It is vital for brands to develop intimate relationships with customers, to ensure that they flock to purchase their products, time and time again. But what exactly is ‘intimacy’, and how does it affect digital marketing? One of the best definitions of intimacy can be found in the work of Reis and Shaver, two psychologists who published a paper in 1988 on their ‘model of intimacy’.
According to Reis and Shaver, ‘intimacy’ consists of two dimensions ‘self-disclosure’ and ‘responsiveness’. In their ‘model of intimacy’, the psychologists state that the intimacy between two people grows as the responsiveness and self-disclosure contained in their communication, continuously increases. As two people become more intimate, they give each other more information about themselves, and become more responsive to one another’s needs.
Anyone who has been in a romantic relationship should be familiar with this model. It is simple, the more you get to know someone, the more responsive you become. If this ‘model of intimacy’ is applied to the process of building relationships with customers, it becomes obvious why certain digital marketing avenues, like Facebook, have surged in popularity. Traditional forms of marketing like television commercials or radio spots, are non-responsive and do not require the audience to give out any information.
On the contrary, Facebook and other social networking platforms are both responsive and require self-disclosure from both parties. When you add someone as a friend on Facebook, you instantly get information about the personal life of that person. This is why the ‘Like’ button on Facebook business pages, was considered useful by digital marketing professionals. It provides a strong less-revelatory link between customers and the digital marketing brand.
Digital marketing specialists should map out different forms of communication, with the amount of intimacy that each form involves. The high-intimacy digital marketing channels should be used to keep customers who already ‘like’ you engaged, while the low-intimacy channels should be used to attract new customers. This will help you avoid digital marketing situations of moving too fast on the intimacy scale, such as asking new website visitors to fill in an online form.
In the future, digital marketing specialists will have to pay attention to user privacy and how they serve ads to customers. They should learn to respond to customer needs when it comes to intimacy, or risk getting slapped away.
Qudos Digital is a leading digital marketing consultancy, and can be contacted on 0845 388 5583 or email@example.com.