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Marketing lessons from a wedding

They say you can tell someone's age by the invites in their inbox. The hipster twenty-somethings are all gathering at 21st and graduation ceremonies whilst the hip-replacement fifty-somethings are heading off to a plethora of retirements and funerals.
Andrew Ross - Havas Sports & Entertainment
Andrew Ross
This leaves the middle aged of us, (Did I just admit that? I sound like my father) gratuitously accepting invites left, right, and centre for baby showers, engagement parties and of course the bastion of middle class civilised gatherings - and the ultimate exercise in integrated marketing...the wedding!

I was at a wedding recently, and may or may not have had a few too many glasses of cheap, free, "in-speech champagne"! Sitting near the bar and people-watching, one of my favourite way's to spend my time, I realised with increased and probably misguided certainty, that the entire world (well at least the readers of this article) could learn some key marketing lessons from the goings on at a wedding reception.

So, with that behind us, here they are (in no particular order) the five marketing lessons to learn from a wedding:

1) Everyone remembers the punch line ...no ones remembers the joke!

This struck me, suddenly, while watching the entire dance-floor doing The Village People's perennial classic - The YMCA! Watching from afar I noticed every single person in the room knew the moves, but not a single soul knew the words to the verses of the song (try and remember them now, I dare you! You've probably heard it at least 100 times!)

The marketing lesson? Be careful with super creative, ultra sexy campaigns that rely too heavily on the "big idea" at the expense of the core message. Remember the Michael Jackson Thriller FlashMob? Yeah. Remember who the company was that paid a fortune to stage it? Nope, me neither!

2) Everyone dances to a different tune!

While watching with a critical eye, the poor wedding DJ struggling to satisfy the vastly different tastes in music present in one room - he (and I) eventually figured out that he couldn't! You simply can't talk one language and appeal to everyone...the Dance Floor is never, ever full!

The marketing lesson? The more you aggregate, the more you alienate. Consumers are not averages, nor are they defined by an LSM. They are individuals with unique tastes, individual opinions and happy and willing to express exactly what they think. Be prepared to be specific!

3) Mutton sometimes dresses as mutton!

Fashion and dress sense, only go so far. You can spot a mile off the guy who is usually dressed in crocs, and rugby jerseys! Irrespective of how their girlfriend dressed them to impress for this one day a year, where closed toe shoes are mandatory, it's obvious from the outset what is lying just under the starched and steamed surface.

The marketing lesson? You simply can't make a k*k idea look and feel good - no matter how much you want to crowbar it into a strategy. Be prepared to take a long hard look at the core ideas that are being sold and turf the bad ones. No amount of smart dressing will make them better, and your clients and the customers will see straight through it!

4) No-one tells the bride she's fat on her wedding day!

One of the more sensitive ones - sitting as a DJ watching weddings go down from the unique perspective of the uninvolved outsider, I have seen more than my fair share of frankly terrible speeches, cringe-worthy first dances and hate-couture.

The marketing lesson? Don't believe your own hype. I have never once seen anyone tell the best man his just-googled jokes sucked, the bridal couple that they should stick to a simple two step, or the glowing bride that her dress, copied from a celeb in Marie Claire, actually made her look like a pregnant Kleenex-Covered-Yeti. The face-to-face congratulations will always be what they wanted to hear on their amazing day. As a CD, an account manager, a client or a CEO, be ready, able and willing to unpack the reality from the bullshit, no matter how much you LOVE the idea. Just because your teams are telling you to your face its sure to win a Cannes Golden Lion, make sure it holds up to the strictest of interrogation or that sure-fire win could be destroyed by rampaging Godzilla like ego's.

5) Don't wait for great occasions to put on your Sunday best!

Walking in high-heels takes years to look effortless. Pulling off the James Bond smouldering sex-appeal of a recently rented Tux takes time, and a certain level of familiarity with the in's and out's of the ensemble.

The marketing lesson? Don't wait for award's season to swing by, to haul the creatives into a huddle and push the pro-active button on the briefing system. Great creative execution, involving the numerous role-players, is a marathon not a sprint. The more you try daily to push boundaries, challenge norms, constantly question standards and keep pulling amazing ideas from deep within the agency system the easier it becomes, for everyone! And that's when the magic happens, when you least expect it - not when everyone is huddled around a laptop staring at Google Images of Insecticide Billboards (or something equally arbitrary).

So there you are - five really simply lessons in marketing that stem directly from watching, monitoring and assessing the mechanics of the ultimate personal marketing exercise.

I did have a sixth point, noted from observing literally thousands of failed first dances, father and bride stumbled solos, and drunken birdie-songs dominating the dance floor.

It doesn't need a big heavy analogy, just the simple fact that sometime, in marketing, what you always suspected and accepted as real, actually is undeniably true, irrespective of stats, research and case-studies to the contrary!

And so, my final and defining realisation, after all is said and done....
White men .... can't dance!

Onwards and upwards!

Read the original article here - maddoggg.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/marketing-lessons-from-a-wedding.

    
 

Havas Sports & Entertainment's press office

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