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Winning a customer is like playing The Dating Game

Remember The Dating Game?


It ran from 1965 – 1999 in the USA and is widely regarded as one of the precursors to the “reality TV” boom of the late 1990s that continues to this very day.

The Dating Game’s premise: 3 bachelors or bachelorettes vying for a date with an attractive contestant.

Sounds a lot like competing with other brands for the affections of a new customer, does it not?

We thought so too.

Whether you’re wooing new customers or on the hunt for a new love, winning people over involves an uncomplicated approach, and understanding what’s appropriate for each stage of the relationship-building process is key.

1) First encounter:

Ah, the titillating first encounter… You don’t know each other at all, and your sumay not have shown much interest in your brand… yet. At this stage it’s all about getting to know each other. You want to see if they are good fit for you, and you for them. Push too hard, and you might scare them off. You should be talking to such suspects as if they don’t know much about you, because they don’t. Showing lots of personality and knowledge is key. “Pick-up artists” call this technique “peacocking”.

“Marketing is a contest for people’s attention” – Seth Godin


2) Dating:

What a minefield! You have a little more information about your prospect, and you like what you see.  Your prospect has begun to show active interest in your brand, but is still hesitant. They are the engaged segment in your database – they answer your calls, and they let you take them out for drinks, but they aren’t ready to commit to a purchase yet. It’s time to get a little more personal in your approach, dig deeper into exactly what makes them tick, and hopefully deliver just the right message at the right time.

“Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make, it is the art of creating genuine customer value” – Philip Kotler


3) The commitment stage:

Success! Your prospect has made a purchase. They know who you are, and they’ve bought into your brand. Now the brand-consumer relationship reaches a more intimate level. But your job isn’t finished.  Now that you’ve moved onto the next stage, it’s time to treat your new customer as if they are the most special person in the world. Offer up some freebies, great deals and exclusive offers. You need to make sure you hold their interest. There are a lot of other brands out there who would love to sabotage what you’ve built, and developing loyalty is key.

“The average business loses 50% of its customers every five years with two-thirds of them citing inadequate customer care as their primary reason for leaving.” – Harvard Business Review


4) The breakup:

Oh, the agony! For some horrible reason, things have fallen apart. Hey, these things happen! Sadly, all you are left with now is an ex-customer. But all is not lost. Clearly, they liked something about you and your brand. Talk to them. Win them back. You know their details. You know what they like. Maybe it’s time to give it another shot? Going back to the “dating” stage with a solid win- back strategy in place could save the day and give you the chance to rekindle that old marketing flame.





Winning new hearts is what dating (and marketing) is all about.

Using a tailored approach in your marketing strategy is the surest way to win The Dating Game and build quality brand-customer relationships. Segmenting your audience to deliver relevant, personalized content can help, but always keep in mind that in marketing, as in dating, trying too hard – over segmenting your audience/extreme personalization – comes off as desperate and creepy, and will ultimately scare off the very people you were hoping to impress.

Keep it simple, be yourself, and don’t overdo it. A great brand with a solid marketing strategy, a consistent voice, and something to offer (value) is the real catch. Deliver these simple things through better marketing language, and the new customers you seek will soon realise that you were what they were looking for all along.


First Encounter
  • Implement segmenting/personalization
  • Offer value
  • Again, don’t push too hard
Commitment Stage
  • Show appreciation
  • Make your new customer feel special
  • Offer even more value
  • Find ways to keep them engaged
  • Be fun!

  • Try to identify the problem
  • Utilise the knowledge you’ve gained during the course of the relationship to rectify the problem
  • Make coming back worthwhile (offer value)


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