Jersey Shore is coming to an end. I’ve been dreading that moment for a while. I knew I’d have to fill the lowest common denominator entertainment void somehow. Thankfully, MTV was looking out for me. Catfish: The TV Show seeks to bring online relationships together, usually with “unexpected” and hilarious results. I already managed to validate my watching of the Jersey Shore by turning it into a marketing lesson, so here’s the Benchmark 5: Things Catfish: The TV Show teaches us about online marketing.

  1. People seek a personal connection. Most of the people featured on the show come off as trying to convince you that they’re due an inheritance from an African prince. Despite evidence pointing towards the online relationship not being what it appears, the person each episode features never wants to believe it. They’re just that desperate to feel a connection. This just shows the importance of personalization in your online marketing. Putting forth a bit of effort to show someone that you’re paying attention to their wants and needs will go a long way.
  2. You never know who’s on the other side of that screen. In the episodes I’ve seen, not one single time has the person they’re going to meet been who they said they were. Be careful what you’re assuming you know about your followers or subscribers.
  3. Dishonesty will catch up with you. It is an inevitability on the show that the host will talk the two parties into meeting face to face and the lying individual will be revealed for what they are. The lies always come to the surface. That’s why it’s so important to be honest and transparent in your online marketing. If something happens and you make a mistake, apologize, explain and move forward.
  4. Words are important. Many times after the initial shock of discovering their internet soul mate wasn’t who they said they were, the host reminds the person that the conversations and words exchanged were real (except for the one glaring omission). The epilogue usually informs the audience that the two people remain friends and still talk. It may be hard to remember that what you’re writing is finding real people on the other end. Try and picture the person reading your copy when you’re writing it. It my affect what you put on paper.
  5. It’s entertaining when it’s not happening to you. Honestly, this show is lowest of the low, in terms of entertainment. I laugh at these peoples’ foolishness, despite the fact that they’re having their worlds turned upside down. Sure, this probably makes me a slightly horrible person. It also goes to show you that a good “x amount of mistakes to avoid” post will likely do well on your site. Just be sure to work on your karma in other places to compensate…