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What Wordle can Teach Us About Marketing (yeah yeah, but just trust us on this)

What Wordle can Teach Us About Marketing (yeah yeah, but just trust us on this)

Wordle, the wildly popular online word game, isn’t actually a marketing success story. But hear us out, because some of the reasons it has become a viral star apply to creating successful marketing campaigns. 

Let’s break it down in six sections or less.

Create for a Specific Audience

Wordle was originally created by Josh Wardle for his word puzzle-loving partner, Palak Shah, as a way for the couple to pass the time during the pandemic. It was literally created for an audience of one. 

When it comes to your marketing, take a cue from Wordle and don’t worry so much if everyone will like it. Trying to appeal to everyone is what leads to watered-down creative and middle-of-the-road messaging that nobody actually remembers, let alone acts on. 

Creating content, ads, messages, or any marketing pieces that are made for your ideal audience will mean more to them, help your brand stand out, and be more memorable than messages that could appeal to anyone. Does this run the risk of some people out there not liking it or not getting it? Sure. But it’s ok! Either they’ll come around or they were never going to be your customers anyway. In the meantime, you and all the people who feel like your brand was talking just to them are busy having fun building a long-term client relationship.

Keep Things Simple

If you’ve played Wordle you know it has a very simple premise: guess a five-letter word in six tries or less. You also know that the game being simple doesn’t make it basic, boring, or easy. And, that doesn’t even take into account all the different strategies people use to try to win in as few guesses as possible. 

The lesson for marketers is messages and ads that are quickly understood will be embraced a lot more than complex, convoluted ones. Like the game, simple messaging doesn’t mean it’s not clever, layered, or creative. It just means it makes the most sense to the most possible people in your audience. 

Build Anticipation

There’s only one Wordle game every day. If you miss your chance to play, that’s just how it goes. And, once you complete the day’s challenge, there’s no official archive to go back through and play. Creating scarcity or exclusivity, of course, just makes people want in on it even more. 

The takeaway for marketers here is pretty clear — creating an exclusive experience like a members’ only pop-up sale or swag that is only given out under certain circumstances — creates demand. But that’s not the only lesson.

Limiting the game to one play per day has also helped build an organic Wordle culture. Have you seen anyone on your social feeds give away the day’s word or give too much of a hint? If so, how was that received? Not well, right? (Twitter even banned a bot that was posting Wordle spoilers. Who says the social contract is dead!) 

This camaraderie and mutual understanding among players makes playing a simple word game feel like being a part of a unique community, with its own rules, quirks, and shared experiences. 

Now, imagine if people felt that way about your brand.


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Rebecca Rick

Rebecca Rick

Senior Content Strategist / Copywriter

Creative. Strategic. Crategic? (We'll workshop it.) Rebecca's part of our award-winning marketing & strategy team where she turns ideas into words and words into content.

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