Case | HBS Case Collection | July 2008


by Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, Hanna Halaburda and Troy Smith


eHarmony's CEO needs to decide how to react to imitations of its business model, encroachment by competing models, and ascendance of free substitutes. The case provides four options to address these threats and asks students to choose one after they analyzed the company's strategy. The analysis begins with the understanding of value proposition, as derived from failures of substitutes. It proceeds to examine industry structure and important differences across its different niches. Students can then analyze the essence of a focused differentiation strategy and understand the importance of costly strategic trade-offs. They can also estimate the size of eHarmony's competitive advantage over two other competitors before articulating threats to sustainability, all of which will help them choose one of the four options.

Keywords: Business Model; Decision Choices and Conditions; Growth and Development Strategy; Industry Structures; Competitive Strategy; Competitive Advantage; Service Industry;


Piskorski, Mikolaj Jan, Hanna Halaburda, and Troy Smith. "eHarmony." Harvard Business School Case 709-424, July 2008.