Yep, I just had to use that headline. It got your attention didn’t it?
I read an article last week about a company in Texas called CowWow that makes an all natural fertilizer made of liquified dairy cow waste. More specifically it was about a marketing campaign that they used. It was risky, it was expensive and it scared them enough to think twice before going forward. It was also a HUGE hit. Please read the original article.
So what does cow manure have to do with marketing your wedding business? Well, nothing really, but the risky campaign they ran has some great lessons.
Much of marketing is about name recognition and buzz. Sometimes you just have to do something totally outrageous to get that.
For example, Preston Bailey and the flower sculpture he did for the Knot’s party in New York this fall. You can’t tell me that the thing wasn’t outrageous or that it wasn’t marketing. The minute I got the Knot branded bulk email pimping Preston’s blog I knew that it had been done on some sort of trade. So bottom line, Preston did it for the marketing potential. The sculpture was seen by anyone and everyone in the wedding industry at one of the industry’s biggest weeks of the year. Then pictures of it flew around the net at break neck speed. Gee, you don’t think that had any effect on brand Preston, do you?
Two other master brand marketer that tend to pull outrageous stunts are Oprah and Richard Branson of Virgin. You don’t think O gave away a car to everyone in her audience because it made her feel all warm and fuzzy do you? Yes I know, they have tons of money and they can afford it. Guess what, they have been doing this kind of thing since the beginning. Branson, espescially so.
So how does that translate to you, the micro-biz owner?
How about we start out by rethinking your marketing plan for next year. Do a deep analysis and dump a couple of the the things that aren’t really doing a lot for you. Use that savings to build a slush fund named Outrageous. Then start to keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities.
Your opportunity may be something as obvious as the bridal show you do every year. Instead of just doing your booth do something outrageous. Bring coffee and breakfast for all the vendors if you are a caterer. If you are a florist build a damn 15 foot tall tree in the entrance that is dripping with flowers. If you do gowns hire a bunch of model to walk the show floor in gowns. If you are a band or a DJ, buy a quad and rent a dance floor and hire a few people to act as plants and get a party going.
I never said that outrageous equaled cheap.
If you are a venue, host a “Kick-Off” party or an “End of Season” party for the vendors in your area. Make it a killer event, make it free and fantastic.
Once you have found your opportunity, make an entire campaign out of it. Use all of your social media to support and reinforce it. The florist with the 15 foot tree should be posting pictures of the frame in progress on his blog, twitter and Facebook. Just sneak peeks. Then right before the show make sure to flood the network with “don’t miss this” messages. After the fact, post your pictures and full story on your blog. Any advertising going forward should have a picture of this now famous piece on it.
You can’t just pull an outrageous stunt and just let it lie there. You have to tap it gently on the behind and push it out into the world.
The secrets here are to establish the slush fund, be open to oportunities, do something BIG and be fearless.Then promote, promote, promote. Your tribe will take it from there.
One thing that you may have noticed is that not all of the ideas I mentioned are pointed at brides. Word of mouth is still the strongest tool in pulling in wedding business. You should work dilligently to make sure that the other wedding professionals in your sphere of influence are recommending you.
Go back and read the article that started all this. They were scared through the whole process, but thier gut kept telling them YES.
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