Back to School – Sticky Marketing Lessons from Panera and Doubletree Hotels


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Actions Speak Louder Than Words

A couple recent stories from the Purple Goldfish Project drove home a simple truth. Doing the little unexpected extras and taking care of customers can be a powerful form of marketing. Let’s look at both Panera and Doubletree:

Panera – this was brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago by Annette Gleneicki at CX Journey. It comes from a Facebook post by Brandon Cook. His mother Gail reposted it on Panera’s Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Gail Cook, Nashua Patch

A touching tale of a store manager who used good judgement to help the dying grandmother of a customer. Making soup and sending along cookies for good measure. Adweek does a nice job of summarizing the story here.

In less than four weeks the post has garnered millions of impressions, 800,000+ likes and nearly 35,000 comments.

Doubletree Cocoa Beach– this was brought to my attention back in June by a friend named Stephen Holodak, “I know you’ve always been a fan of Doubletree. I saw this on reddit today and thought I’d pass it along.”

Doubletree went above and beyond to celebrate the birthday of a young boy. In the words of his Dad, “I made a reservation at Doubletree, and they asked what brought me to the area. I mentioned on the phone that my son, AJ, was turning 4 and we were taking a father son trip to Kennedy space center and were going to go surfing in the Atlantic. This is the room when we showed up. They did the gift bag, boogie board, banner, everything!”

I caught the post when it was at just under 300,000 page views. I just checked and it currently has 4,843,095 views.

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway – It’s nice to be important, but its more important to be nice. Both of these situations weren’t done with marketing as a pretense. They were gestures of kindness and giving. An extra effort that ultimately was rewarded with positive word of mouth that went viral.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – In honor of ‘Back to School’, I’m giving away free copies of the book “What’s Your Purple Goldfish?” between 9/5 – 9/9. Click here on Amazon to get a copy. Feel free to tell a friend or 3,000.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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