Relationship Marketing: How To Date Your Customers And Market Happily Ever After

Original post here: by Lena Bjorna

Do you know how to properly use relationship marketing in your business? Or are you guilty of proposing marriage to strangers?

Here’s why an expensive suit and designer shoes will not automatically turn you into a Master Marketer….

How Relationship Marketing Is A Lot Like Dating

Before I get you any more confused, let me explain what this is all about…

I recently read a phenomenal book by Internet marketing pioneer Seth Godin. In the case you’re not familiar with Godin, he’s the founder of ‘Yoyodyne’ (later bought by ‘Yahoo’), the creator of ‘Squidoo’…and the list goes on.

Godin is considered to be one of the brilliant minds of our time, and rightly so in my opinion. He is also someone who understands relationship marketing (as you’ll see in a minute).

So I wanted to share a humorous analogy from this book by Seth Godin because it so perfectly illustrates and supports what I’ve been blogging about in my posts over the past week – namely the dos and don’ts of prospecting.

Even if you’ve heard Godin’s analogy before, read it again and then take a minute to think about it. Think about how this applies to your marketing and which of the two categories you fall into.

The following is from chapter two of “Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends, And Friends Into Customers”, and this particular segment is called, “The Two Ways To Get Married.”

Permission marketing, by the way, is really no different from what we often refer to as attraction marketing, which again could also be called relationship marketing.

The Wrong Way: Proposing Marriage Too Soon

Ready? I’m quoting from the book:

“The Interruption Marketer buys an extremely expensive suit. New shoes. Fashionable accessories. Then, working with the best database and marketing strategists, selects the demographically ideal singles bar.

Walking into the singles bar, the Interruption Marketer marches up to the nearest person and proposes marriage.

If turned down, the Interruption Marketer repeats this process on every person in the bar.

If the Interruption 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. Then, when they fail, they fire their agency.”

The Right Way: Earn The Right To Ask For Their Hand In Marriage

I’m quoting Seth Godin again:

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

A Permission Marketer goes on a date. If it goes well, the two of them go on another date. And then another.

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.

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.”

A couple of pages later, as he goes more into detail on what he calls “the five stages of the dating process”, Godin says (– and, again, I’m quoting):

“The Permission Marketer must work to reinforce the incentive, to be sure that the attention continues.(…) Along with reinforcing the incentive, the fourth step is to increase the level of permission the marketer receives from the potential customer…”

(And here’s the part that really cracked me up:)

“Now I wont 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…”


Relationship Marketing Is About Getting Increasingly More “Permission” Over Time
Some of the “permissions” that a marketer can obtain from his customer are, according to Godin, permission to gather more data about them, permission to offer a new category of products for their consideration, permission to upsell them, and so on and so forth.

The marketer – again, according to Godin – uses the permission he has obtained to get the customer to eventually say, “I do”….turning permission into profits.

There you have it. Good stuff, eh?

So do you know which category you fall into? Are you a Permission Marketer or an Interruption Marketer?

Even if you answered “Permission Marketer”, could it be that you still aren’t using relationship marketing to its fullest extent? Could it be that you’re still “proposing marriage” to soon?

I encourage you to think about ways that you can build a better relationship with your prospects and customers, in particular in these two areas: By more regular communication and by giving more value. Be sure to watch the video at the top of this post for more tips!

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