Monday’s WeddingWire World conference (previous recaps here and here) also featured presentations from certified professional speaker Patrick Henry, Amy Wilkins of Martha Stewart Weddings, and Kathryn Hamm of GayWeddings.com.
Patrick Henry’s presentation, “Getting in Tune With Your Business,” was a light, entertaining way to refocus after lunch, filled with personal anecdotes and his own original songs. I think the most valuable pieces of information from Patrick were his list of five things customers want:
Also, the most standout thing he said, in my opinion anyway, was this: “We are no longer in control of our brand. Our customers are.” With social media enabling customers to share their experiences with the world, focusing on providing the kind of experience they want to receive is paramount.
Martha Stewart Weddings’ Amy Wilkins shared a list of trends her company has identified among their upscale clientele. (This followed a very brave rendition of Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling!”) Some of the trends that caught my attention included:
- Couples are enjoying a longer engagement.
- Couples are marrying later in life.
- Couples are focused on ensuring their guests have a great time, through the use of event apps and adding extra activities surrounding the wedding, such as afterparties.
- Couples are using more technology tools and platforms to plan their weddings, with Pinterest being a huge one.
- Couples are planning more stateside destination weddings.
- Couples are doing more to personalize all aspects of the ceremony and reception.
I’d say that my company has observed many of these same trends, and they’re certainly confirmed by the many wedding blogs out there!
Kathryn Hamm of GayWeddings.com then gave a fantastic presentation on marketing to LGBT couples entitled “Wed We Can! Broaden Your Reach to Same-Sex Couples.” Gay clients, she said, tend to be savvy in their planning, but their planning needs are all over the map, with just as much variety in their priorities, ideas, and budget as any other couples.
Something I really enjoyed about Kathryn’s comments was her recommendation that wedding business owners “evaluate their coffee table.” In other words, wedding businesses should review their marketing materials with a fine-tooth comb, ensuring they are welcoming to all couples. (I wrote previously on making gender-neutral marketing a priority, something that’s been very successful for my company.)
Kathryn’s synopsis of the current legal status of same-sex marriage in the United States (and pending legislation) was very eye-opening as well. To say Kathryn’s presentation struck a chord with the audience would be an understatement, and it was definitely a highlight of the conference for me.
Tomorrow, I’ll finish my recaps with a summary of Sonny Ganguly’s “Get Social, Go Mobile” presentation (another highlight) and his and Jeff Yeh’s highly entertaining conclusion to the event, “What’s Next in Tech.”