What I Learned About Marketing from Parks & Rec

February 4, 2019

Parks & Recreation is one of my favorite tv shows. There’s nothing like relaxing with a light comedy at the end of a long day! Well, last week I was watching the episode Soulmates, and found a gem of a marketing analogy!

On this episode, Leslie and Tom get matched up on an online dating site. If you’ve ever watched the show, you’ll know how crazy incompatible these two are. Leslie is a bit nerdy in the best way, obsessed with politics and history, while Tom is obsessed with everything luxurious and trendy and cool. They don’t mesh AT all. This is why Leslie is horrified when she see’s Tom matched at “soul mate status!” And she really can’t figure it out. Well, after a bunch of funny mishaps trying to see if there could be anything between them, she finds out Tom’s secret to why they matched up: Tom created a dating profile for every different kind of woman he could think of.

He had 26 different profiles – one for every letter of the alphabet. For each profile, he answered his “about me” questions differently, to make sure he could match up with every woman possible on the site. Leslie matched up with his nerd profile – which is why, in real life, they did NOT fit well, because Tom lied about every question on that quiz!

The lesson from marketing I learned from this is: it is so important to know and market towards your ideal client! AND not everyone is your ideal client.

Tom’s failure in this whole dating scheme was throwing out a net to any woman possible. Instead of focusing his efforts on women who would actually like and be compatible with him, he threw out his net to anyone he could find. This meant that most of the women who responded (like Leslie) didn’t like him, weren’t attracted to him, and weren’t interested in what he had to offer.

This is just like marketing. We sometimes feel that we are supposed to attract everyone. Our goal is to get seen by more people, get more followers, have more engagement – without focusing on who is seeing and following and engaging with our brand. If we focus on the right audience, our ideal client, our numbers may be smaller, but we will have a more compatible following and audience. This audience will be full of our ideal clients – people who appreciate our brand, our products, and will benefit from what we have to offer.

So, moral of the story is, let’s not be like Tom, and let’s strengthen our branding so we attract clients who are compatible with our brands.

What questions do you have about branding? Comment below with your thoughts.