A reality TV show called “Geek Love” reminded me of the similarities between dating and marketing. The “geeks” in “Geek Love” are diehard fanatics of comics, video games, and movies (like Star Wars), and they convene every year at the largest pop culture event in New York City, called Comic-Con. They may like different characters, but they all have one thing in common – they are aware of their nerdy-ness and the word “geek” is self-proclaimed.
A hugely popular activity at Comic-Con is speed dating. As people roll into the convention center, a gentleman with a microphone announces the speed dating event and directs people to a room. Surprisingly, there are plenty of women who are fanatical about their comics or video games. The men still out-number them, but there are enough to make speed dating happen. Many of the speed daters have very little experience dating.
The happy ending is that love connections are made…and lots of them! Not bad for a bunch of geeky beginners.
There is a great marketing lesson here for all small business owners: your target market is hanging out where you hang out. Just like these “geeks” haven’t had luck meeting someone in the traditional setting like going to bars, you might not be getting great results from traditional marketing. But when you put yourself in front of a group of people with a common interest, the matches happen far more easily.
Reflecting upon this, there are a few more rules that are common to both marketing and dating. Even if you have been happily married for 25 years, you still need to learn how to “date” in your business.
- You must get out there
- You must commit to being out there consistently – not once in a blue moon
- Be clear about who Prince (or Princess) Charming is (that goes for your ideal client, too)
- Put yourself out there with activities you enjoy, that feel authentic to you. Don’t involve yourself in activities just because you think “hot women” or “hot prospects” will be there.
- Own, accept and value who you are. Go after a mate because you want to share yourself with someone else, not because you want to fill a void.
For business owners, the last one is super important. You must value yourself and your services. And your motivation for wanting clients should come from wanting to share your value with others. More often than not, I see the motivation coming from a wanting to get more clients and having those clients validate your worth. You must first own your own self worth. Success will never come if you don’t.
If you’ve needed some motivation to get your business on a new track, pretend your business is single and has committed to finding a mate this year (although it’s several mates for your business). Go through the rules of dating and apply them to finding new prospects for your business. You might even get “lucky.”
Meredith Hill, ex-President of Hills of Africa Travel, founded the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE) to empower frustrated and struggling travel consultants who weren’t getting the marketing support they needed. As the fastest growing industry organization dedicated to marketing education for travel professionals, GIFTE’s mission is to revolutionize the way travel advisors market and grow their businesses. GIFTE’s products and programs provide all the tools, resources and support travel professionals need to reach a whole new level of success in travel – one that includes making more money while making a difference in the lives of their clients. Learn more at www.travelbusinessu.com, or visit and “like” GIFTE’s Facebook Fan Page atwww.facebook.com/GlobalInstituteforTravelEntrepreneurs.