Marketing Director increases revenue by 20% for leading online dating company
Marketing Moves CEO Mel Day is currently working with an exceptional Marketing Director who is looking to take the next step in their career. If you’d like to discuss their suitability for your company, you can contact Mel by any of the means below:
When a leading online dating company saw revenue fall by over £12million in just one year, their new Marketing Director stepped-up to reverse this business-critical decline.
About the Company
The company is one of the UK’s leading online dating businesses, founded in the 1990s and employing hundreds of people across the world – with millions of happy customers to date.
About the Marketing Director
This Marketing Director is an innovative, data-led, senior marketing leader with extensive experience in both local and regional roles. They have a strong track record in delivering distinctive marketing strategies for both challenger and market-leading brands, which drive customer growth and brand equity. What makes them unique is their desire to understand the target customer better than anyone else, and in doing so deliver tailored plans that have a transformative effect.
With the advent of the internet, several companies pioneered online dating in the mid-90s, driving growth for the whole dating category. After almost two decades of unmitigated success, dating apps appeared in the 2010s – significantly disrupting the market and causing the original innovators to look very old-fashioned.
Upon joining the company, the Marketing Director discovered a market leader that had grown complacent. The roadmap for growth optimised for profit rather than customer experience and the competition were a distraction that could be acquired if they got to be disruptive.
That was until app-based dating came along – and this new approach to dating shocked the online dating category. This inability to see what was coming was all the more galling given that the company had incubated one of the leading dating apps and funded its launch. Three months into their tenure the Marketing Director watched aghast as subscribers fled to the new alternatives. Revenues subsequently fell 25% year on year.
Steering the company back to full health was their overarching objective.
Dating apps offer a fun, friction-free way of dating and in the first few months after their launch singles all over the world were keen to try its free service. However over the same period the Marketing Director began to realise that it wasn’t working for one fundamental audience: women.
They requested face to face qualitative research so that they could understand the shortcomings of the service. This research, along with subsequent quantitative and qualitative research, led to a focus on female empowerment as the backbone of their rejuvenation strategy.
One insight stood out above all the others; women trusted their instincts regarding a partner only when they were face to face. In this respect the company’s current model was failing women as much as the new dating apps. It was clear that a different approach was needed.
The solution they created was to rapidly expand the events programme that had been tested in the six months prior to their arrival. This required investment in additional team members, a new agency resource to enable the delivery of a national events footprint, a completely new digital user experience and a new methodology to analyse and optimise activity.
In order to ensure success, the Marketing Director led a disparate team across Europe. This included marketing insights in Paris, events managers in the Nordics and Product & UX managers creating the new digital experience from London. To the extent that almost every department played a role in the successful delivery of the project.
In year one, new teams were created at HQ to support the events expansion and the comms team briefed agencies to deliver strong marketing campaigns to support the new message – whilst customer care were on hand to support customers if anything went wrong. Overall, this project touched nearly every person in the UK and many more from afar.
In year two, the programme culminated in the delivery of over 600 events – making the company one of the largest event organisers in the UK. The programme ranged from free get-togethers in local pubs to paid events like power-boating, walking tours and ski holidays. The programme was such a success that it expanded from being solely a value-add to an incremental revenue stream with its own P+L.
The Marketing Director’s approach was to focus on the customer to understand their needs and uncover which were no longer being met. The strategy built off the back of this insight worked because it was truly empathetic of what women were telling the company would lead to a better dating experience. The insight was there if others had asked – it can only be assumed they didn’t.
The ultimate success achieved through the events programme was in encouraging singles to return to the website and then retain them as happy customers. In the year after the Marketing Director’s departure, the programme was cited as the key factor for joining amongst 32% of members and was similarly a key reason for staying for 21% of the member base.
The success was not solely the result of creating an events programme. The real accelerant was in making the programme the centrepiece of above the line advertising, PR communications and social media campaigns. The adverts created over this period that focused on events delivered a higher conversion rate than those presenting an alternative message, ranging from 12-38% depending on the media in which they ran.
Bottom line the success of the events programme was its contribution to the restoration of annual revenue to £45m. Whilst other initiatives developed by the Marketing Director such as the new brand proposition, and improvements in media efficiency, also contributed to this success, the events programme was the key tent pole.
Overall this project took two years to reach its nadir, with key phases within that period of gathering insight, planning and experimenting to create a playbook for the events programme.
They are an outstanding marketing expert – extremely fit if it comes to tools and methods. An exceptional analytical thinker, their management style is modern – they can lead, inspire and improve their team. I was impressed by their focused approach, crystal clear view on complex issues and outstanding efficient problem-solving skills. Always keen to learn and improve and not shy to ask the right questions at the right time. Skilled strategist who is still able to work hands-on. On top, cooperative, friendly character and it’s fun to work with them!
– Managing Director
They have vision, great ideas, and more importantly, knows how to pull the right strings to bring them to life. Give them lots of space to be creative and you will be rewarded with tangible results. They are flexible, innovative and great fun to work with.
– Global Head of Digital Marketing
To discuss in confidence how Mel and Marketing Moves can support your organisation’s growth, please contact Melvin by any of the means below.