Love Island isn’t a marketing playbook, it’s a warning

mfantisSo, Love Island is back (again). The fact a show built around finding love has only resulted in a handful of marriages over the last eight years suggests something isn’t working.

But part of its success comes from the cringe value of the desperate competitors attempting to gain the attention of the favourites… that alone should make for particularly uncomfortable viewing for marketers.

If it’s possible to learn anything from Love Island, it’s that long-term relationships rarely develop from superficial flings, especially if the reasons they happen are calculated.

“I’ve got a text!”
The buzz the Islanders feel when receiving a text soon fades when it’s not good news. Just as well the cast can’t opt out. The marketing community isn’t so blessed and we can’t afford to risk alienating audiences with nuisance communications. We won’t be expelled from an island paradise but we will lose out on valuable first-party data, making it less likely we’ll hit our sales targets – so it’s goodbye villa either way.

On the plus side, communication goes a long way on the island. The game rewards those able to create genuine (or seemingly genuine) relationships. Substance often marks out a winner more than looks and charm – just look at Alex and Olivia Bowen. The now married series two finalists owe their success to their ability to actively engage with every one of their fans on a genuine level.

So, be more Bowen. Create targeted and personalised marketing, which demonstrates you’re actively listening to your customers.

Putting your eggs in one basket
A viable strategy for the Islanders is to keep their options open. The same is true for brands. There’s a lot to be said for quick wins in the current business climate, but the bigger picture is long-term ROI. So don’t focus too much on attracting new customers and overlook taking care of existing ones.

The rewards of customer loyalty speak for themselves over time. Not only are you getting return custom, but word-of-mouth advocacy, which is far more powerful than any advertising campaign. Taking time to nurture and understand the needs of your most valuable audience segments is always time well spent.

Casa Amor
Retaining customers isn’t easy. Self-sabotage can happen in any relationship, so pay close attention to signs you are damaging them for the long-term. A failed transaction on your website or poor customer service for a return can be enough to lose all the brand love you’ve accrued over time.

It’s inevitable that tests – your brand’s personal Casa Amor – will present themselves and customers will stray occasionally. Sometimes a reminder of the benefits of staying loyal in the form of added value via content, advice, freebies, discounts or other exclusives can keep you on their A-list.

If anything, Love Island teaches us what not to do in any relationship. But as we head into 2023 and the board calls for quick wins, marketers would be wise to remind them of the importance of long-term thinking over investing in new customers who may never return.

For us true Love Island believers, we need to be more Tommy Fury, less Adam Collard.

Mike Fantis is managing partner and vice-president of DAC Group UK

Print Friendly