It is no secret I’m getting married in two weeks and two days. Not that I’m counting. Yes, I am. I’m counting the hours at this point! I’m also finishing up my first semester of my graduate program. So, when I’m not managing the wedding planning, I’m managing the avalanche of writing, presentations and group work mounting on my to do list. It seems the past three months went by in a flash, but I know that I learned a ton. That’s an actual academic metric – I learnt a TON. And I noticed some overlap between the skills necessary to run a marketing campaign and be a successful wedding planner. It is almost uncanny! Let’s take a look, shall we?
1. Research: Extensive research goes into successful brand launches, campaigns and new market entry through a variety of methods: survey, listening, ethnography, and focus groups. Weddings are no different. Most brides gather information and opinions from their community, (whether they want it or not). They observe and participate in other weddings to gain insight into their own. And they gather all the data from every channel of possible.
2. Creative inspiration: This is the ideation phase in both marketing advertising and wedding plans. Here, marketers gather sources, think about what inspires them currently and how those trends and concepts can be transformed and built upon for something new. Brides do the same – scouring websites, blogs, twitter feeds and magazines, they create mood boards and Pintrest pages and aggregate the information to create a cohesive image.
Sometimes, creative disagreements happen, but a good team can work through most things. The people you work with matter. Who you marry matters more.
3. Storytelling: Advertisers will take all the information gathered and synthesize it into a story, a narrative to represent the brand and product. Great advertisers will drill down to shared human emotions to create a common experience for the viewers. Brides and grooms will do the same thing for their wedding, crafting an event that tells the story of their relationship, an event that so completely, and accurately reflects their true selves. Both marketers and couples will look at the tools available to tell their story. What mediums should they use? How will they communicate their story? Who is the audience?
4. Project management: Whoa. Project management is right. Most people (or just me) don’t have wedding planners, so the responsibility to manage the vision, vendors and execution falls solely on the shoulders of the couple. This includes managing and corralling vendors to create a shared vision, conducting test runs, or rehearsals, executing the communication strategy (invitations) and collecting the data, or responses prior to launch. Sounds just like marketing!
When things go over budget marketers take note. Weddings? Just put it on my tab.
5. Execution: The big payoff! Here, in both industries, everything comes together and fires on all cylinders. All the hard work, planning, design and inevitable re-work and create the reality of a vision that was enhanced by the story. Now, here is where the tracks differ – results definitely matter for marketers. We need to know how successful the campaign was based on traction, buzz, increase sales, etc. The bride and groom are lucky enough to just fully enjoy themselves and ignore the missteps or flaws. They just get to be happy, which is pretty freaking awesome.