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Dating and Marketing Connection

Posted On: 2005-12-01Length: 29:42

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If you're like me, dating is one of those things in life that you view as a necessary evil. Guys who want relationships but no sex. Guys who want sex but no relationships. Guys that well, it's enough to make your head spin. Now I could do one of a couple of things today. I could be bitter and blast certain dating practices, or I could take my usual sardonic look at things and of course, the why and the how of the issue in order to derive some desiderata-like moral statement for you. When it comes down to it, I could go either way. As a marketer I love to talk about the business side of things, about relationships in general. For me, professionally, relationships work, relationships sell. Relationships mean that it's much easier for me to get my point across because you've established a connection. Now as a 20-something, I think I could take a look at the challenges in landscape we're faced with. Why it's going downhill in some respects, and go off on a rant that has nothing to do whatsoever with marketing. Funny enough, though, I think I can do both and still prove a point about making connections both professionally and romantically. And whether or not you agree with me on this, you can't deny the parallels between dating and the run up to romantic relationships. Then again you can't deny the parallels between dating and the run up to establishing a commercial connection in the run up to professional relationships. That's why I think that no matter where you stand on this, I think you're going to love what follows. And I'm sure it's not going to disappoint you. So submitted folks, for your approval the 20-Something Marketing Forum is proud to present episode #18 aptly named "The Marketing-Dating Connection."

Rise and Shine 20-somethings. It's time for the 20-Something Marketing Forum with your host Jared Degnan.

And greetings and warm holiday salutations marketing fans. You are listening to the 20-Something Marketing Forum, an informative, engaging look at marketing and of course the lives of 20-something professionals dealing with the realities, and of course the drama of the modern workplace. My name is Jared Degnan the host of the show, and you can think of me as your own personal marketing yenta today. And that's because today's show is all about the connections we make in marketing and in dating. Now, why combine the two, you ask, well that's because that's what we do here on the 20-Something Marketing Forum folks. We entertain and of course we inform. In all seriousness though, there are plenty of parallels you can draw between the two, and certainly more than a couple of points you can draw out to help you make better sense of it all. It's not that bashing dating is necessarily going to make you a better marketer. But think about this, if love and affection are some of the most primal needs that we have, what a better way to look at making a connection in marketing than dissecting what makes the romantic connection tick. Now, I do have a sight confession to make. This topic was slighted to be more of an examination of online dating sites and the models that they use, and also as a way to parallel the coverage that I got in the Washington Blade this week. Now if you haven't caught on the site yet, the Washington Blade did a great article on podcasting in the gay voice and media. It also just so happens to be that they featured my show as a local Washington DC podcast. Now, when I read the article, I found that they had juxtaposed my show versus another loveable local podcaster whose name is Jamie Mann. Now Jamie's apparent claim to fame is that he slept with several of the Metro Weekly cover boys, and of course Metro Weekly, if you're in the Washington DC area, is basically the nightlife guide here in DC, and they feature a very hot guy on the cover every single week. The story is the story of my life here, folks. I get the description of the tight-ass business person, while the pretty boy ditz gets his picture in his paper and makes me look like the dowdy older sister. Once again I find myself having to explain that this show is not just about marketing, it's not just about business. It's about the lives of 20-something professionals. And the reason that I harp on this is that so much of what we do in life as 20-somethings can be plugged directly back into not only being happier, but being more content and being more successful at work. In short, we start being better at what we do by using what we probably already know.

So today what we're going to do is to take a dive at actually what concerns making connections. Now as usual, let's start off with defining the thing to get a good grasp at it. Making connections, both personally or professionally, is a function of finding or creating common ground. It's something that you have in common. Something that you can understand each other with. And what this does is facilitates trust and the exchange of ideas, feelings, goods and services. All understanding that the connection ensures mutual benefit. So the idea here is that if you meet somebody on the street, if you meet somebody romantically, you are quite literally trusting them because you have things in common, and you feel free to exchange your ideas. You feel free to kind of put yourself out on the line, as it were. And connections start out at one end of the spectrum, which entails familiarity on the lower level of trust and exchange. And then what that does, is it works its way up the process of time and interaction to form what we know as a relationship. It's very simple. The more you know somebody, the more you trust them, the more you're going to tell them, the more you're going to trust them. Relationships in turn entail high level of trust and exchange. And what that usually does is carries with them the idea that the connection needs to be maintained for one reason or another. Usually this is because they have a stake in maintaining that connection, whether emotionally or physically. But the idea is that they want to maintain it for the connection themselves. You want to maintain the relationship with your friend because you want to be a friend, you're going to excuse certain things. You're going to be able to test it. You're going to be able to stretch it more often. So essentially we've just laid out the three parts of the connection that I want to highlight here. And this is important, just in terms of kind of outlining our whole discussion today.

