The Cuddle Factor: Sex Sells but Cuddling Cultivates

By BKV in Direct Marketing on June 1st, 2011

So, we’re all familiar with the phrase "sex sells.” But does it really? After a conversation with my twenty-something, younger brother, I’m not so sure sex even sells "sex” – but apparently cuddling does. A little concept that may have you rethinking your marketing plans.

*** A word of warning – this post discusses the sensitive (pun absolutely intended) topic of sex. If this is a topic you’d rather not read about, please check out one of my more politically correct blog entries. ***

Face Slappery

My brother is your average, fun-loving college guy. Beer, books and babes drive most of his life decisions, so I rarely look to him for marketing advice. But when a recent conversation turned to dating in college, little did I know he was about to educate me.

"Man, it’s tough,” he said.

"Oh really?” I asked.

"Yeah bro, you’ve totally gotta have mad game to get a chick these days,” he replied.

So if you’re anything like me, at this point, you’re a little curious about this "mad game” a guy has to have to succeed with these "chicks.” Well, I have to admit I was surprised to hear my brother’s thoughts on the subject.

As he tells it, "So get this – even if a girl really likes you, you can’t just go up to her and say, ‘Hey do you want to [sleep with] me?’ No you have to be like, ‘You’re really nice, would you like to maybe go cuddle, or something?’ And when you’re cuddling, THEN you ask for it!”

After a very hearty laugh at the expense of his absurd shamelessness, I thought about what he was saying and realized he might be onto something.



Let’s break it down little brother style. You are single, in college and ask 20 people with whom you share a strong mutual-attraction, "Would you like to [sleep with] me right now?” Now say that 2 reply "yes” and 18 say "no thanks” (either verbally or through some form of slappery.) That’s not too terribly shabby – 10% said yes with very little effort.

But now let’s say you tried my little brother’s technique and instead ask "Would you like to go cuddle right now?” And let’s say 10 now reply "yes” and 10 say "no thanks.” Of those 10 who answered "yes” to cuddling, let’s say 5 of those will go "all the way” upon a pleasant cuddling experience. Now we’re up to 25% success rate and a 150% lift in "conversions.”

Is it worth the extra effort? In my brother’s eyes (and maybe your CEO’s) the resounding answer is yes.


Some direct marketers make the mistake of always going straight for the jugular and demanding the sale as soon as a potential customer identifies him or herself: "Oh you’re interested in what I sell? BUY NOW!” And truth be told, that tactic can work. But as good direct marketers, we also look to understand our audiences and test in more sophisticated approaches: "Oh you’re interested? Can I tell you a little more about what I sell? Great!"

This is a tactic we commonly use when marketing purchases that are expensive and/or have long sales cycles. Instead of leading with "buy now,” we incent potential customers to request an information kit about the product in order to get them in the lead funnel.

But there are other scenarios where this concept of lead cultivation is useful yet often overlooked.


For instance, recently we were helping run a Facebook ad campaign for a Business-to-Consumer client looking to drive sales. They had run Facebook ads in the past – targeted to users based on demographics and psychographics – but with very little return on their investment. But did this mean Facebook was unable to efficiently drive sales for them? Not at all.

Rather than just running another ad campaign driving Facebook users to purchase their product online, we proposed a new test. We asked the targeted Facebook users to "like” the brand’s Facebook page to learn more. The user could "like” the brand within the ad unit or click through the ad to visit the brand’s Facebook page. If the user clicked through the ad, he or she would land on a tab within their Facebook page containing information on the product and two calls-to-action, one to "like” the page in order to stay up-to-date on the brand, and a second CTA to purchase the product. But the marketing didn’t stop there; we then ran Facebook ads to drive sales, targeting only Facebook users who’d "liked” the brand’s Facebook page.

The result? The two-step process drove more sales per dollars spent than the previous year’s efforts, while simultaneously building a fan-base of prospective customers who can be marketed to throughout the year.


So we’re at the end of this post and you’re asking, "What the hell does this all mean?” (Or you may be asking if I’m a convicted felon – I am not.) Well, the main takeaway is that the direct and immediate sale is quite valuable. But if the ROI stops short, test cultivating your leads. Done correctly, you too may see a lift.


Alleged incidents involving family members and/or clients are for illustrative purposes only and do not necessarily pertain in any way to actual people or events. Gotta love fine print.

So what do you think? What are your (marketing) experiences with the "Cuddle Factor”? Do you feel using lead cultivation can efficiently increase conversions or do you feel the direct path is always the smartest (and sexiest) way to go? Leave your comments below… Oh and please let us know if you’d like information on how BKV can help drive more leads for your company.

Photo Source: Vermin, Inc.