Nine Reasons Why Marketing is Similar to Dating

1) Marketing is about seducing customers into buying something and making them loyal, forever and ever.

Well, that’s an easy one.

2) It costs 5-10 more to get new customers than to retain old ones.

Dating is no exception. The minimum date fare is a coffee or a drink, and often a steak dinner, with drinks. And appetizers. And dessert. Many go out on dates at least once a week, turning into months and even years. Tradition dictates that the man pays. In return he often doesn’t even get a “thank you,” not to mention anything more tangible.

But the ladies incur indirect costs, too: makeup, hair, clothes, waxing, facials, allegedly mood boosting  yoga, self-help books, staring at rocks in the middle of the desert. The costs compound to way more than a beer. All just to show up looking sexy yet mother-approved (wife in the kitchen, slut in the bedroom sort of thing), interested yet not desperate, adorably quirky yet not psycho.

Trolling for new customers is expensive for everyone involved. Commitment is cheaper.

From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

3) Some won’t commit.

You know the type. These guys and gals like to keep their options open. Marketing books identify the Playboy, a subcategory of Generation X: “a predominantly white, male group accounting for almost 19 percent of the Gen X cohort. Playboys adhere to a ‘pleasure before duty’ lifestyle and are self-absorbed, fun loving and impulsive,” writes Terence A. Shimp in his Advertising, Promotion and other Aspects of Integrated Marketing Communications.

We call the type Peter Pan, a man who doesn’t want to grow up, as described in an online dating blog, “Are You Dating a ‘Peter Pan’?”

4) Two brands can’t occupy the same product category and win.

That’s just physics. One will eventually pin the other one down. According to Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout, “When two brands are close, one or the other is likely to get the upper hand and then dominate the market for years to come.”

With a few exceptions, there can only be one spouse at one time. One romantic love at a time. Even past loves lose their bitter-sweet residue once a new one marches in.

Uploaded to Flickr by jasohill

5) The key rule of marketing is to segment your audience and focus on a niche group.

Targeting is the only way to cut through the clutter in our overcommunicated, confused society with lots of options. You can’t be loved by everyone (I know, I know, it’s not fair). Similarly, modern online dating allows people to zero in on a specific niche that appeals to their religion, lifestyle, fetish or weirdness.

6) Customers go through an awareness process.

We start from knowing zilch about a brand (person), then move to awareness, interest, consideration, trial, retrial, and loyalty. Some stray in the process, especially if another brand (person) is better-looking, can do more for you, or is plain cheap. When it comes to love, many cultures and religions frown upon trial and retrial prior to “loyalty.” Fortunately, our society encourages it.

From Strother Communications Group

7) We like a good visual.

Packages must look appealing on the shelf; websites and blogs have more stickiness if they feature rich imagery and video. We are visual creatures. “Intense and prominent cues (those that are louder, more colorful, bigger, brighter, etc.) increase the probability of attracting attention,” Terence A. Shimp writes in his Advertising, Promotion and Other Aspects of Integrated Marketing Communications. In online dating, pictures matter more than one’s love of animals, time spent in the Peace Corps, or triathlon training in a profile description. even did a study of what picture types work and what’s better left for your mom.


8 ) RFM. It’s the magic code for retailers to keep tab on you.

R stands for how recently it (the purchase) happened. F is how frequently they come around to do it (the purchase) again. And M is for how much money they spend. Would you date a person with a low RFM score? He don’t call. He don’t write. He don’t pay. She only texts at 2 a.m. on some Saturdays. A keeper? Not so much, this one.

Cartoon by Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

9)  Position yourself right.

No matter how great your product is, if you don’t present it in a way that speaks to consumers and piques their interest, it stands no chance, according to the marketing classic Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

You may be unbearably pretty/handsome; all conversations and even the game on TV cease once you enter a bar, but the sales pitch could end on the first drink if bad attitude and poorly chosen words creep in. The Huffington Post featured a pretty scathing piece about this, titled “Why You’re Not Married” for the ladies, although I’m sure there are plenty of similar ones for the gentlemen.

Comic by Natalie Dee

Got other parallels between marketing and love? Share yours!

4 thoughts on “Nine Reasons Why Marketing is Similar to Dating

  1. Jack.Han says:

    Like looking desperate, over-saturating the market is a sure way to blow yourself out of the water. One Krispy Kreme on every street corner = showing up with flowers at all hours of the day…not pretty

    • Jack – that’s an excellent point. Oversaturating the market and being too available may come across as desperate and, well, a little cheap. Although I do enjoy a Krispy Kreme glazed donut more often than I’d like to admit!

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