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Surprise and Delight: How to Engage Your Key Audience

· Pharmaceutical,Communications,Biotechnology

It's a marketing term we all are familiar with. We assume we understand it. Make your customers happy. Make them feel welcome. Be memorable.

But how often do we really think about what "surprise and delight" really means?

What steps do we take so we can "surprise and delight" our key audience?

When was the last time someone "surprised and delighted" you, and made that clear, strong impression that you couldn't forget?

Recently at the end of April, my firm was producing an investigator meeting in Miami for one of our clients. I arrived in a day in advance for preparation. After a long flight and tricky taxi ride in to the hotel (arrived right in the middle of the Mercedez Benz Corporate Run!), I finally made it to the check-in. The hotel was busy, with lots of runners cooling off and socializing, and a long-line for check-in.

I finally got to the front of the line. The nicest man welcomed me and checked me in, with a friendly smile and warm eye contact. He assigned me a room on a high floor with a nice harbor view. He was more than happy to guarantee my clients would get nice rooms as well.

A few minutes after checking into my room, there was a knock on the door, and a nice bottle of wine and a cheese platter were delivered compliments of the front desk.

Wow, how nice! I was impressed. The man at the front desk completely “surprised and delighted” me. Did he know that I was responsible for the large investigator meeting taking place and was just trying to make me happy? I am sure. And that’s great. He showed me he appreciated my business, and he did it with class and friendliness.

The rest of my time at the hotel continued with excellent service and “surprise and delight” moments. The hotel brought food to my office on-the-house. They dropped off a great event kit for me, with any supplies that I might need. I had cell numbers for my event lead, my food/beverage lead, and my A/V lead. I needed flowers, and they were right there. I wanted nicer lighting, and more elegant linens for our welcome dinner, and they were changed right away. Great service!

I can tell you, next time I have an event to produce in Miami, this hotel is my first call.

Whenever you are working with people that you value, the same mindset must apply. In the pharmaceutical industry, when working with key investigators or top thought leaders, make an impression. For our Investigator Meeting, a friendly, professional welcome with a warm smile and nice eye contact, a nice handwritten welcome card, a nice room drop (if appropriate and within guidelines), and a personalized thank-you are all things to incorporate.

On a recent clinical site engagement trip I was on abroad, I was able to bring copies of a best-seller book, signed by the author to all the sites we visited. The clinical teams LOVED them and sent personal thanks as responses to our thank you emails. Did this help engage them? Yes!

When you can do something unique, do it!

Provide value. Be of service. Be friendly. Go the extra mile. It’s amazing to measure the kind of engagement and buy-in you get when you are service-oriented versus just providing the basics.

Do you have any great "surprise and delight" moments to share? Post in the comments!

Like to learn more about my approach to KOL engagement? Please contact me here.