The dating world is a scary and complicated place, full of poorly written online profiles, ghosting after an awkward first date and friends kindly dropping off copies of “He’s Just Not That Into You.”
In an effort to find love, some singles even try the speed dating route, because hey, at least if it’s going to be a bad date, it’ll only last three minutes, right? And when you think about it long enough, you realize marketing is a lot like speed dating. Scared yet?
Consumers are busy, and their attention spans are shrinking. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, the average attention span in the US in 2015 was 8.25 seconds. Suddenly that three-minute speed-dating date seems like a lifetime to make a connection with a customer.
But never fear, while I’ve never braved the wilds of speed dating, I have seen it represented rather comically in film and television. And it’s not too much of a stretch to connect what works well in speed dating with what works well in marketing.
1. Don’t “fake it ’til you make it.” People can sniff out a fake in an instant. So, just as it’s wise to not tell a potential date you’re a doctor with three sports cars — when in reality you’re a cubicle drone with a beat up `94 Nissan Sentra — don’t tell a prospective customer your brand is something it really isn’t, just because you think it sounds cool.
Remember what Ron Johnson did to JCPenney? He thought applying Apple-esque store-styling and dumping customers’ beloved discounts was the way to bring the retailer into the future. To make it cool. Unfortunately it was all offbrand.
I couldn’t say it better than this quote from Forbes:
Boutiques/streets, wi-fi, juice bars with smoothies and coffee; no long-term customer of JCP cares about all that crap. JCP got away from what it did best.
2. Confidence is attractive. Just like in romance, no consumer wants a product or service that’s marketed meekly. There’s a reason the Old Spice Man campaign was both a viral success — garnering almost 105 million views on YouTube and a 300 percent increase of traffic to oldspice.com (opens as a PDF) — as well as a sale success.
Old Spice, a Proctor + Gamble company, targeted both men and women with the campaign. For women, it offered the fantasy of a gorgeous man, and the possibility of their current beaus smelling as good as him; and for men, it offered the opportunity to become the Old Spice Man. P&G took a legacy product, infused it with confidence and sex appeal, and made it relevant to a younger generation.
But your marketing message doesn’t have to be as sexy as the Old Spice Man to be confident. Don’t believe me? Check out this Hubspot post that details five brilliant marketing campaigns for boring products.