Friday, February 7, 2014

Relationships and Marriage are about Marketing and Customer Services

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By Baba Willy

Buying and selling aids the planetary revolutions we enjoy. The same could be said about love as we pay for what we love with what we value. Living is all about exchanging items, services or concepts of value.  Each day millions of people wake up and go to where there is a market for the good skills they possess, (pick pockets included).  Those unfortunate to have nowhere to go will work hard at finding out who needs what they have to offer, in other words they market themselves.

I had never considered this scenario could relate to romantic relationships or marriage for that matter until it came up while chatting with a good friend. The topic was about the reluctance of a certain husband to do something for his wife and she became upset at his lack of enthusiasm and angrily told him that he did a lot more when he was wooing her to which he replied, ‘that time I dey do marketing, you don become customer now’.

When the call was long over I began to think about it and found the whole concept funny. Now why should the husband feel he is expected to work hard at wooing and relax once the deal had been closed? Let us look closer at this marketing versus customer services issues a little bit closer.


That is what a young man does for his brand as he sprouts up in the forest of the living. He communicates the value of his brand with an assault on all the sense. Strong after shave, brightly coloured clothes and even more colourful language. Exaggeration is the currency of the wannabes and he really is a wanna be. He throws parties and serves drinks, acts the fool and fakes charisma, but why? The target audience must be understood and he has done his homework. When you are the product, it is you job to tailor your virtues to the aspirations of your potential consumers.

The young man knows that his consumer wants a prince for a mate. For what better way to appear attractive to the ladies than to either be a prince or imitate one meticulously. The ladies are on the lookout for the prince for the prince guarantees the fulfilment of their basic heart desires.

It is common knowledge that wealth, shelter, fine raiment and exquisite ornaments come with the territory. The avoidance of hunger, adversity, injury and boredom can be best achieved hanging around the prince. Long term prosperity is also secured for the prince is heir to land and harvest, to good will and treasures. He walks with head held high and gives promise of one day making a queen of his lady.

Children of the prince are all royal and the benefits never seem to end. A real prince does not really need to market himself for the consumers are desperate for the gold standard. The good news is that the prince is but just one person, simply unattainable to most, so the next best thing will be the guys who can act the prince the most.  These are the guys who market their brands with skill and perception.

All hip hop rappers pretend to be princes and many young men follow their skilled impersonations. Coat of arms tattooed on the arm, jewellery, big cars and loads of body guards all armed with offensive weapons. A slight illusion of royalty (without the landed property) begins to ferment giving every Cinderella a hope of a happy ending.  Princes cannot be ignored. 4 Princes come to mind as I sit here in my palace. One Prince puts his agenda quickly on the table, ‘I wanna be your lover’ then there is another in Africa who sings about the Sweetness of his mother.

Well if a guy thinks mummy is sweet, mummy is royal, mummy is worthy of honour, then  by proxy he would feel all the ladies are sweet, and thus he begins to sound attractive. Then there is the Prince of the air, the evil one who promises the world and gives nothing at all save tribulation in the afterlife and finally the Prince of peace who promises everything good in this world and the in  after world.  (Did I forget the Ice Prince?? Oleku!)It is wise to emulate a Prince for by so doing as part of the package you treat the ladies like princesses while you are in character. Come to think of it, most Nigerian traditional weddings have the groom dressed up in a regal manner. There it is, Nigeria must be a fantasy island!

Now the banks are different. They long for relationships but don’t want to be deceived so they give no room for sentimentality and would always ask for six months worth of bank statements from all their suitors. The same applies to the Visa offices and embassies. These institutions have long since found out that the heart makes poor business decisions. But not so in the arena of wooing a lady. Guys imitate princes on borrowed cash and credit cards and secure long term relationship contracts without having been asked to show any documentary prove of income by way of a few bank statements or pay slips. But such is life. Reality and common sense?  Too dry! Fantasy is sweeter.

Of all eligible princes in history, who can forget Prince Henry who later became King Henry the 8th? Of his six wives, the rhyme goes,
Divorced, beheaded and died
Divorced, beheaded and survived.

The prince was meant to be a good catch but tori come get K-leg.  He just kept on changing the wives in succession; killing a few as he went along. Proof that the Prince is not always King.

