How I Met Your Customer

Market like a Pro

Barney was not getting lucky. He had mastered the principles of The Game, targeting high volumes of prospective partners with carefully crafted campaigns, across multiple venues, including dating sites and "pop-ups" in popular local drinking establishments. The approach yielded a low yet consistent percentage of partners, but with more than enough conversions to keep him at it full time. In fact, he was performing at slightly above capacity – but quality was beginning to suffer. Despite his success, he was unsatisfied. Barney felt he deserved more.
This is the first in a series of posts for product managers seeking relationships.

An engineer friend was interested in music. He studied waveforms, frequencies, harmonics and notation. Sorry to say, his music sucked. Because Music is not analytical, it is about human emotion. Marketeers make the same mistake when they get lost in Search Engine Optimization, big data, segmentation, and analytics. Why? Because, like Music, Marketing is about emotions. More specifically, Marketing is about human relationships.

What's the best way to establish a lasting relationship? Look at how people are hooking up around you. The cultural practices surrounding courtship and marriage have evolved over generations. They contain the accumulated wisdom of the ages on how to build long-lasting, rewarding human relationships. This series of posts will look at marketing through the lens of a modern marketeer seeking to hook up.

Consider human relationships as partnerships. Lasting partnerships are built on a mutual and sustainable exchange of value. In life partnerships such as marriage, the currency of exchange includes empathy, understanding, comfort, social status, money, physical comfort. In Business, your customer is your partner, and the currency of exchange is the same, only with more emphasis on money.

Propositional Logic

Marketing is about selling yourself.
Relationships can be understood in terms of the 4P’s: People Propositioning Prospective Partners. The concept of proposition is central to this formulation, and the least familiar to most marketeers. Consider what proposition means at the various stages of a relationship:

1. Attraction

In the very early stages of a relationship, even before that first twinkle in the eye, proposition equals attraction. Your chances of any relationship depend on your being noticed, which depends on your attractiveness. more here.

2. Promise

Once you have caught the eye of your potential customer, your proposition amounts to the promise of benefits to come. more here.

3. Belief

To tempt your customer, your proposition must hold up to scrutiny – it must be believable. To get to the next stage, you must convince your prospective customer of your authentic good faith and ability to deliver. more here.

4. Performance

When your prospective customer decides to go with you, your proposition becomes a matter of performance. Simply delivering what you promised is not enough. If you want to see your customer again, you must also surprise and delight. more here.

5. Fulfillment

If all goes well, you and your partner will progress to the final, enduring, phase of your relationship: ongoing fulfillment. more here.

Future posts will examine in explicit detail what happens when love and commerce intertwine.

next post: turnover and churn

Thanks for reading! Please share this post.
Comments invited.

If your interests extend to theory and philosophy, please check out my other blog.


  1. The Music analogy in first paragraph - Very well said :)

    1. Thanks Sajid. You can expect analogies to become progressively more inappropriate in following posts. ;)


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