Marriage, Sex and Marketing

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Marriage, Sex and Marketing


marriage sex and marketing one night stand"Direct marketing is to social marketing what a one-night stand is to marriage." -- @dnewman

The above statement is a tweet that gets a lot of reaction - some positive, some negative, and some asking for more detail. So - you asked for it, you got it. Let's dig in...

Quick sidenote before we start: I find it telling that people read the analogy wrong - they sometimes misunderstand and think I'm saying that social marketing is the one-night stand. NOT AT ALL - direct marketing is the one-night stand. Social marketing is a marriage (unless you do it like an idiot - More on that later.

(Social marketing)

(Direct marketing)
 One-night stand: 

 Serious  Frivolous
 Committed  Promiscuous 
 Long-term  Short-term 
 Based on giving  Based on getting 
 Trust-based  Transaction-based 
 Other-focused  Self-focused 
 Metric: quality  Metric: quantity
 Heart, mind, body  Body  
 What's next?  Who's next? 
 Closer over time  Distance over time

The purpose of direct marketing (short for direct response marketing) is just that - to get a response. A hit. A lead. A sale. A little badda-bing in your pants, ya dig?

The purpose of social marketing (short for social media marketing) is to establish trust, build a strong relationship and deliver value over time. Can you hear the wedding bells?   

A big mistake that a lot of business owners, entrepreneurs and indepent professionals make is to think of social marketing in the same way that you might think of direct marketing or outbound sales activity. (As a marketing speaker and marketing coach, I see this mistake all the time and it's the source of MANY bad marketing decisions and idiotic online sales antics.)

Think about it: Cold calls. Email blasts. Direct mail like postcards and sales letters. Do those things and the natural question to ask is - OK, how much did you SELL TODAY?

You made 100 dials, you connected with 20 humans, you had 14 conversations, you qualified 5 serious prospects and then how much did you SELL TODAY?

You sent 10,000 postcards. Requests came back for 300 quotes. So how many widgets did you SELL TODAY?

All that scorekeeping, bad pick-up lines, hitting on people (not to mention the need to do it over and over again the next day, the next week, and the next month) is starting to sound a lot like Leisure Suit Larry's dating life, doesn't it?

Social marketing doesn't work that way. Social marketing is... well, social. It's about relationships and trust. Relationships and trust don't have an ON/OFF switch - they develop over time.

Transactions happen today from relationships you built last week, last month, and last year. The benefit of that - and the reason it's worth the "wait" is that social media gives you a permanent asset - TRUST.

Oh and by the way, married people DO have crazy good sex. But those transactions happen BECAUSE of the relationship, not instead of it!! It's the permanence of the relationship that gives you both the long-term love (trust) AND the short-term lust (profitable transactions) you want and need.  

Think about the long-term impact of your social media marketing assets and the fleeting nature of your direct marketing investments:

Blog entries are forever. They continue to sell your expertise, your company, and your value day after day, week after week, year after year.

LinkedIn recommendations are forever. People that wrote glowingly of you in 2002 are still "selling" for you and your reputation TODAY.

A voice mail? BEEP - gone.

An email? ZAP - deleted.

A sales letter or postcard? THUNK - into the recycling.

Those happen today and they're gone today. 

Sure, you have to sell today. You have to make your quota today. You have to feed your family today. But social media marketing helps you ensure that what you create ONCE today works and lasts and brings customers and clients to you for many years to come...

Not because you SOLD them like an idiot -- but because you built the trust and relationships that HELPED THEM BUY today, tomorrow and beyond!

Use the COMMENTS area below to share your advice, insights and recommendations on marriage, sex or marketing. 
marriage sex and marketing

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Interesting analogy. I was definitely lured in by the title.
Posted @ Tuesday, August 28, 2012 2:00 PM by Jim Matorin
Direct marketing can also be used to develop relationships. As with SM, it's all about how you use the tools!
Posted @ Tuesday, August 28, 2012 2:00 PM by Mary Cahalane
Excellent - my work here is done!  
Seriously - thank you for stopping by and commenting.  
-- David
Posted @ Tuesday, August 28, 2012 4:11 PM by David Newman
I disagree. It's like saying you could develop a romantic relationship based on a series of one-night stands. Sure, it's been done. But it's a different ball game than a 3-dimensional relationship based on BOTH short-term and long-term goals and compatibility. You can't really send 10 letters or 18 postcards and say you have a relationship with a buyer. You've sent them 28 interruptions.  
Clearly, we need to discuss this over drinks and dinner with you, me, Vanessa, your David, Shecky and Charlie.
Posted @ Tuesday, August 28, 2012 4:16 PM by David Newman
Well on that we agree!
Posted @ Tuesday, August 28, 2012 4:29 PM by Mary Cahalane
Very clever. Social marketing gets some respect in your comparison. I think about what direct marketing is and it makes me shudder. Can't say I've had any worthwhile relationship built from a direct marketing campaign.
Posted @ Tuesday, August 28, 2012 7:30 PM by Darcie, The Game Gal
Yes indeed - very much so. Social media mirrors human relationship development from stranger to acquaintance to friend to friend with benefits to dating to serious dating to engagement to newlyweds to still-crazy-in-love-after-all-these-years old married farts. So yes, your observation is spot on! And no, direct marketing is famous for not being a warm and fuzzy relationship builder. Thanks for your comment! 
-- David
Posted @ Tuesday, August 28, 2012 7:48 PM by Marketing Coach David Newman
Brilliant and insightful, David! A great hook and terrific analogy...most important, you've provided something we can use starting today.
Posted @ Thursday, August 30, 2012 3:27 AM by Scott McKain
Hey there! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind comment. I appreciate YOU! 
-- David
Posted @ Thursday, August 30, 2012 5:37 AM by Marketing Speaker David Newman
as a founder and director of a content marketing agency you would think I should agree with you, but I think DM is making a huge impression if it is integrated into a well structured content marketing strategy, PURLs, QR codes and other effective tools all drive people to landing pages. The more more personas get swamped with useless content, crap blog posts, white papers which dont actually tell you anything marketers are having to get more cute at driving traffic to landing pages, and this is where DM can be incredibly effective
Posted @ Sunday, April 28, 2013 2:05 PM by Sam
Thank you for reading and for your comment. Sad truth is that precious few small-medium businesses even KNOW what an effective integrated campaign IS. Many see it as either/or so your point is extremely well taken. 
-- David
Posted @ Monday, April 29, 2013 7:43 AM by David Newman
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About the author: 
David Newman is a marketing expert, professional speaker and founder of Do It! Marketing, a marketing strategy firm dedicated to making thought-leading entrepreneurs and executives more successful. Free resources including David’s 97-page Strategic Marketing eBook are available online at Contact David directly at or call (610) 716-5984. Order David’s book, "Do It! Marketing," and get over $747 in business-building bonuses at

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