The Case for Discovery in Marketing

Woman peering into a box

Let me start by saying: I’m all about the data.

I’m an advocate of one-to-one marketing. I think behavior-based targeting is an essential part of the marketing mix. And, I’m certain that machine learning and other forms of AI will become so core to marketing as to be a virtually invisible element of areas such as personalization.

But, please, marketers, I implore you: Don’t get so caught up in all that contextual personalization has to offer that you overlook the art of discovery.


Bouqs homepageI’m a regular customer of The Bouqs Company. I’ve received the type of behavior-based targeted reminders that you’d expect: “You sent a Bouq as a gift last year on X date and that date is fast approaching. What would you like to send this year?” And, if Bouqs was to track my purchases and click habits, discover that I tend toward bouquets with lots of orange and yellow flowers, send me an email with a selection of their favorites that prominently feature those colors, and suggest that I treat myself, it’s likely that I’d be delighted and take them up on their idea.

Now consider…

Thrive homepage

I’ve just joined Thrive Market. After your first large purchase as a member, Thrive Market sends you a welcome gift full of goodies. The box included items that I…

  • Never would have thought to look for
  • Didn’t know existed
  • Probably wouldn’t have tried if they hadn’t been part of the welcome gift
  • Not only tried, but shared, evangelized, and will purchase again from Thrive

I asked Sunil Kaki, SVP of marketing at Thrive Market, how the team selects the items in the welcome gift. He says, they’re “products that we are really excited about and want to introduce our members to.”


This is marketing as a service at its best. It’s a surprise-and-delight part of Thrive’s customer experience. And it’s all about discovery.

Think about what this means to Thrive, and to me as its customer.


  1. I’ve learned about the expanse of what Thrive has to offer, which means I’ll rethink my searches when I’m shopping on the site to unearth more of the unexpected.
  2. I’m more excited about shopping at Thrive now that—through the welcome gift—they’ve educated me as to the possible in terms of what it sells, as well as what products are actually out there that I may not have realized.
  3. I’ve recommended Thrive to a number of friends, and plan to continue to do so.


  1. Thrive Market has an engaged and excited customer.
  2. Thrive Market will earn more of my wallet share than I had planned to spend there when I joined.
  3. Thrive Market may gain new customers based on my enthusiastic recommendations.


If Thrive Market simply packed up that welcome gift with items related to my searches and purchases, I never would have discovered all that it has to offer. I would have appreciated that the team took time to understand my preferences, and would have continued to be a happy customer.

Like many companies, Thrive Market uses sections such as “best sellers” and “customer favorites” on its site to aid in discovery. But it’s Thrive’s enthusiasm for sharing its discoveries directly with its new members, and for expanding my horizons in doing so, that shifted me from happy to evangelist; from occasional to frequent purchaser. Using discovery to engage and inform customers can do that for a multitude of companies.

How are you helping your customers to discover what’s possible?