The first of which is the source of that connection, and that's pretty much the example of where you find these people. Do you find them on an online dating site? Do you meet them in a professional setting? What's the attention and the interaction you've given to this person? The second of which is of course the level of trust, being how well do you trust someone to reciprocate the benefits of that relationship both professionally and of course personally. Lastly, it's the stake they have in the connection. Professionally it can be roughly defined as what you see the future expected benefits to be. So if it's a professional relationship you are deciding with your contact how much are they going to help you down the line. Personally, it's basically why you got involved with the bum in the first place. The idea being that you got into a relationship for a particular reason. You have therefore an emotional stake in that connection. You want to stay with them for one reason or another. No one likes break ups.

Now, there might be some that say that taking this down to three components is hideously structured and very antiseptic. Now they're also probably saying that I'm skipping over all the warm and fuzzy things that usually accompany finding a connection in this jaded world of ours. But you know, these are the things that actually make us want to find someone. This, these are the singular components that we want to talk about today. And again I call to your attention the parallels here. Marketing is nothing but connections, when it comes down to it. Connections to make you buy something, to pay attention, to make you think differently. Again it's kind of realizing that trust in someone. And it's also then again about emotions. As we covered way back in episode number 3, you have to be able to motivate someone to act, in marketing and in dating for instance. Emotions like fear, hope and excitement are very powerful factors in creating a connection with someone. Unfortunately, with the understanding of connections you also have to address some of the finer points of making connections in this day and age, and it really does come down to kind of that more jaded aspect of things. And I mean, this is kind of where you can go off and say dating in this day and age is a pain in the ass. You can't trust people at all, it doesn't matter where you source them, whether it's online dating site, or in person, they're all going to lie to you. And that may be true to some respect, but this time I'm actually going to take the opposite effect here and not completely rant on it, but the way that I see it, there are some new realities that contribute to dating as a 20-something. And the first of which is of course communication. Communication lets us pre-screen. Communication lets us hide behind a wall. And it's really quite interesting because by the time you get to know someone, you've already pre-screened them. You already know all that you need to know about them. And it kind of takes that whole X factor out of it.

Now the second part of this is that relationships have actually blurred. I am going to speak for myself here, but there are plenty of you guys out there who have that whole like friends with benefits relationships, the one where a person's not really ready for an emotional connection, really, but they're more than willing to sleep with you all you want. And that's what I'm saying. The relationship lines are blurred. People believe that because there's an abundance, and the sexual liberation that comes with it, there is more of a justification, there's more of an acceptance of that kind of behavior, especially in the gay lifestyle. And then finally, and lastly, and I think this is really kind of important. But we seem to have become more hyper-sensitive to not wanting to hurt people. And I give an example of this as breaking up with someone. It's not cool to be broken up with over the phone or by email. We are able to say, you know what, I really don't want to tell the person I really don't like them. So I just won't email them at all. And that has fundamentally changed the dynamic of dating. At least in urban areas. And I think that's very, very important in our discussion today. And the reason why I say that is because the business implication themselves are obvious. People feel the need to put themselves out there much more frequently. So we literally are bobbing for boyfriends, or girlfriends for that matter, in online dating sites. And the problem being, as I just mentioned, is that these are moving us more towards a scientific model of compatibility. And by the time that we finish up pre-screening them, you can look perfect on paper, you can sound great over the phone, and you can pre-screen every aspect of them, but out of all your due diligence you find that things still don't happen. You're just not compatible. And that's because the X factor isn't there. And it seems to me that we need to start with that X factor, and what is that X factor? It's the spark. It's that moment of realization that you have a connection with someone. It's that flirt look in a grocery store. It's a slight touch at a club. I don't want to get too erotic here, folks. But you get what I'm saying. It's the sparks that make the relationship. And it's not that you can find that in an online dating site, but you're kind of putting the cart before the horse, and you've got a long way to make that happen. And I have a confession. I've had a situation before when I've done online dating, and I've tried to kind of get in a relationship with someone, and it just ended up being that I had that kind of self-denial that things weren't working. Now if I had just kind of met this person on the street, I'd think to myself, god this guy is such a loser, I'm not going to date him. And that would be that. And I would kind of say to myself, ok, well you know what, I'm going to go with my gut instinct here, but more frequently we're settling. We're settling guys. We are settling for people who we shouldn't have to settle for just because we know everything about them. Folks, believe it or not, you can trust your gut instincts on these things. And, it's that X factor that leads to the trust in our own gut.

