How to Not Be Consumer First: Lessons from Tinder

Last week, the popular dating app, Tinder, rolled out its premium service, “Tinder Plus.” Many users were unhappy because the new features on Tinder Plus cost money and if you’re older, they are going to charge you more. Tinder is blatantly infusing ageism into their model and reminding older folks how bad dating can be. Tinder Plus is currently being offered at $4.99 to users that are 22 years old and up, $9.99 to users that are 26 years old and up, and $14.99 for the over 30 crowd. There is a lot of backlash from loyal users including the app’s rating dropping to 1 star in the App Store last week and many online boycotts and petitions popping up gaining signatures and support.

Tinder Plus has four features. 1. Passport (lets you change your location) 2. Rewind (lets you undo left swipes) 3. Dismiss Paid Ads (which will be rolling out soon) and 4. Unlimited Right Swipes (Liking Someone). Unfortunately, these features aren’t enough to justify the price. Many users look at Tinder as a game. In fact, when you match with someone it says “Send a Message” or “Keep Playing.” Well, Tinder just took the fun out of the app and it’s going to hurt them in the long run. Users can no longer swipe right until their hearts desire because the app now limits it unless you pay to upgrade. So people are now swiping with caution which is no fun.

Tinder Plus2Tinder Plus1

In todays, marketing world, you have to be consumer first in everything you do to succeed. Here are four lessons on how to be consumer first and avoid being a Tinder.

  1. Don’t Mess with What They Love

Tinder has become a phenomenon in a few short years with 1.6 billion swipes per day from users. People loved the game aspect. It had a model that worked and changed it too quickly. Instead of slowly integrating paid advertisements like Instagram, it introduced everything in one day. It was too much for users. Don’t mess with what your consumers love just for profits. We have to be consumer first which means comprising to meet our business objectives and pleasing our customers. They go hand in hand. Yes, we need to make money, but we can’t do that if we’re losing consumers.

  1. Listen to Your Consumers

The Tinder Plus backlash has been loud and swift. Unfortunately, Tinder is standing by their age pricing with non-consumer friendly statements about older adults willingness to pay more for the same services. Tinder is not listening to its consumers and is risking losing many of them. Phone apps come and go and only time will tell if Tinder will last with its new changes or if a new shiny dating app will reign supreme. Listen to why your consumers love your product, your business, and your services. Improve what they love, don’t take it away.

Tinder Out

  1. Learn from Your Competitors

Tinder is competing for screen time against apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Each of its competitors has introduced paid advertising for brands; some more successfully than others. Tinder did not learn from the mistakes of its peers. Users don’t like too many changes at once especially when it involves paid advertisements or anything to do with their money. Research the successes and failures of other brands before moving forward on a plan. Try not to duplicate their mistakes as your audiences are likely the same.

  1. Let Your Customers Define Your Brand

Tinder is trying to be a serious dating application like OkCupid,, or eHarmony. Unfortunately, its many users do not see it as a serious dating app. Sometimes, we have to let consumers define our brand and build from there. Tinder did not do that. Taco Bell finally realized many people only went there late at night after a night on the town. Taco Bell built a campaign about satisfying your late night craving and boosted sales. Letting customers define your brand can actually help a new business.

From the research phase, to planning, to execution of your marketing tactics, be consumer first. Remember your consumers’ wants and needs throughout the entire process to avoid being a Tinder. Consumers are more savvy and sophisticated than ever and we have to listen to what they have to say. It has become the first rule of marketing. Don’t be a rule breaker on this one.


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