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Your Vicious Competitors

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original photo by: glynnish


eHarmony

In the world of online dating, the sea of website options are endless, all promising the perfect love connection.  EHarmony has a massive following and a very expensive ad campaign- we are all educated about their philosophy that you are matched on multiple levels after taking what equates to a psych evaluation test.  The theory is that instead of lust matching, the site matches you with your soulmate.  The founder of eHarmony has publicly asserted that he believes that premarital sex clouds your judgment.

Chemistry

After putting all of these pieces together, a rival company called Chemistry.com has launched a print marketing and television campaign encouraging people who were rejected from eHarmony to come join their site, for people who don’t agree that premarital sex clouds your judgment to come hang out and swap photos.  Their theory is that you can take all the tests in the world, but if you show up and the date is an ugo, you’re not going to stay.

Smart Business

What appears from a non-insider to be a mud slinging contest is actually really smart business on both parts.  One company wears a halo and matches you with your future spouse while the other wears devil horns by appealing to the primal urges of non-commital dating.  Both succeed because they aren’t actually pandering to the same crowd, rather providing alternatives to each other.

Who Are You?

That said, it’s important to think about this- who are you in this scenario?  No, I’m not asking if you believe premarital sex clouds judgment or not, rather if you are the company founded on traditional grounds, or are you providing an alternative to your competitor?  Better yet, are you the company that’s neither, rather the company whining that you’re being attacked by the alternative to your business instead of taking advantage of their bashing? 

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Toby & Saide

    March 12, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    I’m sorry my judgement is clouded, I’ll have to read this again.

    Ahh, yes.

    I’m neither. I’m happy to compete with anyone, but there is no reason to get personal with it.

  2. Rocky VanBrimmer

    March 12, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    Seeing that Toby and Saide are in my direct market, and my judgement is not clouded…

    And for some reason, I would still enjoy meeting Toby for a cup of coffee or lucnh even. The date may be a dud, however I think Sadie could pay!

  3. Rocky VanBrimmer

    March 12, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    By the way, its after midnight. EyE kaNt TyPe oAr sEpLL.

  4. Ines

    March 12, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    It’s funny because when I was reading this, I wasn’t thinking who I was as the “type of company”, I was thinking of who my clients are and how to market to them. Whichever way you look at it, it goes back to who your audience is and who we are writing for as bloggers, and who we are marketing to whether the new and exiting web2.0 way or with traditional methods.

    I’m so enjoying the marketing aspect of our business- and thinking that every move we make will determine how you attract business. —–sorry to switch it around on you…..maybe my judgement is clouded as well.

  5. Ginger Wilcox

    March 12, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    I think I wear a halo and devil’s horns at the same time (and no I am not a whiner! 😮 )
    I think you can embrace change and provide a different alternative while still retaining some traditional elements. I don’t believe it is all or nothing.

  6. From Seth Godin, “One of the hardest things to do is invent a brand with no opposite. You don’t have an anchor to play against.”

  7. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    March 13, 2008 at 9:20 am

    Do you guys think Chemistry.com would be even a recognizable name if they weren’t the ANTI-eHarmony? I agree with Jeff that there’s nothing wrong with being the ANTI because with every product, there’s a segment that won’t want or like it, so why the heck not capitalize on that?

    I believe the company I work for is the Anti-1.0 model. 🙂 No Trillionaire Realtor book subscriptions, no “tell me buddyman, what would you do if I told you I could sell your home for 20% above your neighbors’?” cold calling, or smarmy tricks.

  8. Shailesh Ghimire

    March 13, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    I’m eHarmony – its the orgy promoted by Chemistry that got us into the credit mess…

  9. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    March 21, 2008 at 11:42 am

    @Shailesh- OMG that is tooooo funny!

    @Dawn- I had no idea, that’s insane! I think you’ve got a revolutionary idea, that “going to the park” thingy- wow, you should market that and make a billion dollars! 🙂 Thanks for coming over to Agent Genius, this world is WAY too small!!!

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Business Marketing

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.

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Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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