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Playing the Field

Apply dating rules to marketing, and sweep your customers off their feet.

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This story appears in the May 2005 issue of Start Up.

Sweaty palms, racing heart, butterflies in the stomach--it happens to the best of us. When it comes to marketing, making a good and lasting impression on your target customers can be as nerve-wracking as asking someone out on a date. The good news: Rob Levinson, founder and president of RL Strategies, a marketing strategy consulting firm in Dover, Massachusetts, says you can use some of the same basic tactics used in dating to make customers fall head over heels for your product or service.

  • Stop talking, start listening. Do extensive research to get to know your target consumers. Observe them, conduct online surveys, and talk with them one-on-one.
  • Whisper sweet nothings. Once you know your consumers, make them feel good with appealing marketing images or words. Says Levinson, "It's all about feeding customers signs on how they want to feel about themselves."

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