The Dating Game –
in business and in life!




It’s all about using your network effectively!

If you haven’t read the Purple Cow, you should! It’s a great book and will teach you how to recognize the importance of your marketing strategy.

The author talks about recognizing the difference between Interruption Marketing and Permission Marketing. He uses the analogy of getting married. The message teaches us that it is better to send out multiple individualized messages over time, than a single message, no matter how impressive that single message is.

There are Two Ways To Get Married

The Interruption Marketer buys an extremely expensive suit, new shoes, fashionable accessories. Then, working with the best databases and marketing strategists, selects the demographically ideal singles bar, marches up to the nearest person and proposes marriage. If turned down, the Marketer repeats this process on every person in the bar.

If the Marketer comes up empty-handed after spending the entire evening proposing, it is obvious that the blame should be placed on the suit and the shoes. The tailor is fired. The strategy expert who picked the bar is fired. And the Interruption Marketer tries again at a different singles bar.

If this sounds familiar, it should. It's the way most large marketers look at the world. They hire an agency. They build fancy ads. They "research" the ideal place to run the ads. They interrupt people and hope that one in a hundred will go ahead and buy something. And then, when they fail, they fire their agency!

The other way to get married is a lot more fun, a lot more rational, and a lot more successful. It's called dating.

The Permission Marketer goes on a date. If it goes well, the two of them go on another date, and then another date. Until, after ten or twelve dates, both sides can really communicate with each other about their needs and desires. After twenty dates, they meet each other's families. And finally, after three or four months of dating, the Permission Marketer proposes marriage.

Permission Marketing is just like dating. It turns strangers into friends and friends into lifetime customers. Many of the rules of dating apply, and so do many of the benefits.

And according to the author, finding the right partner, whether it’s for marriage or in business, is all about networking……finding out what you have in common, getting to know each other and if the decision is mutual….getting in bed together to finalize the union.


Every marketer must offer the prospective customer an incentive. In the vernacular of dating, this means you have to offer something that makes it interesting enough to go out on a first date. A first date, after all, represents a big investment in time, money and ego. So there better be reason enough to want to participate.

Without a selfish reason to continue dating, your new potential customer (and your new potential date) will refuse you a second chance. If you don't provide a benefit to the consumer for paying attention, your offer will suffer the same fate as every other ad campaign that's vying for their attention. It will be ignored.

First, the incentive you offer to the customer can range from information, to entertainment, to a sweepstakes, to outright payment for the prospect's attention. But the incentive must be overt, obvious and clearly delivered. This is the most obvious difference between Permission Marketing and Interruption Marketing.

Interruption Marketers spend all of their time interrupting strangers, in an almost pitiful attempt to bolster popularity and capture attention. Permission Marketers spend as little time and money talking to strangers as they can. Instead, they move as quickly as they can to turn strangers into prospects who choose to "opt-in" to a series of get to know you communications.

Second, using the attention offered by the consumer, the marketer offers a curriculum over time, teaching the consumer about the product or service he has to offer. The Permission Marketer knows that the first date is an opportunity to sell the other person on a second date. Every step along the way has to be interesting, useful and relevant. Since the prospect has agreed to pay attention, it's much easier to teach them about your product. Instead of filling each ensuing message with entertainment designed to attract attention, or with sizzle designed to attract the attention of strangers, the Permission Marketer is able to focus on product benefits -- on specific, focused ways this product will help that prospect. Without question, this ability to talk freely over time is the most powerful element of this marketing approach.

The third step involves reinforcing the incentive. Over time, any incentive wears out. Just as your date may tire of even the finest restaurant, the prospective customer may show fatigue with the same repeated incentive. The Permission Marketer must work to reinforce the incentive, to be sure that the attention continues. This is surprisingly easy. Because this is a two-way dialogue, not a narcissistic monologue, the marketer can adjust the incentives being offered and fine tune them for each prospect.

Along with reinforcing the incentive, the fourth step is to increase the level of permission the marketer receives from the potential customer. Now I won't go into detail on what step of the dating process this corresponds to, but in marketing terms, the goal is to motivate the consumer to give more and more permission over time.
• Permission to gather more data about the customer's personal life, or hobbies, or interests.
• Permission to offer a new category of product for the customer's consideration.
• Permission to provide a product sample.

The range of permission you can obtain from a customer is very wide, and limited only by its relevance to the customer.

Over time, the marketer uses the permission he's obtained to change consumer behavior, that is, get them to say, "I do." That's how you turn permission into profits.

After permission is granted, that's how it becomes a truly significant asset for the marketer. Now you can live happily ever after by repeating the aforementioned process while selling your customer more and more products.

In other words, the fifth and final step is to leverage your permission into a profitable situation for both of you. Remember, you have access to the most valuable thing a customer can offer - attention.

If you listen carefully, and act on what you hear, you can keep your network up to date, provide relevant information in a timely manner – and keep your marriage happy. Marriage isn’t the end of the relationship, it’s the beginning of an interactive lifelong dance – matching steps, listening to the music and agreeing to learn new steps when the old ones aren’t working.

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