1. A fresh approach to dating and matrimony

A fresh approach to dating and matrimony

In the longer term, survivors in either category would mirror the actual behaviour of their audiences. Reality checks are inevitable and some players would ride that better.

Published: April 25, 2017 4:28 AM
The young generation is surely experimenting in the lab of living and loving, and if dating apps could provide them ideal test conditions, it would be a ‘swipe right’ for both! (Reuters)

Dating and matrimony. Aren’t they both on the same spectrum? Doesn’t dating lead to matrimony? Or do they belong to two parallel worlds? There are no absolute answers available. Yet. In western markets, dating often acts as a prelude to marriage. However, marriage is a family decision in India and dating is a pariah that is not going to get parental consent in a hurry. Therefore, the trigger for using dating apps and matrimonial apps are rarely the same. Young people today operate more in a fluid state — shifting from one state of mind to another, more than moving from one stage of life to another. They are viewing ideas of marriage, children, career and family in a more flexible manner than previous generations. The boundary lines are beginning to blur a bit and perhaps that’s why matrimonial and dating platforms are coming closer to each other.

In the longer term, survivors in either category would mirror the actual behaviour of their audiences. Reality checks are inevitable and some players would ride that better. Duality is one such reality. A young profile may coexist in a matrimonial app and a dating app. No prizes for guessing where the user is going to have more fun and is more expectant of something ‘working out for her/him’.

Thus, what is still relevant is the relevance itself! Matrimonial apps fare better since they are a platform that facilitates people reach an important milestone of their life: getting married. The relevance for dating apps is not in becoming quasi-matrimonial but in becoming better at what they do.

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The answer is in how best they can create an environment for compatibility. It is a function of both the product itself and in how they communicate that product better. For instance, language and cultural diversity present complexities to deal with. Matrimonial apps address this through community segmentation. Dating apps could perhaps go with compatibility segmentation and those that already do that should ideally market it better. Dating itself could be casual. But dating apps that are actively trying to recruit beyond the uber-urban audience would do well to remind themselves that their users may be taking it more seriously than they want them to. The young generation is surely experimenting in the lab of living and loving, and if dating apps could provide them ideal test conditions, it would be a ‘swipe right’ for both!

The author, Antony Rajkumar is EVP, integrated strategy planning, Leo Burnett

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