Saturday, September 30, 2006

Marketing lessons learned from the dating world

I have this theory that marketing and dating are the exact same thing.

(I posted a podcast about this a while back.)

Now, as a single guy (by which I mean, "not married") I've been on my share of dates.

And as a marketing guy, I've seen my share of unique ways to spread the word about ideas, products and websites.

Not it's time to merge the two and see what's been learned:

1) I was once introduced to a girl named Karen by a mutual friend. She and I clicked right away. We discussed sushi. She said she "always wanted to try it." I made a mental note. The following week I found out where she worked and stopped by her office with a little card, the front of which which had a picture of a box of California Rolls. On the inside I simply wrote, "Sushi?" and left my businsss card. I handed it to the receptionist. By the time I returned home, there was an email from Karen. She was ecstatic. We went out the next night, then dated for a few months.

LESSON LEARNED: unexpected + unique = unforgettable.

2) I'm big on gifts. Nothing fancy, just something cute to start the first date off on the right foot. More importantly, something unique. Not flowers, candy or a mixed tape. Something memorable. Now, I'd been talking to this particular girl for a few weeks. I knew that she loved (more than anything in the world) her soaps. One Life to Live, Days of Our Lives, all that stuff. So, I stopped by Walgreens to pick her up a copy of Soap Digest. I wrapped it up and had it waiting on the seat of my car when she stepped in. She almost cried when she opened it and told everyone she knew about it.

LESSON LEARNED: listen to and remember your target market's needs, then give them what they want. WOW them on the first try, and they'll tell everyone.

3) I'll never forget my first night in Portland. I'd just moved in, didn't know a soul, and wanted to meet people ASAP. My neighbor and I went to a local Karaoke Bar. We noticed a table of cute girls in the front. He said he didn't feel like talking to them. I said I would do it. So, when one of the girls from the table went up to the bar, I approached her and asked what her friend's name was sitting next to her. "Tammy, her name is Tammy. Are you going to sing to her?" she asked. "You're damn right." I put in a request for "My Girl," and ended up serenading Tammy in front of the entire bar. I was down on one knee, substituting "Tammy" for "My Girl," in the chorus. By the end of the night, I'd made friends with the whole table. Now, I didn't actually end up dating any of them, but we're still friends to this day!

LESSON LEARNED: ballsy wins the day.

4) Dating customers probably isn't a good idea. But when this sassy redhead came into my store to buy a couch, I had to at least try. So, when I packed her order for delivery, I "accidentally" forget to include her pillow. Two days later she called the store not upset, but in this sort of playful, flirtatious, "I'm pretending to be mad, so what are you going to do about it?" way. I explained to Amber that I'd overnight her pillow right away. Attached to the pillow was a note from me that said, "I'm really sorry about the mess up. I'd be happy to make it up to you by taking you out to dinner." We got together the next week and had a blast. Of course, this would have worked out a lot better if she wasn't dating a player for the LA Kings. Woops.

LESSON LEARNED: recoveries from a messed up sale often come out better than your original plan.

5) After a long night of striking out with every girl we approached, my friend Aaron decided to call it quits. "No, we're not giving up. Come on, let's try something else," I said. We went onto the floor all by ourselves and started dancing like complete idiots who didn't have a care in the world. (And at this point, we really didn't.) Before we knew it, girls were actually coming up to US and saying hello. A few hours later we ended up at a 24 hour diner on an impromtu double date. One of the girls is still a good friend of mine today!

LESSONS LEARNED: don't sell, enable people to buy; don't market, position yourself

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What marketing lessons have you learned from dating?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
Author/Speaker/That Guy with the Nametag
www.hellomynameisscott.com

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