Marketing is Like Dating – The Meet-Cute
Part 1: The Meet-Cute
by Carl Hadden and Shaunda Wickham | February 4, 2020
Dating has changed a lot over the years, particularly in the way people meet. Whether you see the introduction of dating sites and apps as a positive or a negative, they have played a big role in the evolution of meet-cutes.
The “Marketing Mix,” sometimes referred to as the “7 Ps of Marketing,” has many similarities to how people meet potential mates. In particular, how we market ourselves on various dating sites. This mix is an important tool to use when developing your marketing plan. Like modern dating, technology has played an important role in the evolution of marketing, but the marketing fundamentals are consistent.
Here are three of the seven Marketing Mix elements that can be compared to common dating meet-cute scenarios.
Technology is currently playing a huge role in promoting companies. From Google searches and online reviews to prominent social media presences, it is imperative that you use this technological boom to promote your business. Of course, older promotional techniques, such as coupons and deals, can still work to get your business out there and reward customer loyalty. Many times, using promotions result in a spike in sales, but when you run these types of promotions, it is important to set an expiration date. Before running these promotions, you must develop a plan for what to do with the customer if they respond to the promotion.
First Date Scenario: This element can be compared to how you establish your availability to date. Sure, there are always the tried and true ways of meeting someone new, such as through a friend, at church, or at a bar, but it is becoming more common for people to use dating sites and apps. If you take the technological route, you want to put the best of you out there. You choose the appropriate dating site or app that will attract your preferred partner. Once you choose the site, you build an enticing profile promoting your availability in hopes of attracting the right mate. To avoid unwanted drama, it is highly recommended that your dating profile ‘expires’ when you enter into a relationship.
Why would someone choose your product over the competition? What makes your product special? Emphasize product strengths that are in demand. Your market research should indicate which attributes (such as quality, value, and convenience) to showcase. Focus on benefits instead of product features. What problem does your product solve?
First Date Scenario: When dating, you are the product. What attributes do you have that are in demand? Sense of humor, good job, pretty face, insane dance moves, high credit score? You want to showcase these attributes (competitive advantages) on your first date.
Innovative packaging can stimulate additional interest, and in some cases, it can rejuvenate the life cycle of your product. Take laundry soap for example. We used to buy big heavy boxes of powdered laundry soap. Then the industry began selling liquid laundry soap in large heavy jugs. Then they launched ‘Ultra Strength’ concentrated liquid in smaller bottles. Now laundry soap comes in a ‘pod’ that you simply drop into the machine with no measuring and no fuss. How can you creatively package your product to add value to the user?
First Date Scenario: Packaging is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to a first date. How can your ‘packaging’ accentuate your features? Packaging can also negatively impact your product so choose your packaging wisely. Keep your date location and activities in mind when you choose your packaging. You don’t want to wear jeans to a fancy restaurant or wear a suit/cocktail dress to the bowling alley. When in doubt, convene a focus group of family and friends to determine which packaging is right for you.
Similar to the dating world, in which no person is the same, in the business world, no company is the same and neither is the marketing plan. These elements are the first steps in building your marketing plan. It is important to remember that just as people’s needs grow, so do the company’s marketing needs.
In the next installment of this series, you will discover how the remaining elements compare to a first date.
Associate Director, Florida SBDC at USF, Polk County
Specialty: Market Research, Business Planning, Financial Analysis, Student Teams
Carl Hadden is an Associate Director with the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida. Hadden leads a team of 12 business consultants who serve the 10-county Tampa Bay region. He is also a marketing specialist with experience in workforce development, sales, insurance, entrepreneurship and training. As general manager for a wireless phone retailer, Hadden directed the marketing, co-op advertising, purchasing, vendor relations, and human resources. He assisted in implementing a point of sales system for the wireless retailer to automate processes and minimize loss prevention. As a workforce professional, Hadden assisted McGee Auto Service & Tires to secure a partnership with the Polk County School District, which would allow mechanics to get additional training and resources to become ASE certified. He graduated from Leadership Lake Wales Class 13 in 2009. Hadden has an associate’s degree in business administration from Polk State College and a bachelor’s in marketing management from Webber International University. He is also a Certified Marketing Executive, TTI DISC Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst, TTI DISC Certified Professional Driving Forces Analyst, and a Certified LivePlan Expert Adviser.