All business is fundamentally about helping your customers solve problems. The challenge is when we must educate a customer about a problem that they didn’t know they had or that they didn’t know you could help them solve.
Several large companies have recently launched high-profile and unique campaigns doing exactly this—engaging current and future customers in unique and unexpected ways to highlight how their product or service can help solve surprising problems.
Domino’s Pizza in the United States is fixing potholes that have ruined delivery pizzas. Typically, the purview of state or local municipalities, Domino’s is empowering customers to electronically (through a web-based portal) report road issues and then sending out crews to fix them, leaving an emblazoned Domino’s logo with the tagline “Oh yes we did.” in the place of a once-dangerous (or at least annoying) pothole. Are we looking at a day when we trust major conglomerates more than our elected officials to fix basic infrastructure issues? They’re even highlighting their successes on the Paving for Pizza website showing where they have fixed roads and where they are going next, including statistics about how many potholes they’ve filled (eight in Bartonville, Texas alone!) and how many tons of asphalt they’ve used.
The popular candy company Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups launched a candy trade-in machine, the “Candy Converter,” helping hordes of Halloween lovers get the candy they really wanted on the sugar-fueled holiday this year. Not only is this idea solving a problem people didn’t know they could solve—you can trade in a car, so why not candy—it also provides the company useful information on competitors. What type of candy is traded as undesirable? Basic demographic data can be pulled from cameras on the machine to see if the candy is more popular with kids or adults. They’ve received a ton of press for this couple-of-day stunt using their #NotSorry hashtag during the most candy-focused day of the year. Public response has been overwhelmingly positive, including these comments on their YouTube video explaining the process: “I need this in my life.” “Reese = win.” And “What a wonderful time to be alive…”
Dawn Dish Soap cuts dirt and grime not just off of the dishes in your kitchen sink but also off of wildlife impacted by oil spills and other disasters. Wildlife rescue organizations have been using Dawn to clean birds and marine mammals for more than 40 years—Dawn only recently began publicizing this fact using TV and paid digital advertising to drive people to the custom URL: www.DawnSavesWildlife.com where they explain what they’ve done, how many animals they’ve helped (more than 75,000), and provide links to their partner organizations. Helping animals during an emergency is a powerful and unique problem—one that most people will likely never experience but one they can relate to, and absolutely one they will remember when shopping for their next dish soap. In an often-commoditized industry of cleaners, who wouldn’t spend a few extra pennies supporting the brand that helps animals?
Not only do the approaches listed above solve tangible problems for consumers, they also involve physical solutions for a very digital world. Sometimes “old-fashioned” techniques work best, and these strategies help the companies that use them stand out and literally connect more viscerally with their clients, creating longer lasting and more positive impressions than companies that rely purely on digital marketing alone. Your business should always connect with your customers in as many ways as possible, nurturing not only a simple exchange of money for good and services but actually creating an enduring relationship through a multi-pronged and multi-channel approach.
How can you solve your customers’ problems in new and innovative ways?