This document is authorized for use only by KYLE MATTICE in MGT 509 Spring 2015-1 taught by Keith Yurgosky, University of Scranton from March 2015 to August 2015.

This document is authorized for use only by KYLE MATTICE in MGT 509 Spring 2015-1 taught by Keith Yurgosky, University of Scranton from March 2015 to August 2015.
For the exclusive use of K. MATTICE, 2015.
709-424
eHarmony
The results of this integrated system were astounding. eHarmony commissioned a study,
conducted by Harris Interactive between August 2004 and August 2005. The study found that on
average, 90 eHarmony members married every day in the United States as a result of being matched
on eHarmony.33 A follow-up study in 2007 found that on average, 236 eHarmony members marry
every day in the United States as a result of being matched on eHarmony, representing a stunning 2%
of marriages in America.34
Marketing
To support growth in its membership base, eHarmony invested substantial resources into
marketing. The company aired its first radio commercials in 2002, with TV spots following in June
2003. Soon thereafter eHarmony stumbled on a very successful campaign, which paid for itself in
increased subscriptions within a week! It featured testimonials from happy couples who had found
love through eHarmony, in short upbeat segments. A senior marketing team member believed that
the commercials clearly communicated that “eHarmony is about serious relationships and helping
people find lasting love. Nothing could convey this more authentically than the couples. A lot of our
early growth came from bringing people into the category who previously wouldn’t have considered
online dating, because it seemed too sleazy, too casual.” Although there were at least 100 different
executions of the campaign, the couple was always placed against a white background and
accompanied by Natalie Cole’s “This Will Be” song. The spots often mentioned the Personality
Profile, the 29 dimensions of compatibility, and automatic matching. Warren, a “wise, experienced
doctor,” was also featured prominently in the ads, although it was never explained that he was a
psychologist.
In 2007, the company was considering adjusting its four year old signature campaign to
appeal to those interested who have so far shied away from eHarmony’s service. The new campaign
featured spots focused on one couple, shot in their real environment in a documentary style,
highlighting that couples love story. Any changes to eHarmony’s successful marketing formula had
to be introduced with care; the company had earlier experimented with telling the story of lonely
individuals who were afraid that they would never meet anyone, followed by a happy conclusion.
These commercials backfired, because “the initial ten seconds spent recounting the ‘problem’ just
flared up anxiety in people and dampened our response rates… so we went back to focusing on the
end benefit,” explained a team member.
The successful advertising formula made eHarmony one of the few online companies that made
offline marketing work and pay for itself. But with marketing expenses reaching as much as $80
million per year, firm profitability depended on efficient customer acquisition. eHarmony was
extremely judicious in its use of advertising dollars, avoiding any pure brand-building activities and
focusing on direct-response marketing. The marketing team worked only with advertising and media
buying agencies, “who really understood direct-response advertising… This means they are
incredibly diligent about buying media at lower rates – both by locking in good ‘upfront’ deals and
searching for last-minute remnant inventory.” As a result, eHarmony advertised only on national
cable networks and avoided broadcast television, where prices where higher because local stations
allowed for greater targetability than national cable. Match, eHarmony’s close competitor, used
broadcast TV and aired its commercials during primetime shows, paying $20 to $30 per thousand
impressions—at least four times more than cable TV prices.
With three-quarters of the marketing budget spent on TV and radio, eHarmony spent the
remainder on online marketing, including paid Internet search and banner ads. The latter had high
visibility and got decent click-through rates, but the conversion rates were low, which made banner
search more expensive than paid search in terms of customer acquisition.