For as long as I can remember, my favorite movie has been Wedding Crashers. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s romantic, it makes you believe in love.
Not only did I love this movie because of the listed reasons, but weddings in general are an absolute blast. Weddings bring people together, everyone is drinking and dancing, and listening to speeches about love and admiration. It’s just a beautiful thing. Anyway, this weekend I attended a wedding of a “fake cousin” and it was an absolutely wonderful event. I don’t have social media on my phone (except for Twitter) but I do check Instagram on my iPad. I noticed that the hashtag in all of the photos that I was tagged in was #dontchaGano. I understood the pun pretty quickly and had a good chuckle, but then it made me think about the wedding industry. The Wedding Planning industry in the United States has $1 billion in revenues. This was wild to me and sparked this blog post and how the industry has been utilizing social media and digital business.
After some research, I found that wedding planners are huge on analytics to target customers just like other businesses we’ve discussed in class. One luxury wedding planner, Kaleigh Wiese, uses three main things to find her target audience. Research the keywords and hashtags wedding planners use when searching for inspiration. Explore relevant search terms that are getting more volume, then capitalize on those concepts in Pinterest content before they reach peak popularity by using Promoted Pins. Use google analytics to identify where the most traffic is coming from and focus paid campaigns on those geographic regions. She additionally admitted that she tried to tag as many vendors as possible on Instagram posts in order to increase her network effect on social media.
Another planner used digital business and social media to help couples plan destination weddings. Jennifer Stein, one of the co-founders was planning her own destination wedding and found little to no content on the internet for advice on how to plan this travel wedding/honeymoon. She’s quoted saying “We do our best to provide partner products, inspiration, and content that will help (couples) with that process and, in the end, make it fun and stress-free.” Her use of marketing dollars in Instagram and Pinterest put her ahead of the curve with a niche target in the wedding industry. This use of strategic planning and early adoption helped to increase internet traffic to her site. In fact, her magazine/website Destination I Do, has gotten so large that it was turned into a TV show.
The information on this industry absolutely shocked me (probably because I’m not planning my own wedding anytime soon). It was really interesting to see how the most successful vendors and planners were the early adopters of the digital business marketing campaigns. With nearly every person on their phone all the time, it does make sense though to target the mobile interface. While people are looking through Pinterest or Instagram for wedding inspiration, an ad can pop-up anywhere at anytime and create revenue for said vendor.
However, the first click/interaction/payment doesn’t mean that the business will grow. The concept of a wedding is that you’ll only have one, so how does the marketing campaign for the vendors continue to grow? Relationships and referrals. I didn’t know how many parts of a wedding there are to plan (flowers, caterers, band/DJ, table cloths). It was surprising to me that most people use a different vendor for different pieces of the wedding instead of just having one “do everything” vendor. After research into the wedding planners themselves I saw that they tend to have their own list of referrals. The planner tends to have three to four suggestions of vendors for each part, but the bride and groom can have their own preferences as well. That’s the key to all of this. The social media interaction with the bride/groom getting to the wedding planners, and then growing their network effect.
After doing the research for this blog I discussed it with my soon to be sister-in-law which opened up a can of worms I was not ready for. It was about a two hour conversation about the wedding but the gist was, my research was spot on. So if you’re a romantic like me, and you love that moment when Shout by the Isley Brothers comes over the mic, maybe look into a future in the wedding planning business.
PS – Sorry this blog is late (I blame my brother’s fiance)