.

  3. LORI BRANCO May 30, 2017 at 9:51 AM

    A great example of how you “can’t make everyone happy all the time”, but I would say 90% is pretty damn close 🙂

  4. Tom Gustar June 20, 2017 at 11:16 PM

    We need to realize that trying to please everyone is not a reasonable goal. Better to take the risk of offending a few people in an attempt to make raving dedicated fans out of the ones that like our unorthodox approach.

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