And today's guest is going to directly help me out in making that point. Because this particular model has been based off of the fact that human interaction needs something a little bit more than a scientific model. I have with me today Justin Schubert from QJew.com who talked to me a little bit about his online dating site and why it's different and why it's directly confronting the three new realities of dating as a 20-something.

We are back with Justin from QJew.com. Thanks so much for joining us Justin.

No problem.

I'll tell you what, why don't we start off and tell us what's QJew is all about.

Q is the world premier dating site. It's one of the only dating sites that focuses on matching up gay Jews with gay Jews, but it's definitely the only site with a quirky sense of humor. So that's what we are all about.

Fantastic. How did you start off with this concept?

Let's see. A couple years ago I realized that I really wasn't happy with the group of guys I was meeting going out to the bars. And I was sitting around with my friend in New York, in Manhattan, and a friend of mine from college, we both went to Cornell together, and we were just kind of complaining like, why can't we meet a nice Jewish boy like our moms always wanted us to. And we came up with the idea of starting this website. I mean, JDate has been so successful, but does not cater towards lesbian or gay populations. So we kept thinking, why doesn't this exist, and after a lot of research we found a couple very small sites that did this. But they were boring and small and we had never heard of them. So, you know, we wanted a site that we would be on. And we created one.

Well that's fantastic. You guys started this what, early this year?

Yeah, I think we launched in March.

Fantastic. And you guys have gotten some pretty good press so far. I know that you guys have been covered by some local Jewish papers out there in Long Beach, as well as being featured, actually you yourself being featured as a future gay leader from the Advocate, which actually I think hits newsstands today.

That's crack, actually.

So congratulations on that.

Thank you. We've received great response from the press. I think that people really like the tone of our site. Again, there are tons of dating websites, and they seem pretty formulaic. So this one kind of makes people more comfortable than usual dating sites. And I think a sense of humor I think just makes people more comfortable. So I think that's why the press has been responding so well.

Fantastic. Now just for those people who haven't actually been to the site, do you want to kind of explain a little bit about the tone of the site and why it's so unique?

Sure. Well our slogan is QJew.com like mom always hoped for, sort of. So we have two rotating pictures on the site, one is of a bunch of little chickens and the caption is "kosher chick." And one is of two Ken dolls about to kiss, and the caption is "feel like all the guys you're meeting are fake." So it kind of goes from there. We were really careful in setting up the profile questions. I think they do a good job of both allowing the user to tell people a little bit about themselves and they're really light-hearted and they kind of make people's sense of humor shine through. So, it's fun to use, which is what we were going for.

And that's actually kind of interesting. I tried to, I looked at the site today, and usually dating sites take about, I mean, unfortunately I've had to deal with my own series of them, but like Match.com and Yahoo personals each take about 10 to 15 minutes each to set up. And your site is incredibly simple. It's to the point, it's all laid out very, very well, and you just mentioned it. The questions are really interesting. So do you mind if I ask you a couple of these questions?

No, go ahead.

Yeah, that's all right. I know I didn't tell you this earlier. Name three movies that you can quote.

Oh god. I've spent so much time going through this. Annie Hall, Best in Show, Boats over Broadway.

Fantastic. And this is my personal favorite question. If the earth explodes in 24 hours, name your plan.

I think I'd plan a lot of Nintendo.

