The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.

The Zappos story

There are many real-life stories that illustrate the idea that the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing, but one example that comes to mind is the success of the online retailer Zappos.

Zappos is an online shoe and clothing store that was founded in 1999. From the beginning, the company’s founder, Tony Hsieh, was determined to create a unique customer experience that would set Zappos apart from its competitors. Instead of just focusing on selling shoes, Hsieh wanted to create a brand that was known for exceptional customer service and a fun, quirky culture.

To achieve this, Zappos invested heavily in customer service, offering free shipping and returns, 24/7 customer support, and a 365-day return policy. The company also encouraged its employees to be themselves and have fun at work, creating a unique and engaging company culture.

“We believe that customer service shouldn’t be just a department; it should be the entire company.”

This quote reflects the customer-centric approach that is a core part of Zappos’ philosophy. Hsieh believed that exceptional customer service was not just the responsibility of a single department, but rather a company-wide effort. By prioritizing the customer experience and empowering employees to go above and beyond to help customers, Zappos was able to create a loyal customer base and a strong brand reputation.

As Zappos grew, its reputation for exceptional customer service and a fun, quirky culture spread. Customers began to rave about their experiences shopping with Zappos, and word-of-mouth marketing became a powerful driver of the company’s success.

Today, Zappos is one of the most successful online retailers in the world, with annual sales of over $2 billion. And while the company certainly invests in traditional marketing and advertising, much of its success can be attributed to the fact that its marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. By focusing on creating an exceptional customer experience and a fun, engaging company culture, Zappos has built a loyal customer base and a powerful brand that speaks for itself.


The Goonj story

Another real-life story from India that illustrates the idea that the best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing:

In 2014, a social enterprise called Goonj launched a unique marketing campaign called “Not Just a Piece of Cloth.” The campaign aimed to raise awareness about the issue of menstrual hygiene in rural India and encourage people to donate cloth sanitary pads to women in need.

Instead of relying on traditional advertising or PR tactics, Goonj took a more creative approach. They partnered with local tailors and designers to create a range of stylish and colorful cloth sanitary pads that could be easily washed and reused. These pads were then distributed to women in rural communities, along with educational materials about menstrual hygiene.

Goonj also organized a series of “Cloth Pad Fashion Shows” in villages across India. These events featured local women modeling the cloth pads and showing off their unique designs, while also discussing the importance of menstrual hygiene and breaking down taboos and stigmas around menstruation.

The campaign was a huge success, with thousands of cloth sanitary pads donated and distributed to women in need. By focusing on creative, engaging ways to raise awareness about the issue of menstrual hygiene and providing a tangible solution, Goonj was able to create a powerful marketing campaign that felt more like a social movement than a traditional marketing campaign.

This story shows that the best marketing is not always about slick ads or big budgets. By taking a more creative and grassroots approach, Goonj was able to engage people on a deeper level and create a meaningful impact. By providing a solution to a pressing social issue, the campaign also helped to build awareness and goodwill for the Goonj brand.

The Goonj Story 100 Stories of Change

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