A senior executive who has worked at the “dating” site Blender in Los Angeles since the company was founded in 2011, spoke at Hult recently about marketing planning based upon an understanding of customer needs. You and he talked afterwards about which consumer segments Blender was interested in,and he admitted the company was about to look into just that topic to evaluate options for a new strategy. The Blender executive you met knows a little about Hult. He’s looking to you as someone with whom to discuss marketing: someone who understands basic market segmentation and who can help him think about the potential values of alternative strategies. All the Blender executives have been discussing different strategic options, about which they and your contact have told you nothing, and about which you have no knowledge. They will not share user or financial data with you to prepare your email. Blender (Tbes understand that you may know nothing about its business, customers, or competitors in its market space. They also assume you have never used a dating site, and have no technical knowledge about how dating sites work “under the covers,” as it were. As background information, he gave you a set of links, interspersed among descriptions of the companies in the dating market and in a long set of references, all of which are contained in this document.
The executive asked you to submit a one-page email summary of your thinking and recommendations for how Blender can compete successfully with its rival. Tinder, a viral sensation. He has asked for your thoughts about measuring and improving customer segmentation and profitability. He wants to know what you recommend as ways to gather and analyze data for segmenting and calculating the profitability of potential Blender users.
Topics to cover
In your write-up, address the following topics. You DO NOT have to write about them in the order they appear below. It’s your email to construct as you wish.
Ways Blender could use the types of information it already gathers about its users to characterize and understand market segments One or two data-gathering or analytical changes Blender might consider to understand and monitor prospect and customer behavior so as to increase adoption, usage, and profitability. The general types of costs and benefits—not actual amounts—Blender would incur and might realize if it adopted the programs you recommend.
□ I’ve provided links to bacl<ground information about online dating sites, Blender, and its competitors in Section C of this document, “The setting,” and Section D, “Dating site background.” You should not look for critical information elsewhere to complete this assignment.
□ Limit your paper to no more than 1000 words (slightly over one 8.5″ x 11″ page of paper). Papers that run over 1000 words will receive a penalty of one grade level (e.g., A grade of “Pass” would be changed to Needs Improvement)
□ Since this is an email message, you don’t have to use or include academically correct footnotes, endnotes, reference URLs, or other citations that you probably wouldn’t include in real life.
□ If you include a criticalsuch as margin per user, include a brief inline citation (e.g.,
TechCrunch, 11.04.13) that I could verify later, if necessary. Do not include hyperlinks.
□ If you insert a passage from another document, make it clear somehow that it’s someone else’s work, and not your own, such as putting it in quotes, or saying something like “Marc Andreessen has pointed out that…” It’s okay to use short passages as data or to reinforce a point, but I want to see yod//” thin king, not someone else’s. Turnitin will review your paper for plagiarism when you submit it. I know how to interpret Turnitin results, and will not penalize you if you have made an effort to point out someone else’s work.
□ Do not provide any footnotes or URLs as “references” at the end of your email. If you insist on including them, I’ll assess a penalty of one grade level.
□ Text only. Don’t insert, include, attach, or link to illustrations, pictures, charts, graphs, tables, or audio or video files. If you include any of these, I’ll assess a penalty of one grade level.
□ Use correct grammar and spelling, not texting abbreviations, slang, or inappropriate language.
Capitalize proper nouns.
□ This assignment is to be entirely your own work. So, no physical or electronic collaboration of any kind with other students in any cohort of the class, including spell checking and grammar checking. If you want help with written English or with how to write this type of document, set up a session with the Academic Resource Center. They love to help on just this sort of project.
□ Submit your document via Turning on my Courses by the deadline the San Francisco deans designate.
□ PDF format. No other file formats accepted.
□ Use this file name, substituting your own name: MABIender_Last Name_First Name. pdf
□ I’ll use the same rubric on the Assignment page “Part 1: Segmentation proposal (Individual)” that I used to score the Twitter assignment for scoring this assignment.
Online dating sites
The online dating “marl<et” has grown and changed significantly since the beginning of the 21st Century. Many, many dating sites have come and gone, victims of flawed business models, management errors,changes in social and public tastes, and new technologies such as social media and ubiquitous mobile phones.
Sites like Match.com use Myers-Briggs-like technology to match customers using their profiles. e Harmony, has its own proprietary 400+ profile questionnaire. Both sit at the top of a heap of general dating sites in the U.S. But there are hundreds of sites appealing to members falling into specific demographic groups-age, religion, locale, sexual preference—or who have more esoteric tastes—ballet, beer, or Star Trek.Sites use some combination of four business models. Subscriptions.Match.com, e Harmony, and many other sites primarily use some form of user subscription, whether monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly. Freemium. OK Cupid (acquired by Match.com) and Plenty Of Fish offer free versions with limited access to some useful features. An upgrade to a subscription or a per-feature or per-use fee can unlock that access, e.g., increased prominence in on-site listings, anonymous browsing while seeing who reviews one’s profile, initiating contact with others on site, and messaging.Until 2015, Tinder did not charge any fee for its service (using a fifth business model: Norevenue.) However, it recently adopted the freemium model by introducing Tinder Plus, a monthly subscription service that allows users to remove ads, undo swipes, and search other locales. (“Tinder’s Survival without a Revenue-Based Business Model.” University of Miami Business Law Review (Nov 2015)
Sellinguser profiles and photos These articles provide some details about the business of dating sites.”5 Tips for Launching a Successful Online Dating Site.”Quickbooks.com (Oct 2011). Nothing earth shattering. Five common-sense marketing activities.”Cracking the Love Code: Whv Most Online Dating Sites Fail.”Tech Cocktail (Feb 2012) “Online dating: how devious companies make monev out of heartache.”Willard Foxton. The Telegraph. (Feb 2013). A gloomy list of ways some dating site operators “enhance” revenue.
Breaking out: Grinder and Tinder
One group that has not enthusiastically embraced Match.com or eHarmony, which seem to cater to users 30 years old or older, is Millennials. Although other sites such as OKCupid and PlentyOfFish have attempted to serve this group, results have been mixed. Sites also suffer from churn. As one person I interviewed while researching this assignment told me, “After you’ve seen almost everyone who comes close to meeting your criteria in a smaller site’s universe, you move on.”Two sites, however, have managed to create quite an unusual amount of buzz and may be able to attract enough users in their target groups to succeed financially.Grindr is a site and app targeted at gay men interested in hookups for casual sex. The Grindr app finds nearby prospects using the GPS capabilities of its users’ phones. Founded in 2009, it grew rapidly and claimed to have over 5 million active users in 192 countries in 2014. It uses a freemium model, with ad-free Grindr Xtra offering additional services for a monthly fee.