Mobile, Youtility

The 6-Step Path to Creating Inherently Useful Marketing

Inspired by YoutilityYoutility is marketing so useful, people would pay for it (if you asked them). It’s marketing customers actually want, instead of marketing that companies think they need.

I first started thinking about Youtility in 2009, when I heard a speech by Robert Stephens, the founder of GeekSquad. Since then, companies of all sizes and shapes and descriptions are embracing Youtility as the way to break through in today’s hyper-competitive environment where every cute puppy video and new meme jostles for attention with company messages.

Youtility Can Be Offline Too

One of the new trends in Youtility (so new that almost none of these examples are in my book) is taking the principle offline, bridging the gap between the physical and the virtual in incredibly useful ways.

Nilla Wafers

  • Nabisco’s Nilla Wafers cookies recently launched new packaging that directs consumer to their Pinterest page for “tasty summer recipes” such as “easy southern banana pudding” and more.
  • The Hike House, an outdoors adventure company in Sedona, Arizona has a new Trail Finder, an interactive kiosk that helps would-be hikers find the perfect trail (among more than 100 in the area) for their skill level, scenery preferences, and time allotment.
  • Also in the outdoors category, Columbia Sportswear, a Portland, Oregon–based manufacturer and retailer of outdoor wear and gear, has a fantastic Youtility of their own. Their free mobile app called “What Knot to Do in the Greater Outdoors” provides detailed instructions for how to tie dozens of knots, including which to use in what situation. This is a particularly interesting example of online/offline Youtility because Columbia doesn’t sell rope; they are not in the knots business, per se. Instead, they are giving away useful information and resources so that they can market sideways – getting involved in the lives of their customers in ways that transcend the transactional.


So, how do you go about creating marketing people actually crave? My friends at Hubspot put together this handy infographic to help you. Enjoy!

Infographic: Create Your Own Inherently Useful Marketing


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  1. says

    Love the book and post, Jay. The framework is what businesses have needed for a while now. : )

    Also — cool Pin infographic app. First time I’ve seen gated content for pinning. Will be interesting to see what it does on referrals. Available to use from Hubspot?

  2. JimYoungPRBrigade says

    Jay, good call on the
    listening part. In my book, social listening is absolutely key in creating useful content –
    otherwise you’re just spitting out content that very few people will care
    about. That part tends to get overlooked.

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