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Marketing Ideas for Wedding Professionals...From a Wedding Professional!!!

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NACE Memphis October Meeting

I had a great opportunity to speak last night to a group of local NACE members about marketing.  The title of my presentation was “5 things that might not be in your marketing plan and what to do about it.”  See, I had conducted a survey of local wedding and event industry professionals and found that there were some common areas where people were missing things that could be helpful, if not crucial to a good marketing plan.  Here’s a recap of the presentation:

I started with my definition of marketing:  the process by which VALUE is created, communicated, and delivered.  Then I talked about just how important it is to make marketing decisions based on how that decision will effect the perception of value that our prospects have.  Value is relative…people see things differently and value different things.  Sometimes, it’s not all about money but about the cost of their time, energy, or attention.  I told my Wendy’s story and how they went about creating value.

The first 3 of my 5 points were about important lenses through which we see and make marketing decisions.  A lens helps us see something more clearly, brings things into focus, helps capture an image or a situation better than without it.  These marketing lenses are key to good decision making.

The first lens is empathy…the process that we go through to truly understand our customers and prospects so we can better serve them and meet their needs.  I’ve written a little more about empathy here.  I did also admit to pretending to be a bride a few times…I didn’t wear the dress but I have taken a lot of time to imagine just what it would be like to be in their situation.

The second lens is engagement.  I quoted Scott Straten, author of Unmarketing.  Here’s the quote:  “Every point of contact is a point of engagement.”  Every point of contact is an opportunity for us to interact and increase a person’s perception of our brand, product, or service.   Positive engagement opportunities are not just face to face interactions, but also take place on social media platforms, and through other communication situations like through email, over the phone, and interaction with our website.  So, we should consider these opportunities and really thing through how we can put our best foot forward.

The third lens is people.  We should consider what impact our business choices and marketing efforts have on people.  What people?  Everyone.  I start writing a marketing plan by identifying the people who are important to my business.  My clients (past and present), my prospects and those who influence their buying decisions.  I also think about my employees, my vendors, my friends in the industry, and my competitors.  Building and fostering real relationships with these people will help drive not only marketing but overall business success.  Making a plan for how you will strategically manage these relationships is the basis for any other marketing decisions you’ll make.

Now that we’re done with the lenses, I talked about a couple other points two.  Number 4 of 5 was using photos and videos in marketing.  I can’t tell you how many times I had wished in the past that I had photos of some of my best work….but I was too busy running around, putting things together and doing my job as a caterer.  Technology has made things easier for us.  Our phones are our cameras and we always have them on us at all times…even when we sleep!  Deliberately developing a strategy for how we obtain and use photos is key to keeping our  marketing fresh and effective.  I talked about a few key tools such as Instagram, Flickr, and Pinterest and how they can help…definitely a few topics for future posts.  I also talked about how we should have a good relationship with the photographers at our event so that they will let us use their pictures to not only promote our food, facility, floral work, etc. but to promote them as well.  It’s a win-win.  What’s your plan with those pictures when you finally get them…do you post them on facebook, blog them, put them on your website, or just put the cd in your marketing to-do pile?

Video was part of number 4.  YouTube is the second largest search engine, so I’ve read.  Having videos up there is another way to get found online. But more than that, videos help us say things in unique and effective ways.  Here are a few ideas for videos you can make that I put out there:

  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Questions you think a buyer should ask
  • How-To or Do-It-Yourself
  • Demonstration Videos
  • Behind the Scenes Videos
  • Time Lapse Videos
  • An Introduction
  • Background on your business
  • Introduction of Employees
  • Interviews with clients and other vendors.

The 5th point I spoke about was Mobile.  I talked about the importance of mobile websites.  24% of visitors to the Draper’s website, in September, came to us on their  mobile device.  Thank goodness we had a mobile website set up for those 916 folks.  I’ve read that 80% of mobile visitors will leave your site if it’s not optimized for mobile use.  Finally, I talked about QR codes and how the can be used (and also how they shouldn’t be used). I actually just recently wrote about them here.

I think everything turned out great.  If you were there, was there something I missed?  Was there something else you wanted to hear?  Let’s talk about it!

Oh, and that picture up top there…that was an amazing S’more Cheesecake that we had for dessert.