So, boy meets girl and his heart flutters. He tried to display his charm as a CV will not cut it. New clothes, new shoes and new sun glasses just to watch a film. (Ladies, be suspicious of a man whose entire attire is new. Shows he is wearing a costume for his role that he is acting out).  The exaggeration of influence and charm is also derived from fear. All marketers fear their competition. Adverts on TV really hit up when rivals battle for the market share. Marketing really gets innovative as product producers get desperate. Think Apple and Samsung. Coke and Pepsi. Cat and Mouse. Tension breeds excitement. And there is no more heady feeling for a consumer than having various brands bend over backwards to get your custom.

A slight feeling of importance starts to develop when a girl receives fourteen birthday gifts from different suitors, some taking weeks to plan, on her birthday. Some potential suitors even consult friends for advice on how to woo a lady. They form a master mind group, coach their man, lend him money for fuel, lend him cloths and cars, as they feel they are a team and the babe is the FA cup. The chase is exciting and it gets the whole team hyped. Almost like a reality TV show.

Everyone is excited about the potential happy ending. The pretend Prince’s ego now sets in. He must not fail. So he gives it his all. Whatever music needs to be listened to, he tolerates. He starts watching films he cannot stand and eating food that bequests the stomach indigestion. Appears to be witty when he has a toothache and keeps in all his farts to appear poised. Being ill is not an option as there is competition.

He intensifies his market research and gives the consumer what she likes. He tries hard to create what takes Hollywood a team of fifty to create; a feel good factor. None stop jokes, smiles, self-control, nobility and lavishness. The old there is more where that came from routine. Lavish tips to waiters which make everyone think that, there is more somewhere. Unfortunately, there usually isn’t more.

They say it takes three months to develop a habit, so when a lady has finally settled on a guy, and started going out steady, he has become her habit. She is now used to him but used to seeing him chasing. Almost like getting used to a politician on a campaign trail and thinking life will always be smiling and flag waving. (Campaigns cost money and money has to be paid back).

So when a guy who is not a prince has over stretched himself for a year in his acting Prince role, he dreams of a well-earned rest. That rest is called Marriage in some quarters.

Customer Services.

Here lies the shock. After the honeymoon, no one is interested in celebrating the new wife anymore and the novelty dies off.  After all, the gorgeous couple by galloping into the sunset should have arrived in the land of happy-ever-after, meaning it is time for another couple to shine.  The master mind team which helped to woo the lady by providing intelligence and strategic support to the erstwhile prince is disbanded and all the princess is left with is customer services; in other words how his papa treated his mama.

The guy steps out of character as least at home, and shows his real colours.  He is free to put down all the acting and sit all day in front of the telly with legs far apart , making sure he has not sprouted a third testicle. This he does by constant self -examination which the right hand while the left hand is on the remote control.

The problem is he thought his beloved was acting as well when she pranced about like a princess. For him the final curtain has been drain on the final Act but the Princess, is just getting ready to become a Queen on the palace. Perhaps the princess should have noted how the prince’s parents actually treated each other during her own courtship for all men will revert to embryonic character (forgive my medicine).

If the chap’s mum asks fourteen times before his dad hears what she is says and you guy appears to hear before you ask, he is not different from his dad. He is just pretending. With time you would see the wisdom in awarding him an Oscar in his role as a leading man i.e. leading you on.  You might even decide to take it one step further by smashing the statue on his brow, but that is between you and your conscience.

But to be fair, who can blame a lady who had fourteen guys remembering her last birthday for thinking it will always be lie that. Flattery is deceptive, sweet, intoxicating and delusional.  My advice, enjoy the sweet flattery with a pinch of salt for it is a figment of imagination, just an illusion or simply put, plain old marketing.

Customer services can be bad some times. You go to the shop to telling the very nice shop assistant your product has a problem and they don’t smile lie they did when you came into the shop on the instigation of that very good advert on telly. They give you a number to ring. After  15 minutes on the phone, and selecting 14 options in succession you are put to someone a thousand miles away reading a  recorded script. They are so incompetent and have the audacity to ask ‘is there anything else you will like help with today?’

Now to the New York Nigerian newlyweds I hear about.

‘Darlings, how are we spending Christmas? Our first one together’
Dotun is busy with his NBA game
‘Dotun. Dotun’
‘Eh?’ he says not looking up.
After three minutes Sarah goes over to switch off the TV
‘Dotun are you listening?’
‘Please make it quick’ Dotun says.
‘Where are we spending Christmas?’
‘Ah, I don’t know o. I will have to ring my mum in Nigeria. She will decide if we are going to Naija’ replied Dotun.

Customer services!!!


Dr Wilson Orhiunu

1 comment:

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