Chloe looked like the perfect match. Mid-30s, curvy, almond-eyed, fit (good shoulders), her ideal job a combination of circus performer and archaeologist. A writer, she wanted a man “who could make her laugh, slow dance, and read her between the lines." Marshall shifted his laptop. Was it too good to be true? He'd been disappointed in the past. Why was the photo so closely cropped? The last woman he'd met online had been using her younger, obviously adopted, sister's photo. ... And then there was the Wiccan. He’d ended up spending more time getting advice from his friend Ted than talking with his new date.This is the fourth in a series of posts for product managers seeking relationships. They start here.
Marketing is seduction.
We all know someone who brought a promising new relationship into their life, only to spend more time talking to telephone support people than enjoying the benefits. Perhaps you were the one they called. It's a painful experience. Disappointment is so much worse when you are already in love; so most prospective partners hold back at first. People want to think things over before making a commitment.
It's common today for people to research online, so it's important your proposition is able to stand up to scrutiny. Common factors influencing belief in your proposition include: family, connections, word-of-mouth, and dates.
familyPeople often look to brand or family as a mark of quality. The DNA of a proposition gives a generally reliable indication of quality, reliability, lifespan, and graceful aging. Family is also related to connectedness. It helps to be a Kennedy.
connectionsThose from less prestigious families may be consoled to know that many of the advantages of brand can still be gained through connections. Connectedness is within reach of all hopeful partners-to-be, and can be obtained by joining a connectivity platform. These come in many forms, including dating sites, social networks, organized religions, and product ecosystems. Whatever the form, connectivity platforms make hooking up easier.
Some connectivity platforms are easier to join than others. Judaism, for example, is difficult, requiring several years and much study to join. In contrast, joining the American National Rifle Association (NRA), is a straightforward matter of a few forms and a small fee, easily done on-line. For prospective partners, your participation in a connectivity platform is a mark of your underlying character.
Some connectivity platforms are more open than others. Closed platforms provide a more consistent experience, taking away basic, day-to-day concerns, allowing you to enjoy higher-level value. For example, The Church of Bible Understanding, asks members to break off communication with their families and external friends, in order to achieve peace. Similarly, Apple restricts your ability to connect with products belonging to the Android ecosystem. Think carefully before choosing to join a closed platform. The tradeoff for easier hook-up is often a smaller pool of prospective partners, and some loss of autonomy.
Many people find they covet services unavailable within their home ecosystem; and many enterprising business people make their livings helping people "hook up on the side," despite the fact that doing so often violates ecosystem agreements.
word-of-mouthThe recommendation of someone you trust can convince a prospective customer to take the next step. For example, a blind date arranged by a friend can ignite a relationship that would otherwise not have started. A good reader review on Amazon can lead you to read a book you would otherwise not have opened.
The stamp of approval from a recognized authority can also close the deal. Just as many people will only buy toothpaste certified by a professional dental organization, many prefer books that have won a literary prize. An endorsement by Oprah can turn a book into a bestseller. Many will only enter a serious relationship after their mother approves the prospective partner.
It's good if you can get on TV. Appearing in any public media stands as social endorsement in the eyes of prospective partners.
datingTry-before-you-buy is a traditional part of the partner on-boarding process – a time-proven way to build belief. It's an opportunity for prospective customers to take you home and see how you work. Try-before-you-buy lets your partners get familiar with what you have to offer, in a variety of situations, at their own pace.
Don't be dreamy-eyed. Unscrupulous customers may take advantage of your generosity without limit, with no intention of actual engagement. Set clear limits regarding what's on offer and for how long. Successful relationships are two-way streets. At the first sign that a customer isn't serious about moving into an engaged relationship, fire them. They're wasting your time.
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