Marketing is like sex.
No, really. It is.
I’m not just saying that for shock value and I’m not talking about sex in marketing (which works, but is badly overused and used badly).
This shouldn’t surprise us because the two are really just human interactions where we’re both giving someone something and getting something in return (I’m trying to keep this clean, but it’s hard. See? It’s started getting smutty already!)
Anyway… marketing, like sex, is something we don’t really think about for a long time. We kind of know it’s “out there” but it’s something we leave to others older and more sophisticated than ourselves, and until we reach a certain point in our lives, we really don’t give it too much thought.
But then something clicks, and it comes to dominate much of our waking thoughts (and a lot of our sleeping ones, too). And marketing, just like sex, is something those new to it approach with considerable enthusiasm, little expertise and a lot of (often dangerous) ignorance. In short, we can’t get enough of it and we dive headlong into situations without thinking them through with a logical eye.
So, our virgins, literal and metaphorical, are often easily seduced by the smooth-talking, more experienced fellows, sold on promises of a wonderful experience that all too often ends up to be unpleasant, shortlived, expensive and humiliating.
But, newbies do have a few things going for them: they’re often inventive, willing to try new things – up to a point – and have bags of energy. Plus they don’t have too many preconceived notions of what’s to expect. This can be both good and bad.
Because, on the flip side, they’ll often pull back (rather than out) at the last minute rather than commit to one thing. Cold feet, you know? And occasionally they’ll let things go too far without really thinking through the consequences and end up with a hell of a lot more than they’ve bargained for.
It’s amazing any of us live through it, really, isn’t it?
But, after a while, assuming they’ve not had too many bad experiences or caught something fatal, they slow down a little and start to take more interest in the other side of the equation – their partner in the “sale”.
They start to realise there’s more to be gained in the long run by treating him or her well and taking care of his or her needs rather than just rushing on ahead focusing on their own.
Before long they start to realise it’s wise to be choosy whom they become involved with… because while anyone can find a willing partner if they’re not too fussy, that brings problems all of its own.
And although it happens with depressing rarity, sometimes we’re smart enough to figure out that by respecting ourselves and not giving ourselves away too cheaply, we actually get a better class of person coming our way – more respectful, more considerate, and in all ways more likely give us an experience we won’t forget in a hurry.
And maybe an experience we’ll want to repeat over and over again (of course, unlike marketing, with sex you probably don’t get too many referrals… but hey, you can’t have everything, can you?).
And in the long term, we tend to find what works and what doesn’t. If we’re smart and pay attention, that is (again, it’s depressingly rare… some people go through their entire lives making the same mistakes over and over and over again. Dropping your knickers and bending over to score a quick “win” is easy – dealing with the consequences is usually less so).