In India, marriages are part of the roadmap of evolution. No matter how busy you may be, there will come a time when every remotely known human around you will look at your ‘single’ status with a lot of worry. In Cricketing terms, a marriage is like a batting powerplay taken between a range of 5 years, differing for the genders, each with its own vagaries of expected performance and real performance.
Given that marriages are for most part a fixed item on the roadmap, online matrimony businesses helped by connecting the disparate dots and aiding discovery of soul mates. Today, the landscape is changing. There’s more detail on profiles and their personal choices on social networks like Facebook, which partially solves the problem of discovery, though one is unlikely to find critical elements like astrology details and the likes.
So does some one pay a subscription at Bharatmatrimony or Shaadi just for the marginal astro information? Is it not time Matrimony services see that their subscription fee is paid for a host of services in the marriage space? Questions flood my mind as I get an email from Simplymarry.com if I still pay money for subscriptions at Matrimonial sites. It seems a valid question.
The amount I pay to unlock features to contact other members seems the economics of a model that’s probably yesteryear. But it is the main cash cow of how these businesses run. So how does an online matrimony business see beyond the obvious? Its interesting to note that when you register for a new Facebook account, there’s logic that discourages non real names and suggests you to keep information as authentic as to what you put on your passport. If Facebook takes the vision of being a Aadhar or a means of identity, then its easier to add information on personal details like astro charts and connect interesting people for some one like Facebook and build a online matrimony business killer. The question to ask is, whether Facebook can get into the matrimony space by focusing on more detail in profiles or Matrimony sites can change their model to a dating based network that aids matrimony. The latter is probably where I would like to think through, given the challenges are more here.
A marriage has a host of economics, surrounding it and one such little statistic that has emerged is the mushrooming of ‘Candid Photography’ in Indian Weddings, which focuses on moments rather than a rehearsed pose or quality rather than quantity. That is a small indicator of a little shift that’s engulfing Indian wedding markets. Online Marriage Portals need to move out of their walled garden approach as the reasons to subscribe to chat with members is slowly not going to be happening. The shift will happen with the last mile connectivity of doing everything that’s required for taking a relationship to the next level, which is by our Indian standards basically all events associated with a relationship given the myriad events we have before, during and after a wedding.
Maybe a Trip advisor or Justdial of sorts for marriage and event management companies, that can now help individuals not just discover a life partner but look at online help for organizing events associated with a relationship. The current engagement model that individuals have with a Shaadi.com or Bharat Matrimony is one time and it lasts for as long as the search for a life partner is.
The new model is their companion at every step of their life like a bank is having more touch points during your evolution as a person. Like organizing a quick function for a pre marriage ritual to finding cooks for a small engagement event to finding a reliable travel operator for your honeymoon. Maybe these matrimony companies can mine data and find out what combination of people have married and divorced and have an analytics system that can give recommendations on whom to contact. There could be a social layer to match a person’s posts and shares to their astrology and give out interesting tidbits of information about people to aid the matchmaking process.
These advanced projections can be charged, with money also coming from an affiliate system of referring the right set of vendors for an event for a customer. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? It’s a model with many possibilities for touch points, more volume but maybe lesser margins. More importantly I think its an idea that’s work in progress, but sooner or later paying to talk with someone cannot be the vision statement of a company that has been in the business of connecting people for the last decade. Maybe the paradigm shift is on its way, what do you think?