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If you’re like me, you’ve probably thought about what makes people happy.

I’m not talking about the many social media influencers who present false happiness on a daily basis, confusing the next generation about our cultural norms. I’m not talking about meditation, yoga, healthy eating, or the continuing list of things we need to do that might make us happy. And I’m certainly not talking about money.

I had a blissful trip during the lockdown – 21 days doing the same five tasks every day. Each task is accompanied by scientific studies to prove that they will make you happier. While it worked to some extent, once I stopped doing daily chores, the short-term happiness it created was gone.

It got me thinking about how marketing makes people feel, at least in the short term. And what we can do as marketers to keep our customers happy after their purchase.

Most of Western culture is now savvy about our marketing tactics. And while there are still things we can do to drive conversions, how much of our marketing is really about making people happy enough to buy from us? And when it does, do we do it on purpose?

What is the formula for happiness?

Over the years, I have looked at many formulas that can predict how happy a person is. But these often involve complex factors that differ from person to person. What makes me happy may not make you happy, and that’s totally cool.

The happiness formula that I have defined for short and long term marketing impact is super simple, however, with the right application, can be exceptional …


Let me break it down with a story – we all love stories, don’t we? Or, all the other traders tell us “you have to tell stories”. Not if you have terrible stories, you don’t.

The customer not so happy

You have booked a weekend for you and your friend. You are both booking an affordable hotel and while the reviews are not great the pictures the hotel has given you are fabulous. You and your friend enlarged the hotel so much before arriving that you are waiting a 10/10.

On your arrival, the reality is that you get an experience of 8/10. Your expectations have exceeded reality and you don’t feel too good about it.

You might have had a great weekend, but you won’t be returning to this hotel anytime soon and you are not recommending the hotel to your family and friends at all.

The happy customer

Now let’s turn it over. You take the time to read the reviews and understand that the images provided by the hotel are probably just trying to make it more glamorous than it is in an attempt to increase sales.

You and your friend are looking forward to the weekend, but you don’t expect the hotel to be this great. At best you are waiting a 6/10. When you get there, the reality is that it’s not as bad as you might think, a solid 8/10. Your reality has exceeded your expectations and you are quite happy with the situation.

You might not recommend the hotel right away, but you wouldn’t mind going back as you had a pleasant experience.


Let’s make one thing clear

I’m not suggesting making your marketing efforts worse than the actual experience. I’m not saying if you are a hotel post horrible photos. Don’t fool people for a short term victory.

What I’m trying to say is this:

The experience of your product or service should always strive to exceed the customer’s expectations, allowing them to have a truly happy and memorable experience.

This will allow you to increase the lifetime value of each customer as they are more likely to repeat their purchases and recommend your business to their peers. Two of the most cost effective ways to increase long term sales for any business.

Pretty happy to buy

So how can this work in practice? Well, before you can exceed people’s expectations with using the product or service, you need them to buy it in the first place. As marketers, we do this in a number of ways in an ethical manner …


It should always start with a marketing strategy. A marketing plan without doing your research is just a hunch, and while it may work for some marketers, it’s not scalable.

Instead, investing in a solid research-backed strategy will allow you to identify what your target market is actually looking for and what they want to be sold for.

Once you understand this, you can develop a really solid proposal strategy that will guide and inform the messages you use in your communications.


As I mentioned earlier, consumers are increasingly savvy about our marketing techniques. In order to counter this initial mistrust, the use of genuine inspiring and engaging creative assets work a treat.

Again, link this to your strategic research and produce creations that will resonate with your target market and explain to them the benefits they expect from your product or service.

Most importantly, explain the why.


Make sure that you and your team are spending time on the marketing activities that really make a difference in the performance of your campaign.

By setting clear SMART goals and performing weekly syncs to assess the metrics that are achieving those goals, you will be able to fine-tune and optimize your current campaigns for the best results.

Pretty happy to come back for more

Once you’ve made a sale, now you need to make sure that the expectations for that product or service are exceeded. Having a great product is obvious, but what else can we as aftermarket marketers do?

happy customer


By segmenting your customers, you can provide them with the after-sales support they really need and want.

Use automation and a CRM system, such as Hubspot, to manage these segments. You can then create workflows to provide your different customer groups with the right content, the right promotions, or the right information that will keep you in mind for a repeat purchase.

Happy staff

Make sure you are doing all you can at a leadership level to keep your staff happy. If your product or service can or does involve any kind of communication with your customers and employees, then it is a must.

Having a friendlier, happier workforce will make them believe in what you do as a business and allow them to truly support the products and services you sell. This user-friendliness will be reflected in interactions with after-sales customers.

Intelligent staff

Just having a group of friendly employees on hand won’t be enough (I think Lush might not agree *). You should also make sure that your coworkers receive proper training on the product / service, as well as relationship training on how to handle even the most delicate customers.

* In fairness to Lush, I know they train their employees very well on their products.

to summarize

As marketers, we often prioritize short-term gains with prospects over building long-term relationships with customers.

Tailoring the Happiness Formula to your marketing efforts will allow you to exceed customer expectations time and time again. This will increase your customer’s lifetime value and drive referrals through word of mouth and user-generated content.

Don’t be guided by gut decisions as a marketer, back up your campaigns with strategic research, dope creations, and a data-driven approach to maximize success.

Want to chat to make your customers really happy? Drop us a line today.

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