In the new world of making a name for yourself, one of the most important characteristics of human culture has begun to be lost. Love, relationships, marriage, etc. have all begun to be swallowed by the notion that in order to be successful in this world, your full attention, time, and money must be put into your career. Before the 20th century, life was simple and universal. Men “brought home the bacon” while women stayed at home washing dishes, cleaning the house, raising children, and cooking meals. Most married a stayed married.
Divorce was highly frowned upon and therefore never happened. However in the turn of the century, the age of technology and equal rights activists have brought a large change in the way our society is run today. Nearly half of all marriages now end in divorce and very few last more than four years. Not all of this is due to the selfishness and desire to stray from monogamy as most would think. Much of it has to do with the fact that people are so consumed with being all they can be and not putting in the time required to have that special connection with another human.
Harmony was created to provide a way for members of society to easily meet potential significant others and “date” over the internet while not sacrificing time in their workplace. The initial response of the public was wary. People felt embarrassed that they had to use technology to find that special someone rather than go out and do it on their own. However, soon the site began to catch on. eHarmony’s marketing technique focused on finding marriage rather than relationships and advertised other users who had great success with the site.
The success stories proved that eHarmony was the top site for finding long-term, committed relationships and marriages. Other sites, such as Match and Yahoo Personal, established themselves as successful dating sites however both lacked the number of successful marriages. To compete with eHarmony, Match introduced Chemistry, which mimicked eHarmony and was focused on producing marriages. Also in response to the growth of eHarmony, Yahoo Personal introduced a Premier option which also was focused on being more personal in the hope to produce more marriages.
Now the central problem for eHarmony has begun. eHarmony established itself as the leading matchmaking company but with competitors threatening to take market share, the company needed to find a way to preserve its reputation and remain the top matchmaking website for long term relationships. Industry Environment Beginning with Internal Rivalry, eHarmony faced a lot of competition within the industry. The most notable competition rested in pricing. There were hundreds of dating sites on the web pertaining to many different types of people.
Some were broad and inviting for everyone, others specific to only a certain demographic whether it be race, religion, and/or even marital status. Along with these dating sites, were social networking sites but these proved to not generate much competition. Some sites had membership fees while others were free. The free sites were generally not as well run and were not successful in creating long standing relationships. However the fact that they were free forced membership sites such as Match and eHarmony to bring down the price of their subscription fees.
With hundreds of matchmaking sites on the web, one would think that it would be an easy industry to enter. However, each year approximately 850 different sites attempted to join the industry and quickly failed or failed to ever gain a profit. eHarmony, Match, and Yahoo Personal had made names for themselves and it was going to be very difficult to gain market share without a lot of capital, advertising, and marketing. Going along with new entrants, there were also very few substitutes in the industry.
Harmony established itself as the leading long-term Matchmaker and only Yahoo Personal and Match had the resources to compete. Within eHarmony, supplier power was relatively low. The company grew to only 230 employees and half of which worked in customer service. The studies and surveys done by the company were simple and only involved researching couples. Therefore supplier costs were low and substitutes were readily available. On the flip side, Buyer power became very high for eHarmony.
Harmony offered a service to ameliorate dating and have a better chance at finding that “special someone”. Consumers saw confidence in that by joining eHarmony they would quickly and easily find someone they could marry. Strategy in the Environment eHarmony’s strategy worked out very well for its targeted customers. The matchmaking industry is very difficult to cover because there are so many different cliques within it. How do you create a site that satisfies the wants and needs of every individual looking for love? You can’t.
Sexuality, race, religion, personality, monogamy, long term, short term, family, age, and appearance are just a fraction of the characteristics needed to be considered for an online dating site. eHarmony focused its strategy on what it felt would be the largest group of buyers without taking on every single characteristic that would go into a relationship. Heterosexuals looking for a long-term relationship leading to marriage are the buyers eHarmony is looking for.
The personality profile and guided communication were the backbone of eHarmony and were relied on most to matching singles together. Harmony felt that these tests and strategy would only apply to this demographic so many applicants to the site were denied for various reasons such as homosexuality, being married, and having more than three divorces. Many felt that eHarmony was discriminating against these certain people however with all the research eHarmony had done, the same amount of research would need to be completed for all other demographics and could potentially harm the idea that eHarmony was a site to find marriage not a site to find an affair.
However, new competitors, like Chemistry, used this to their advantage by advertising eHarmony’s rejections and saying that they were 100% accepting. eHarmony had no response to this but instead should continue to defend its position as the leading matchmaking company for long-term relationships. As long as it stays on top, it can retain its customer loyalty and therefore prevent Chemistry from gaining much market share. eHarmony will also likely expand into new countries to drive costumer growth and if it does so quickly it can gain popularity before its competitors who will likely do the same thing.
Courtney from Study Moose
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