According to Desmond Morris, there are twelve stages, or steps, of intimacy for human-to-human interaction. And they must be followed in the correct sequence.
He codified them in the following order:
1. Eye to body
2. Eye to eye
3. Voice to voice
4. Hand to hand
5. Hand to shoulder
6. Hand to waist
7. Mouth to mouth/ Face to face
8. Hand to head
9. Hand to body
10. Mouth to body
11. Hand to your no-no square. (I paraphrased)
12. Adult expressions of love (paraphrased again)
While that list makes sense, the interesting part is this. Mr. Morris found that, at whichever step you’re currently on in a relationship, if you want to move up the sequence smoothly, you can get away with skipping one step. But you must never skip more than one. Leapfrogging over two steps puts you squarely in the realm of uncomfortable weirdo.
Skipping three steps is assault.
Go ahead. Imagine meeting someone for the first time. You could go from step 2, right to step 4 without much friction at all. But going from 2 straight to 5 is uncomfortable. And jumping from step 8 to 12 will land you in jail for a very long time.
What does this have to do with advertising?
Getting a customer for life has its own steps, or stages, of intimacy. If we were to compare it to the above table, and we could be so bold as to consider a lifetime customer stage 12 of the relationship, then the progression would look like this:
You’re advertising is where your prospective customer first meets you. This takes you up to stage 3 at best.
Stage 4 begins when they first come in contact with your company either by visiting your website, calling your number, or walking into your store.
Stage 6 is an initial purchase. A small commitment has been made.
Anything after stage 6 is larger or more frequent purchases, and as long as both parties are happy the relationship will continue to grow.
So, if you’d never put your hand on someone’s waist immediately after making eye contact, then why would you ask for the sale in your advertising?
And the answer is, you wouldn’t.
– Zac Smith, VC