Pleasing poll results for surprise and delight marketing campaigns

Loblaw, WestJet and Air Miles among companies who wowed shoppers


The results of a LoyaltyOne survey on the eve of the Christmas sales season suggest consumers who experience surprise and delight marketing campaigns are in a positive state of shock and awe for those companies and brands.

Conducted in November, the online survey queried 1,188 Canadians about S&D promotions they had experienced.

A whopping 95% of respondents said they were left with a positive perception of the company or brand behind the promotion.

More than half of respondents (56%) also said they shared their positive experience with friends and family, while a third (34%) said they gave the company or brand more business as a result of their experience.

Other notable survey results were that millennials and Generation Z respondents in the 18-24 age bracket had the highest recall of S&D (69%), while people 65 and older had the lowest (37%).

The vast majority of respondents, regardless of age group, said they were happy with their S&D experience.

The most appealing awards among respondents for S&D, a marketing concept that has been most popularized in Canada by Westjet’s Christmas Miracle campaigns, Scotiabank’s Scene Card giveaways, Mastercard’s Priceless campaign, and Loblaws four-week Million Market Moments campaign, were special privileges for longtime customers (90%), surprise discounts (86%), free samples (86%), special birthday offers or coupons (82%), and special holiday gifts (82%).

“S&D is all about creating marketable moments and brand placement that can be leveraged through a store or brand’s own social media channels, and that consumers can use on their own private channels,” Bryan Pearson, LoyaltyOne’s president and chief executive officer, told Canadian Grocer.

According to Pearson, LoyaltyOne decided to conduct a survey on S&D in conjunction with its own recent campaign, called Smile Booth, which gave small free gifts to shoppers who smiled for cameras in kiosks that were set up in all retail networks, including grocery stores, across Canada.

“We learned firsthand that (S&D) creates a lot of social media buzz, and we saw consumers being more active in our programs after their experience with Smile Booth,” said Pearson, who also serves as chair of the Canadian Marketing Association.

He added that pursuing loyalty-building offers and strategies like S&D makes good sense for retailers in today’s wired world.

“Consumers want to be recognized and appreciated for their loyalty,” said Pearson.  “Retailers who do that stand to gain.”

But social and product marketing expert and behavioural scientist Darren Dahl isn’t so sure.

READ: Loblaw gifts shoppers with major market moments

“Surprise and delight campaigns can be useful as part of a portfolio of promotion tools that an organization can use,” Dahl, a professor and senior associate dean at the University of British Columbia’s Robert H. Lee graduate school wrote today from Melbourne, Australia.

But he warned that LoyaltyOne’s survey results are unsurprising because “most people love to be surprised with free stuff or an upgrade (and) it is easy to indicate that one has a better attitude and would buy again,” said Dahl. “But talk is cheap. Actual behavior that is driven by this type of promotion is what the retailer is looking for.

“Yes, there is ROI on these type of efforts,” he added.  “But it can be hard to quantify compared to other more direct promotion tools that are available to retailers.”