That's interesting. Oh gosh. Ok. So, actually one of the things that I kind of came across in doing some research for this, is that I know that there are a lot of guys who are starting to get really, really jaded with Yahoo and with Match.com and I think that this is kind of symptomatic of it, but there is a new, there's actually a lawsuit out against both Yahoo personals as well as Match.com accusing them of some pretty insidious marketing practices where they actually sent out their own staff members to send fake emails, go on fake dates, just to increase their retention. And something that I noticed from your website is that it's really refreshing in terms of just its honesty, its ability to really go out there and ask the questions and kind of create an environment in which the personality really does shine through. What's your outreach vision for the site, cause as we can see, a lot of these sites tend to start off very personal, and then tend to evolve into a very, almost Harmony.com-esque scientific behemoth

Well, first of all, you know, there's so many dating websites around right now that it's definitely a definitive market. Match.com has 15 million users. The thought of them sending out their employees to you know, make people continue to stay on their site seems suspicious to me. I don't, I can't see that industry is that competitive. I think that we're lucky in that we are dealing with a really niche audience. We're dealing with the gay, Jewish men and women with a sense of humor. So, I hope that it won't get to the point where it's so competitive that it's possible for us to lose our personal edge. I think that the site is founded on this personalbility, and no matter how big we get, we always wanted to keep that.

And that's I think you've hit it right on the head. Let's see. Do you guys, did you guys start out with a business model?

Yeah, we certainly did.

Do you want to talk a little bit more about that?

Sure. The business model is kind of been to change with the market. To see what worked and to stick with that. So I mean, our initial plan is that we're focusing right now on getting people to know about us in New York and LA, that's where me and my business partner are, but also this is where the most flourishing gay Jewish communities are, we believe. And it is, we're actually an international site, so we have a couple people signing up from Russia and South America and Canada, but that's not where our efforts are right now. We hope after letting people know about us in New York and LA that we do a good job of reaching all of the major cities in the US, and we're kind of just going to go from there. That's how our marketing strategy.

Now in terms of marketing strategy when you first started launching the site, what was your biggest marketing challenge?

Mmm. Getting people to know about us. And it still is. I think that once people know about us, because our site is so easy to use and because it's so light-hearted so I think that if you're a gay Jew and you visit the site, it's not that hard to sign up. So it's really more about getting people to know about us. I think the press helps in this way. And the more people use us and start meeting people through us and you know, if a couple goes out and someone says, well how did you guys meet, and they say QJew.com you've got to try it, that's what we're trying to get to.

Fantastic. Cause I know you guys, let's see. Well I can tell you certainly that it's been interesting to kind of look at and see how QJew is positioning itself versus a lot of the other dating sites out there. Just in terms of where you want to see QJew in five years, knowing that I guess the most comparable site, and I hate to compare this, but when you look at JDate, JDate started out as a very, kind of a viral marketing concept where it really did start out as very much word-of-mouth and the buzz built and the buzz built and the buzz built until it kind of built itself into a mainstream element where a lot of people go onto JDate now. I know they have a staggering number of personals up. Where do you want to see the site in five years?

I want to, I want most gay, single gay Jews in America to have a profile on QJew. There's no reason why they shouldn't. I think that JDate's done a really good job, not towards the gay community. So, I think JDate's a great model for us. It's a little less personal, but and it's a little less fun, but they've done a fantastic job with getting people to know who they are, and spreading through word of mouth. And we'd like to do the same.

Fantastic. And just to quickly, before we sum up here. Give me your top three reasons why it's better to date a Jew.

Let's see. Similar cultural values. Appreciation of matzo ball soup. And the third one I'll let you guess.

Mmmm.

It has to do with,

I'm going to guess, and this is just my personal preference here, but, your grandmother won't complain so much.

Something like that, yes.

Excellent. Well thank you so much Justin. You can check out QJew at www.qjew.com and I'll put a link up on the site. Justin thank you so much for taking the time today.

Well thank you very much. I really appreciate it Jared.

Oh no problem, you guys are welcome back on the site at any point in time.

Thank you.

