Where is the love?

In this week’s Thursday Night Insight, Julia Cupman draws the analogy between marketing and Cupid’s bow and arrow…

The TV series The Bachelorette is arguably complete and utter rubbish that is watched avidly by hormonal 16 year old girls and me.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I follow this reality TV show and look forward to it every Monday evening.  To me, the series is enjoyable escapism from the daily grind of complex questionnaire design, heavy-going data crunching and desk research on industrial products.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the TV series, The Bachelorette is all about dating.  The series is based on one woman – the eponymous single – and thirty supposedly eligible men, all of whom are seeking to impress the Bachelorette, to fall in love with her and to ultimately marry her.  The challenge is to keep in the competition as every week at least one man is “dumped”, i.e. voted off the show by the very Bachelorette herself.

The Bachelorette is clearly a damsel in distress who is so desperate to settle down that she retorts to this rather pathetic TV series as a last resort.   The series producers have gone to every length to ensure that a wide demographic spread of male hunks of anatomy is represented, from blonde-haired Baywatch surfer types to brown-haired Mel Gibson look-alikes, from goody two-shoes to bad boys, from young sweethearts to mature softies.  What’s more, there’s a good mix of professions in there too including an Olympic cyclist, a break dance instructor, a pizza entrepreneur, an oil and gas consultant and a wine maker.

So ladies – do any sound appealing yet?  Probably not as this is not enough information to make one of the most important decisions of your life.  Marrying a man is almost synonymous with buying a house.  It is a huge investment to make as the life of singlehood is sacrificed for a life of sharing virtually everything – belongings, experiences, emotions etc.  And the reason I think this TV series is so ridiculous is because this very investment is made through a contrived process and in a very false setting.

You’re probably wondering where this is all going and how I see a link with marketing.  Having watched this drivel, it occurred to me that every one of us subconsciously goes through a marketing exercise in relationship building.  The TV series shows, admittedly in an over-the-top fashion, how by process of elimination, the Bachelorette makes her selection around the 4 Ps:

  1. whether the product (in this case, the man) meets her needs;
  2. whether the product is in the right place (an Alaskan may be a turn-off to this Canadian Bachelorette who is used to the buzzing city of Vancouver);
  3. whether the promotion resonates (e.g. if the product is attracting interest through effective communications);
  4. and for all of this, whether the price is right (in the case of the Bachelorette, what she needs to give in order to get what she wants).

Successful marketing is like true love.  Like true love, marketing has to be requited in that a company has to make its products engaging for its users to become engaged.  The recent recessionary storm with decreased expenditure on marketing has taken the spark out of so many business relationships, leaving many fickle buyers who are no longer loyal to the products they used to love.

Companies whose prospects are yet to be found or whose customers are no longer loyal should boost their marketing testosterone to establish or reignite the chemistry between their products and users.  So much in life is about creating and maintaining successful relationships.  Marketers need to ensure that their offering has that wow factor in order to strike while the iron is hot!

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