Dating Online: A Hidden Education in Marketing
If you’re seeking to start or advance your career in marketing, the right education is important. Online business administration, business management, or marketing degree programs may be the perfect match if you’re also balancing work and family commitments. But online dating sites and apps offer some surprising marketing lessons as well. Not surprisingly, what succeeds—or doesn’t—in digital matchmaking is often similar to best practices in marketing.
Engage with prospects.
When it comes to online dating, you can’t just upload a profile photo, list a few hobbies, and expect your ideal mate to appear. You have to engage—and the same is true for a great marketing campaign. Gone are the days of passive marketing where you publish a magazine ad or put up a billboard and wait for customers to come to you. From social media community management to fully integrated multichannel campaigns, effective marketing creates a conversation.
Remember your audience.
Because so much of today’s marketing is technology-driven, it can be easy to forget that you’re trying to connect with an actual person. Just as generic one-line messages don’t yield the best results from potential suitors, your marketing should reflect something that resonates personally with your audience. You also wouldn’t keep contacting someone after he or she didn’t show interest—and if you did, you’d risk a negative response, which in marketing can be worse than no response at all. Remember: You’re human with personal preferences. And so are the people you’re trying to reach.
Different prospects require different channels.
A single online dating platform doesn’t work for everyone, and even within various sites, people communicate with each other differently. Some people may prefer instant messaging and then texting potential dates. Others may prefer a combination of longer e-mails and phone calls as they get to know one another. Apply this principle to your marketing efforts. Learn about your target audience. Once you figure out what types of messaging particular prospects want to receive, determine the most effective way to communicate with them.
Don’t push too much.
There are plenty of jokes about annoying pickup artists who won’t take “no” for an answer, and for good reason: Being pushy doesn’t work. As in dating, most people don’t like when marketers are overly aggressive. Messaging too much too soon, or the wrong thing too soon, can lead to disengagement, annoyance, or worse, resentment—none of which are good when it comes to marketing or dating.
Establish your values.
Whether you’re dating or marketing, the way you communicate with others—as well as what you communicate—reflects your values. If you’re searching for a lifelong mate, a risqué profile photo may send the wrong message. Likewise, you wouldn’t exclusively list athletic interests if your true passion is music or art. As a marketer, it’s your job to ensure that every aspect of your communications, from image selection and visual design to taglines and mission statements, represents your brand effectively in order to attract the target audience.
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