Oh, and as you can tell by the funky new porn music, it is the game plan folks. Suffice it to say the conversation that Justin and I had went way beyond what I originally recorded. We talked at length about his plans for QJew, and all I can say is that this is one site that you really need to pay attention to and watch the future of. And for that matter, it's tough to make the rubber meet the road like QJew has, but to help you do just that, and to wrap it up, we of course have the game plan. Now if this is your first time listening, the game plan is of course the moral of the story, if you will. It has actionable tactics that you can take with you to help conquer the world or at least kick some serious ass at work. Very simply, QJew brings to light some very important elements of making a connection both in marketing and in dating. Number one, it sources its targets from a very narrow audience, which any marketer will tell you is critical for enhancing your chances of success. The same can be drawn out from dating. QJew brings about the idea that there's a reason why you date Jewish, so there's a reason to narrow your focus to the traits that you indeed want. Again, back to the whole trusting your gut on these things, folks. You will have an initial reaction to someone. It's that X factor. Let it guide you. Therefore you don't need to cast your net wide. You just need to cast your net specifically. And that's critical in marketing and in dating to figure out what you want ahead of time. Just don't waste your time going after quantity, it's only going to leave you lonely on a Saturday night, I know. Trust me.

Number two, it uses some very poignant and funny questions to ferret out some key traits in people. And simple as that might be, that's going to go a long way to establishing trust. Granted it still requires that element of leap of faith that the person is going to be genuine, but you know what, it's a hell of a lot better than asking to list your hobbies. It's a lot more interesting. And the same thing, once again, goes for marketing. You can use humor, drama, emotion to create the connection in your direct mail, your ads, your interpersonal communications. It's a way of creating that plane of understanding both in marketing and in dating with your target audience. Stories, images, anything that you can do to tug at the heartstrings. You're going to do it because it's going to be that much easier to create the understanding and quite literally get in with that person. I mean, how many dates have you been on where you haven't shared a personal story? Translate that directly over to your professional life, folks.

And third, and of course lastly, QJew creates a stake that the user has in the connection because it intertwines real life with online interaction. I can't tell you how important this is here. They use real people. Real word-of-mouth. Real Jewish social organizations to create that bond, and that feeling that they have a stake in the ownership in the process, both by being a part of the community and perhaps being part of a larger social movement. Now you can do the same exact thing in marketing. You can find a way for your targets to hold a stake in the process. Literally, like featuring them in a survey, a case study. Anything to make them feel as if they're a part of our efforts. Intertwine them in that social element through special meetings, invitations, or peer interactions. These are the things that are going to make you more successful. These are going to be the things that are going to make your targets want to go to bat for you. And you know what, that's certainly important in making connections in dating. I mean, the fact of the matter is folks, that you have to give people a reason to care. Give them a reason to say, you know what, I don't want this to be a one-night stand. Tell them, you know what, I don't care. This is going to be something substantive. Enfranchise them in that. The way that I like to tell my friends who I give copious dating advice to, though they never seem to take it, is the fact that you know what, communication solves everything, and it's a very important element to life and the same thing can be translated over to marketing. And that's the reason why I think QJew is so successful in what it's doing and why it's spreading across the country. It sets a good guideline for people to establish connections to each other and it serves as a great example of why dating, and marketing for that matter, are so parallel. And of course folks, that has to do it for us for the 20-Something Marketing Forum. I've run a little bit over. Thank you so much for listening. And as a reminder, number one you can learn more about what we talked about today as well as interact with like-minded professionals at 20somethingmarketing.com. Also on the site, and number two, you still have time to get your best boss story contest entry in for best story for upward management. This doesn't have to be specific I know some of you guys have asked me that. The only point of this story is to get in something that illustrates how you used upward management to get what you needed out of your boss. And of course I'll put a link to that on the show notes. Also, big thanks to Justin at QJew. And of course if you're Jewish and gay I encourage you to check it out. If not, still check it out, because you know what, the more I think about it, the more I think that Justin was hinging that if you want to date a Jewish guy, you want to date him because he has a really big, big, big, you know, brains. Anyway, once again, feel free to forward any comments, suggestions or feedback to Jared@20somethingmarketing.com. I love to hear from you guys, so please keep it coming. Other than that, until next week folks, have a great weekend and I will catch you on the flipside.

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