Kellogg World Alumni Magazine, Winter 2001Kellogg School of Management
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Andre Crump
, '91
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Alumni Profile: Andre Crump, '91

Dating 101
When it comes to romance, Andre K. Crump '91 means business

  Andre Crump '91
  Andre Crump '91 knows what your romantic life needs — a marketing plan.
Since graduating from Kellogg, Andre K. Crump '91 has enjoyed a successful marketing career, working for companies like Sun and Apple, and most recently as a self-employed IT consultant.

But lately he's developed a successful sideline in consulting of a different sort: dispensing dating advice to the unlucky in love. His recent book, Everything I Know About Dating I Learned in Business School, attempts to sort out the complexities of dating through the application of basic business principles. The results are surprisingly astute and often hilarious.

"I wanted [the book] to be fun and tongue-in-cheek, but also make some good solid points," Crump says. The result reads like a biz textbook on lithium, deftly combining sound analysis with zany anecdotes. If only all business school reading were this entertaining.

The idea for the book sprang from a social event in 1996. Crump and three friends - two other Kellogg School grads (Sancha Huang '91 and Stephanie Green Crump '91, now Crump's wife) and one University of Michigan grad - were talking about a love-lorn mutual friend who needed, to be blunt, a makeover.

"We said, 'If she had better packaging, she'd be much more effective.' And from that came the realization that a lot of the advice we were giving could be compared to business principles like packaging, product positioning, advertising and even negotiation."

That initial rap session provided the underpinnings of the book, which Crump wrote a few chapters at a time over a three-year period.

The chapter headings would be familiar to any MBA. In "Competitive Advantage," Crump encourages readers to do a "SWOT" analysis to discover their most appealing features and capitalize on them.

Under the heading "Advertising," Crump points out the importance of utilizing pets in ones "ad campaign": "You take that dog out for one hour a day at least twice a week, and you've got a new dating prospect every seven days."
"Finances and Promotions" includes "investment tips" (maintaining perception of your stock's value by keeping your shoes polished and doing a return-on-investment analysis after dates).

Crump says the most common dating mistake is bad product positioning. If you've ever let a friend set you up on a blind date and afterward wondered, "What must my friend think of me?" you're probably guilty of it too. His advice is to use social situations to conduct "market research" and find out what your target market is. Then tailor your product to satisfy that demand.

Since the book came out in May, it has earned praise from business and consumer publications from as far away as the United Kingdom. The book was also featured on the Sept. 4 program of "Marketplace" produced by National Public Radio. Its widespread appeal is due not just to its wit, but also to the universality of the tried-and-true business principles that provide the foundation for Crump's advice. In a world where social norms and gender politics are in constant flux, it's nice to have something you can count on.

Crump notes that his next book, a professional guide slated for publication next year, has a decidedly less romantic subtitle: "Effective, Proactive Product Marketing in a Technology-Driven Enterprise."

-- Chad Schlegel

©2001 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University