10 Ways Inbound Marketing is Exactly Like Sex

Couple engaged in marketing, or sex. Hard to tell.

Let’s be honest. Sometimes it’s all you ever think about. 

And it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Marketing is like that.

If you find yourself obsessed with your campaigns, marketing ideas and metrics, you're not alone. Having operated an Edmonton web design, branding agency and inbound marketing firm for 23 years, I’ve had that fixation for nearly as long as I can remember. 

As marketers, it seems we are chemically predisposed to live, dream, even fantasize about our craft the way some (normal people, perhaps) obsess with sex. And there are definitely other parallels—here are 10 worth pondering:

1. The Better You Look, the More You Get.

This is totally unfair, but the world isn’t an equitable place. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite. Marketing grounded in outstanding design always outcompetes the rest. The good news: you can fully control what your marketing looks like. Why would you settle for anything short of the upper echelon?

2. Doing it Wrong Can Really Hurt You.

It used to be that marketing mistakes could at worse result in a wasted investment. Now, it costs virtually nothing to harm a business’s reputation, and the damage can live forever online. Think iHop’s offensive breast tweet or Budweiser's ill-fated “Up for Whatever” campaign. Be careful out there, and think the possible consequences through. The hangover could be a doozie!

3. It Can Suddenly Change Your Whole Life.

The most exhilarating and attractive thing about marketing is that it can have an all-encompassing impact on your business. Done right, a strong marketing campaign can give birth to substantial growth and a dramatically different future.

4. You Can’t Imagine Your Parents Doing it.  

Marketing is hardly recognizable from what it looked and felt like a generation ago. Metrics, once delivered months later and with debatable accuracy, now come in real-time and are precise on multiple levels. Messaging can be targeted to your audience’s exact location, relevant interests and instantaneous activity, making previous Mom and Dad’s marketing techniques look comically slow, wrinkled and flabby. (Good luck unseeing that.)

5. It Can Make You Feel Fantastic. Or Filthy.

Anyone who has ever been involved in a campaign gone awry knows how quickly a negative response can take flight. Marketing mistakes can sully your reputation. Conversely, one highly successful campaign can make you the hottest act in town. 

6. The More People Involved, The Riskier It Gets.

We all know how the fastest way to dilute and homogenize a great marketing idea is to put it in the hands of a committee. Boards, chains of command and committees are the nature of the beast, but I especially relish working with very small groups of bold and visionary decision-makers. That’s when the magic happens. 

7. Great Communication is Everything. 

If you are able to express your needs, goals, pain and fears to your marketing agency with perfect honesty, you are already miles ahead of competitors. Being able to articulate what you like, dislike—and why—can lead to mutual bliss for client and agency. Likewise, you need a partner who will reciprocate your honesty.

8. Everyone Thinks They’re Good at It.

The Internet has democratized marketing to a large extent, enabling more people than ever to take it into their own hands. This is great on many levels, but it’s important to remember that professional marketers have years of specialized experience and deep storehouses of knowledge. If you have a brilliant marketing mind and aren’t overloaded with other responsibilities that better use your core skills, you may want to manage your own campaigns. Otherwise, it‘s well worth investing in pro expertise. (Yes, it is perfectly okay to pay for it.)

9. Quality of Delivery Can Make it Mesmerizing, or Repulsive. 

Great marketing is captivating and engaging. People will watch, share and discuss the best campaigns for the sheer joy of it. But poorly or tastelessly done, marketing can be hard to take, and even turn your audience off for good. Virality (a good thing in marketing) happens when people are compelled to share the pleasure you’ve given them.

10. When it Becomes Routine, It’s Not Great Anymore. 

All the things that make marketing amazing come with an expiry date. Accept that your audience is fickle, and until you’ve built a great brand, not yet in love with you. A marketer’s job is to continue changing things up, finding creative ways to keep the magic alive.

Noticed other striking similarities of your own between marketing and making whoopee? Share them in the comments below!

And if you’re interested in kicking up your own marketing and lead generating action, give me a shout or download our popular free eBook by clicking the link below. 

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Laurier Mandin is president of Graphos, the Edmonton web design company, branding consultancy and digital marketing agency he founded in 1993.

Posted by Laurier Mandin on January 14, 2016