Should we include humor in our marketing?

Should we include humor in our marketing?

What’s so funny about marketing?

There was a restaurant owner who liked to personally run the drive-up window on Saturdays. He would laugh and joke with customers and sometimes tease them. The customers laughed and seemed to enjoy the experience, and the owner enjoyed making them smile. Many people seemed to come back just to go through the drive-up.

However, the owner noticed that about 10% of customers would complain instead. They would tell him that they just wanted their food and didn’t find it humorous. They said it was unprofessional and that they would probably not come back because of how they were treated.

The owner 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? On the other hand, 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.

After a lot of thought, the restaurant owner decided that he would rather risk losing the 10% who complained than risk losing the 90% who enjoyed the laughter.

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 Sherpa 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, the “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 about social media marketing, it’s easy to see how this relates 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 amid 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?”

Do you ever use humor in your marketing efforts? Share with us in the comments below. And contact us today if you’re unsure of how to incorporate humor into marketing!

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