Dating Advice for Marketers

Try this the next time you’re hankering for a healthy dose of humility.

Walk into a bar and say to the first person you find attractive “Hey, you want to start a family?” I’m guessing your chances of getting a “yes” are about the same as winning the $500 million Power Ball drawing.

Yet, marketers do the equivalent every day, and I saw it again yesterday.

I clicked on a banner ad from a company that was unfamiliar, but the clever ad copy made me curious. The landing page was a 15-field form with no copy explaining:

  • what the company does
  • why I should share a ton of personal information
  • what I might get in return if I did

Given all that, I’m guessing this marketer will conclude that display advertising doesn’t work and that their investment was wasted. Only the second conclusion would be correct, due to poor execution of the campaign and unrealistic expectations.

There are a couple of takeaways here:

  • Even in the metrics-crazy, ROI-driven world, successful marketers still need to invest in introducing themselves. That means measures other than acquiring leads/customers matter. Site visits, social engagement and newsletter subscriptions signal that you’ve provided something valuable to your visitors and they may want to know more.
  • Customers rely heavily on web sites before contacting sales. Your chances of moving them from prospect to customer diminish dramatically if you botch the introduction by asking for information before visitors are prepared to give it. Relationships aren’t built in one interaction.

Bottom line: “Dating” is a required a step in successful marketing, just as it is in finding your soul mate. It’s time consuming, frequently causes anxiety and doesn’t always end in a consummated deal. But it’s how things work, and there are rarely opportunities to skip steps.

About Chris Elwell: Chris is a founding partner and president of Third Door Media, the publisher of Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. TDM accelerates customer acquisition for its clients by providing trusted content and targeted marketing programs that deliver qualified prospects. You can reach Chris at chris[at]

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