Think as a Bride, Do as a Wedding Planner
Lately I've been loving wedding websites and magazines. Their visual layouts, detail-oriented descriptions, how-to sections and user-friendly tools make wedding planning not only easier, but more strategic. Their approach to gathering ideas and explaining outcomes is akin to strategic planning in the marketing industry. How detail-oriented brides and wedding planners approach weddings provides lessons for strategists in any industry.
By Sara Weiner, Associate Director
Wedding planning is quite a process, but brides have a ton of resources at their disposal wedding planners, fellow brides, websites and magazines. Often it is recommended to brides that they use these resources as idea-gatherers. Brides are instructed to clip magazines, save pictures and take notes on things that have come before, both things they like and things they don't like. Much like marketers, brides are always trying to outdo one another, and yet often they get their best ideas by seeing what others have done before. Two wedding websites that have really brought this approach to life for me are projectwedding.com
. They are so user friendly and idea generating that I can't keep myself off of them. Their warehouses of ideas and pictures, all accessible through search and filter options, make brainstorming superbly easy. As easy as it is to find things I like, likewise I can say, "I hate that" or "that would never work with my wedding."
This approach to wedding planning reminds me of the way marketers approach strategy and campaign development. We often start by combing the Web for good ideas and things that have worked. Mood boards might be developed as a starting point for tone and feel. But what may be missing for marketers that the wedding industry has capitalized on are databases of ideas, campaigns, assets, color palettes and photos, all in easy-to-navigate sites and monthly magazines. Another thing the wedding industry does well is hosting open houses where vendors convene and create faux weddings-people can walk around and see what they like and get ideas.
Implications and Action Items
Formalizing idea gathering in the same manner as the wedding industry might help marketers brainstorm and ideate. Some ways to do this are:
- Spend time looking: Each week or month, regardless of your position as a marketer, comb the medium of your choice for ideas, taking note of things you like and dislike.
- Review existing material: Utilize sites such as adverlicious.com, adage.com, creativity-online.com and others that host assets from great marketing campaigns in order to jump-start thinking.
- Keep your enemies close: Use competitive monitoring tools to keep an eye on competitive campaigns, offline and online, to continually evaluate ways to differentiate.
- Save, save, delete: When gathering things you like, save them all in one place and over time return to the pile and remove items that don't spark ideas anymore or that no longer fit with the "theme" of a product or campaign.
- Be like your mom: Every time you see a marketing element you don't like, think about what you would have done differently, and maybe even re-execute it your way.
- Be creative: Take a stab at creating a campaign for your favorite or even a fake brand; agencies can take this further by holding event-like open houses for new and existing clients to see the work.