24th Nov 09 – In these days of Twitter, Facebook, Delicious etal it’s easy to fall into the trap that all you have to do, is attract the web savvy 18 – 24 year old. The problem with this group is the age old one, they have no money and they are brilliant and finding ways of getting things for free.
Most of the cool, buzzy places on the web are much written about and lauded as the brave new world; however none of them make any money.
In the pre internet world this usually revolved around getting free drinks, my girlfriend of that time was a master (or mistress) of getting free drinks by flirting with older guys at a bar and coming back with cocktails for two when we were broke.
In the dating industry some of the white label providers have adopted the Twitter look and feel to attract the web savvy marketer and have an office full of pretty young things, who presumably spend their weekends extracting free drinks out of guys my age who are gullible enough to think that they are genuinely interested in them.
That my friends, fun though it is, isn’t the target market for the online dating industry. If you are running sites on dating factory and you take a look of at the payment statistic by age you will see that over 70% of payments come from the 35 to 50 year olds.
In the romantic dating world this is 50:50 men and women. Normally these are divorcees trying to find someone without going through the horror of going back onto the bars and club circuit, trying to “pull”.
In the casual world, it’s predominately married middle-aged men. Their wives are no longer interested as they have their children now. Pre-internet, these guys used to withdraw to their garden sheds with their collection of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath LP’s a case of beer and a porn magazine and wonder where it all went wrong.
These days the casual dating site is the virtual garden shed of choice, the contact they get on the site lets them feel wanted and desirable again. This doesn’t involve hanging out on street corners or buying mags from the top shelf.
Just plug your iPod in and bring up your 70’s or 80’s classics and lose yourself online in email and chat with attainable desirable and more importantly loose women for the evening.
So when targeting your marketing spend for a dating site, think not of where to tap into the Twitter generation but more where to find the late 30’s to early 50’s, if you achieve that you will find your conversions of free members to paid going through the roof.
Mark Harrison – VP Sales