8 Ways Marketing is Like Dating (and how to be better at both)

by Lindsey Winsemius - Posted 8 years ago

8 Ways Marketing is Like Dating
[Updated 2/01/2017]

Marketing is a lot like dating. You are seeking out someone to form a relationship with, either a customer relationship or a romantic one.

The same difficulties apply: finding the right person, taking the time to nurture a relationship, always looking your best, and always putting them first.

Relationships can be tough. They require effort, time, and money to maintain.

I’m not a love expert, but I can give you some relationship advice.

8 Ways to Build a Strong Marketing Relationship:

1. Don’t talk about yourself.

Ever been on a date when the other person won’t stop talking about themselves? Not only are they talking about themselves, they are bragging. You learn things you don’t even care about in yourself- like what their college GPA was, how fast they ran the 5k last summer, and how much money their last ex made.


If you are bored hearing about a potential romantic’s partner’s achievements, what makes you think potential customers will want to hear constantly about your company? Don’t barrage your customers with constant self-promotional material. “We've just won the obscure award for great companies!” “We just published our 110th Website!” “Our products are superior to X, Y, and Z! Just ask our customers!” 

When you are trying to build a relationship with your customers, be sure to explain how your business is going to benefit them. Why are you the best fit for their needs? Not because you won some awards, but because your product has exactly what they are looking for, and you won’t stop working until they are satisfied with it. Don’t brag about your business; share your achievements but be sure to focus on your customers.

2.  Get to know your customer ‘type’.
Get to know your customer type

Who are your typical customers? What do they look like (mostly male, female, business owners, young adults?). Where do they live? What do they do on the weekend? Learning your business "type" or audience will help to better connect with the right potential customers.

Have you ever gone on a blind date, and the moment you arrive, you realize they are not your type at all? You're forced to sit through a tedious evening and an awkward parting, hoping they don't try to call you again.

You could have saved yourself the time had you learned a little more about the type of person you were meeting.

In the same way, if you sell to businesses in Dallas but your Facebook page 'sponsored likes' are mostly from 13-year-olds in China, you might be doing something wrong. Don’t spend a lot of time and money gaining an audience that doesn't care about your business. Target your audience carefully, or you are wasting time on a relationship that will go nowhere.

3. Poor communication kills relationships.

We've all heard the advice – keep communication open with your partner. Effective communication is the key to a successful relationship.

How can you communicate effectively with your customers?

  • Respond to their concerns on social media, review sites, or on your own blog.
  • Collect customer emails so you can send them special deals and useful information.
  • Listen to customer feedback to improve your product or service.

If your customers feel like you are really hearing them, and care about their opinions, they will keep coming back to your business.

4.  Don’t try and be someone you’re not.

Science says it takes people an average of 3 months to revert to their “natural” tendencies in a relationship. Basically, the honeymoon is over and you get to see the true person.

It is always best just to be yourself in a relationship. The same advice applies to business relationships. By over-promising on a deal or just presenting yourself as larger or grander than you really are, you are setting yourself up for failure. Most likely, the truth will eventually come out and you will lose the trust of your customer. Once it’s gone, trust is very difficult if not impossible to regain. Just ask Brian Williams.

5. Be confident.

On the flip side of over-selling yourself, you don’t want to sell yourself short, either. Trust that you have a great product or service, and it is worth what you are asking your customers to pay for it. Confidence in your business and your product will go a long way in selling it.

Obviously, if you genuinely don’t believe your product is worth the money you are charging, you might want to rethink your prices. But if you know it is a great product, don’t be afraid to get excited about it.

Have you ever watched entrepreneurs on Shark Tank? The one thing they share is passion for their idea. They've made it as far as they have because they believe in themselves and in their product. Confidence is attractive.

6.  Share your story.

Part of building a relationship is sharing who you really are. As a business, sharing your story (causes that matter, how you got started, why you are passionate about your product) can go a long way in winning over customers. Studies show that people are willing to pay more for a product from a company that has ideals similar to their own. They do care about the faces behind the brand. Part of successfully building a brand is communicating what that brand stands for, beyond just a great product.

Tell your story in a creative (not boastful) way, and customers will appreciate your openness.

7. Appearances matter.

Nobody wants to date someone who is only interested in their looks. But we can’t deny that appearances matter, particularly on an initial introduction. Some research suggests that we tend to be attracted to people who look similar to us. Whatever the reason, part of the chemistry that creates a successful relationship is tied to appearances.

In the same way, you need to have branding that appeals to your audience. From your website to product packaging, you are more likely to delight you customers with a beautiful appearance tailored to their tastes. Once you know your customer type, get to know what they like and create your branding accordingly.

Many customers make buying decisions for reasons they can't identify, but they are great at creating a rational explanation after the fact. Keep in mind that first impressions are crucial for making the right impression.

Consider the example below: 

The story of two chickens

From McCombs Today:

Research participants were showed two photos. One was a nice looking, plump chicken. The other was a chicken that looked thin and sickly. Participants were told that the plump chicken was a natural chicken, and the thin chicken was genetically engineered.

Image source

The researchers informed half of the participants that natural chickens were healthy but less tasty, and genetically engineered chickens were tasty, but less healthy. The other half were told the opposite.

Overwhelmingly, both halves of participants preferred the nice plump chicken, but their reasoning was different. The first group claimed it was because they valued health above taste, and the second group said it was because taste was more important.

Neither group seemed to justify their choice based on how they felt about the chicken’s looks. They felt compelled to justify their emotional choices with non-emotional reasons, to the point that the two groups found completely opposite ways to justify the same decision.

Emotions rule in all areas

The scientists replicated the results in other areas as well – in marketing, politics, religion and life in general.

8.  Know when it’s time to let go.

There is a difference between pursuing someone and becoming a stalker. Pursuing someone not interested in you? That is crossing the line, and it tends to make people angry.

Don’t stalk your potential customers. This could be sending unsolicited emails or not unsubscribing them after they've asked to be removed from your mailing list. It could also mean being overly pushy trying to sell your product, either while they are in your store, at trade shows, or other events.

Avoid being bitter about “getting dumped”. Don’t write nasty responses to bad reviews. Be polite to unhappy customers. You might turn the relationship around. At the very least, you will look like the great company you are by having a good attitude.


 I don't know how these tips will help your love life, but hopefully you can use them to build better relationships with your customers.

Have any I missed any crucial relationship tips? Share your thoughts in the comments below!