The Jimmy Fallon Guide to Customer Love

On a list that includes heavy hitters like Apple CEO Tim Cook, humanitarians Bill and Melinda Gates, and the Pope, it’s a little surprising to see someone whose basic job description is “late night talk show host.”

But that’s exactly what happened when Fortune named Jimmy Fallon one of 2015’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.

So why did they?

Simply put, because Fallon loves people… and people love him. Maybe Paul McCartney put it best: “He’s a major fan of people, and… it comes across to the audience—here’s this guy who has the same enthusiasms as you, but he happens to have his own talk show.”

So, what can one of the most loveable and hardest-working men in show business teach us about captivating our audiences’ hearts? A lot.

Here are four lessons you can apply directly to you and your business:

1. Be authentic.

He might be the king of impressions, but Jimmy Fallon’s authenticity is real. And authenticity goes a long way.

Fallon’s start in late night TV wasn’t easy. It took trial and error before finding the successful mix and quirky persona that so many now adore. But it’s that authenticity—the honest and sometimes uncomfortable real-life connection—that fans return for night after night.

The funny thing about authenticity is that is it “doesn’t happen naturally.” That’s what Talk Like TED author Carmine Gallo says: “An authentic personation takes hours of work, digging deeper into your soul than you ever have, choosing the right words that represent the way you feel about your topic, delivering those words for maximum impact, and making sure your nonverbal communication—your gestures, facial expressions and body language—are consistent with your message.”

Do you want to be more authentic? Be open… to new ideas, to new people and especially with your true personality. Experiencing the world with an open approach reduces the judgment and fear that keeps you from being authentic.

In business, this means not only sharing your mission, your passion and your purpose but also taking the time to really listen to other people.

2. Focus on relationships.

As simple as this may seem, many of us struggle to pay attention to other people. Not Fallon.

Genuine relationships are what make truly diehard fans, and Fallon’s rise to late night fame has hinged on his ability to develop them. With a natural ability to form lasting bonds with anyone, it’s impossible to ignore his relational focus.

He knows that conversations build rapport, and when those conversations take place in front of an audience, he’s building rapport with the whole room simultaneously.

How can you build relationships with your customers, especially at the enterprise level? The key is personalization.

Take email for example. Personalizing emails to build relationships means more than simply using each customer’s name. Instead, focus on utilizing your subscriber’s purchase and viewing history to tailor each message, their open and click-through rates to measure engagement and scheduling, and their preferred device (mobile versus desktop) to optimize the experience.

A full 75 percent of marketers surveyed by GetResponse agreed that personalization has a “significant impact” on customer retention rate and 73 percent on lifetime customer value. Those are powerful benefits of developing relationships.

3. Play games.

Fallon and his crew are experts at this, because on late night TV, play is as natural as breathing. After all, what’s funnier than watching puppies predict the Final Four championship or your favorite celebs compete in a lip sync battle? Games have been so successful for Fallon that he even created his own spinoff show.

While it might sound like a stretch, for businesses, generating customer love also requires playing games—the technical term for this is “gamification.” And implementing gamification through web and mobile apps maximizes at least three vital areas of productivity: education, creativity and enthusiasm.

“Engagement can be enhanced by incentivizing real-life behavior, which leads to improved productivity, better customer value and organizational learning,” says Gal Rimon, co-founder and CEO at GamEffective.

To be a lovable company, you have to have a fun side. So what better way to engage customers and employees than with a full arsenal of gamified motivators and calls to action?

4. Stoke social media.

For Fallon, social media means instant connectivity with his audience. And his social media presence is enviable.

Every week, he pumps out a new hashtag and invites the audience to participate in the show by telling their stories. Hashtags like #worstsummerjob and #bestprankever are directly targeted to his audience.

Fallon’s ability to stoke social media has translated, on countless occasions, into onscreen skits, jokes and millions of laughs.

For businesses, the problem is finding the time to manage all your social media outlets. Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn checking, updating, posting and ensuring real-world ROI can be exhausting. So instead of going it alone, consider using automation tools like Buffer for your personal social media and Oktopost for your B2B interactions. Dashboards make it easy to monitor multiple accounts and users.

As Fortune puts it, “Fallon has led late night TV to an unapologetic joy—and his nearly 4 million nightly viewers… and 6.7 million YouTube followers—to an unapologetic joy.”

“My goal,” Fallon says, “is just to make you laugh so that you go to sleep with a smile on your face and live a longer life.”

And shouldn’t that be the whole goal of what we’re all doing? To have fun?

Check out the 5 very best ways to thrill your customers—and keep them coming back. 


Aaron Orendorff is the VP of Marketing at Common Thread Collective, an ecommerce growth agency helping DTC brands scale beyond $2M-$30M. Previously, he served as Editor in Chief of Shopify Plus; his work has appeared on The New York Times, Forbes, Mashable, Business Insider and more. If you’d like to connect with Aaron, reach out via social — he’s a sucker for DMs about content marketing, bunnies, and rejection.

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