At his keynote speech at Inbound 2018, Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan presented his new marketing flywheel, a new approach to marketing that puts the customer at the center of every process. According to this new marketing model, as professional marketers and businesspeople, it is our job to attract, engage and delight our customers. Emphasis on Delight. And what are brands that delight?

Halligan explained that Hubspot has seen an increase in word of mouth purchases. Customers purchased Hubspot because a friend, client, coffee buddy, or mentor used the product and recommended it.
So what does that mean for marketing? Well, it means that we should shift our marketing initiatives slightly and increase customer service in order to delight the customer. When our clients are delighted with us, they will go and do our marketing for us via word of mouth, also called referral marketing. As Halligan says,

“The biggest ROI in the market today is delighting your customer.”

Easier said than done.

To help me think about better ways to focus on delighting customers, I thought about a few brands that delight me – and why. What does the brand do that makes me happy? And what can I learn from their methods to use to delight my own customers?


Canva is a design software for non-designers. I use Canva on a weekly basis to create social media posts.

Why does this brand delight?

  • Loads of pre-formatted professional-looking templates
  • Affordable
  • Ease-of-Use
  • Quick designs without the need of a graphic designer

What have I learned?

Canva is a zero-friction tool that makes my life easier. In his keynote speech, Halligan mentions that the future is in zero-friction sales. Customers will be delighted when there are fewer people standing in the way of a sale or end product. With Canva, I don’t have to call a graphic designer, ask for help or watch a bunch of tutorials to figure out how it works. I can go in and make attractive designs at my own pace. Now I can analyze my own business, figure out where there may be friction that stops clients from reaching out or making a purchase, and then eliminate that friction for a seamless customer experience.


A colleague recommended that I use Quickbooks for my invoicing. Previously I was invoicing using PDFs that I created myself and emailing them individually. After realizing how easy this automatic invoicing software is to use, I was quickly delighted.

Why does this brand delight?

  • Allows for instant electronic payments
  • Affordable software
  • Trackable invoices
  • Mileage Calculator
  • Reminder to make estimated tax payments

What have I learned?

Quickbooks allows me to manage my business finances quickly and efficiently so that I can focus my attention on other tasks (like marketing!). If you are a service brand like myself, clients hire you to help them get a project done quickly and efficiently so that they can focus on other things. Knowing that quick and efficient service is a way to delight my customers, I can create processes that minimize the amount of time that clients have to spend focusing on whatever they’ve hired me to do.


I know this last brand might be controversial to some, but I really do like Starbucks. I’m not a daily Starbucks visitor, but I estimate that I am there once every 2-3 weeks for a client meeting or to work away from the house for a few hours.

Why does this brand delight?

• Reusable cups
• Customer Rewards program
• Pumpkin Spice Lattes
• Relaxed environment
• Treats employees well

What have I learned?

To me, one of the top benefits of Starbucks is the flow of information. Their app keeps me informed about rewards and double-star day opportunities for loyal customers. So how can I adapt this for use in my business? Everyone communicates in different ways. Make sure that you are communicating on a consistent basis to stay top of mind and let clients know what’s happening. I can do this via a monthly customer newsletter or personalized recap email. Granted, some people might not open it when they’re busy, but they always appreciate the effort to stay in touch and keep them up-to-date.

To Sum Up

I wanted to see how some of my favorite brands delight customers. By examining what they do well, I can use those insights so that I can in turn delight my own clients. Here are my key takeaways from this exercise:

  • Take away any friction customers might experience in buying or using your product.
  • Provide quick and efficient service that minimizes the need for a client’s time and/or effort.
  • Keep your customer informed.
  • Reward clients for choosing you.

Your Turn

I’d encourage you to run through the same exercise of brands that you use in your daily life. What do those brands do that delights you, and what can you do to delight your customers in the same way? Download this worksheet to help you do some critical thinking about how to improve your customers’ experience.