EHarmony to make marketing more UK-focused

EHarmony is to ramp up its UK marketing focus, three years after first launching in the territory, as it looks to overtake Match to become the market leading paid-for dating service.

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EHarmony’s marketing strategy is set to become more UK-specific, including a more localised approach for what is traditionally the industry’s biggest seasonal campaign push around the New Year.

UK country manager Ottokar Rosenberger says eHarmony will focus on what makes UK singles “really tick” and communicate the brand in a “truly local way”.

“The global dynamics of dating are really quite different and the UK is moving more into long term relationships overall, partly due to the economy, because moving in together saves you money, for example,” he says.

EHarmony has switched creative agencies in the UK from US-based Donat/Wald + Haque to Karmarama, Marketing Week Engage Awards’ agency of the year winner, to develop UK-specific campaigns. Karmarama will be charged with eHarmony’s creative direction and execution of the brand in the UK and also Australia.

Rosenberger says eHarmony chose Karmarama because it feels the agency is an “entrepreneurial business” focused on challenger brands.

He adds: “They know how to connect different points of view in a competitive marketplace. They look after Nintendo and Costa, which are clearly up against the number one in their markets.”

EHarmony is currently the tenth most-visited dating site in the UK, with 120,000 unique visitors in September, according to comScore, although this compares the brand with free services. Its biggest paid-for competitor is Match, which attracted 698,000 unique visitors across its range of sites last month.

Rosenberger says that although eHarmony’s visitor numbers are far lower than its rivals, audience figures are not the company’s KPI.
“The goal for us is how good our service is…the faster people leave the site the happier I am. I think great word of mouth drives exponential growth, so the better we do the more people will join,” he says.

EHarmony in the US is largely remembered for its PR statistic that the site has created “5% of all new marriages” in the territory. Rosenberger says he would like the UK figure to be that eHarmony has halved the country’s separation rate.

“My personal mission that these couples [that meet on eHarmony] have twice as much likelihood to stay together,” he says.

Upcoming marketing campaigns will focus on educating potential users about the site’s focus on compatibility and long-term relationships, although creative will now centre around how singles use the site more than success couples.

Rosenberger says eHarmony is also making “some headway” into mobile for its marketing campaigns and overall user experience. He adds that the site is exploring the use of mobile for payment, location services and video calling.

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