Online Dating and Marketing
In late 2013, I began my journey on the complex rollercoaster known as online dating. 😱I was a little ahead of Tinder, so I began my quest on the well-known dating site, Match.com.
For the next three years, I would go on some of the best and many of the worst dates imaginable. I pretty quickly got over paying for Match, so I moved on to free sites and apps like OkCupid, Hinge, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel and of course Tinder. I even went to some Meetup events in hopes of finding someone more casually.
Not going to lie. It was exhausting. My hopes were constantly sent soaring as I prepared to a meet a guy with whom I'd been having amazing text conversations with, only to fall completely flat and disappointed when I met them to find out they were married. Or worse, a narcissistic jerk on a quest of revenge against all women. (Yes, that happened more than once.)
Even with some of the craziest dating experiences imaginable, I did not give up. (Although, I did take a few sabbaticals.) Overall, I knew that I wanted to be in a long-term relationship with a special someone. To find this, I had to stay patient, persistent and open.
In comparison, I recently transferred out of working inside a corporate marketing department to start my own marketing and PR consultancy. As I met with clients and had my hopes lifted sky high and then zooming down to rock bottom, I began to see some major similarities between online dating and business consulting.
So… for your thoughts and entertainment, here are my consulting and dating comparisons:
Market/Competitive Research > Browsing the Dating Apps
For business consulting, one of the first steps to success is research. It’s important to find out what’s happening in the market. What is effective? What is ineffective? Who are the main audiences? Who are the competitors? How do I best fit my business into all of these factors?
This is a pretty basic comparable with online dating. Before any dates can be made, you have to connect with people. This includes checking out your competitors (other profiles of people who are trying to date the same types of people you are) and reviewing all the available options (checking out the profiles of people you want to date). Dating research includes monitoring multiple apps/sites, as well as trying various filters for maximum outcomes to find the person of your dreams.
2. Your Business Pitch > Your Dating Profile
After market analysis, you are ready to prepare your business pitch. All the time, people talk about your elevator speech. What sets you apart? Why should someone trust you? Why do people want to work with you? If you were stuck on an elevator with your dream client, what would you say?
If you were stuck on an elevator with your dream date, what would you say? After you’ve seen what other people (your competitors) are doing, it’s time to create your online profile. Why would people want to date you? What are you looking for in a date? What sets you apart? Side Tip: Take some great profile photos to help you stand out.
3. Business Meeting > First Date
Yay! You’ve secured a business meeting/phone call. This is your time to shine. Make sure you’ve researched the client’s business, so that you can ask smart questions and have a better understanding of their industry. Create some questions ahead of time to help keep things flowing smoothly. Make sure the client feels like you are there to help them and give them reasons to trust you. Showing case studies or work samples can be helpful.
Once again, very similar advice stays relevant for a first date! Don’t you love the comparisons?
Although a first date can seem daunting, remember you are awesome. This person is lucky to have secured a date with you. It’s smart to have some questions prepared, as you want to know what this person is interested in and if they are a good match for you. It’s equally important to take the time to listen to your date. Make them feel like you are truly interested in what they are saying. This will help you secure the second date. Woohoo!
4. Managing Multiple Projects > Dating Multiple People
Well, this is a very popular question in online dating? Can you date multiple people at the same time?
The same holds true for consulting also. Clients want to know that you have business experience, but they also are concerned that you are too busy and won’t focus enough on their projects.
In both cases, yes. You can definitely work with multiple businesses and date multiple people, especially in the beginning. Settling for a client or a date that you’re really not that stoked about is not recommended. Be honest and open that you are working with multiple businesses and dating multiple people because everyone likes transparency and honestly.
In business, it’s important to see what’s out there and how you best work with a variety of businesses and projects. Perhaps, you will find a certain industry niche is best suited for your background and experience, or perhaps a certain skill or task is a good focus.
In dating, don’t settle. With all of the available technology and options, make sure you find a partner that you are compatible with. Also, take your time. There’s no rush when it comes to finding a life partner.
5. Long-term Relationship
Well, in the end, you are hoping to find a committed partnership both in the world of business consulting and dating. Be patient! As you progress through consulting and dating, you will definitely figure out what you are NOT looking for, and you’ll also start to see patterns in what you do want. Pay attention to this, as it’s important to help you grow and evolve through the experience.
Although dating was a crazy experience for me, I stayed persistent, patient and open. Despite all the bad dates, I took every meeting as an adventure and learning opportunity. As I figured out what I was not looking for, I began to see what I really wanted in a companion.
And then, he appeared!!
I found someone who is kind, caring, considerate, smart, hardworking, motivated, adventurous, outdoorsy, passionate, and he has a child close to my child’s age. So happy that I didn’t settle for less!
With business consulting, it’s challenging. I’m early in, and unfortunately, I’m learning things the hard way more than I had hoped. But guess what that means? I’m growing and evolving. I’m learning about what motivates me, and where my skills are best suited. I know if I stay patient, persistent and open, I’ll find the best businesses that I can work with for their next evolution.
Whitney Parks is founder of Parks Evolution, a content marketing and PR consultancy. When she purchased her rose gold MacBook, Rosie, she was ready to rock.
For the previous five years, she worked for two engineering firms in corporate marketing and communications. She focuses on storytelling and writing and helps her clients with basic website design and content management, employee engagement and digital and social media marketing campaigns. She loves nature and staying active, and is always ready for her next adventure.