These past 12 months, I’ve been very in demand.
Since August of last year, a worldwide group of retailers has been vying for my particular business. What’s special about me? I’m a bride. (Other things are special about me too, but not from a marketing perspective.) For the next few weeks, I’m still coveted by hair stylists, events rental companies, make-up vendors and more—all up until the booking of the honeymoon suite.
Working with about half the budget of what the average wedding supposedly costs (based on such authorities as TheKnot.com), I was a little concerned I might have a crappy wedding because I don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on flowers. However, I learned early on about a growing sector of consumers who not only want to spend less money on such luxuries as fancy weddings, but want to embrace this effort and fuse it with charm and personalization. Heard of a little site called Pinterest?
If I had to guess, the popularity and even fashionable appeal of do-it-yourself (or do-it-for-cheaper) may stem at least partly from a market still whip-lashed from the Great Recession. After spending the first few years of my career dodging layoffs, I’m not about to drop $500 on a cake just because the economy’s on the upswing. I’m more of the mindset of my grandparents, whose own parents endured the Great Depression and thus produced people who’ve used the same microwave for TWENTY YEARS.
That said, you still have to buy some things to have a wedding. While nuptials are about love and family and beauty, they are also about getting you to purchase stuff. I mean that in the least-jaded way possible—everyone has to make a living, right? Unsurprisingly, the wedding industry knows all the right ways to get your business. And I’ve discovered that one of their best strategies is content marketing.
As a complement to the all-encompassing wedding websites and magazines, there’s also a wide range of niche-oriented websites and blogs that home in on the different types of brides. The Hipster Bride, the Budget Bride, the Glamour Puss, the Anti-Bride—all of these and everyone in between can find something that hits the mark. As for where I fall on this spectrum? Retail-wise, I am a Practical Bride, though I don’t claim to be practical in all areas of life, and I think my fiancé would agree.
How did I learn my bride “type”? Turns out Google knows me better than I know myself. The search term “wedding planning for people who don’t like weddings” (let’s call it a long-tail keyword) led me to the website A Practical Wedding. After just a few minutes of browsing the down-to-earth, well-written articles and blogs on A Practical Wedding, I ordered Meg Keene’s book of the same name.
While A Practical Wedding managed to sell me a book, one of their sponsors sold me some flowers. Blooms by the Box, a wholesale vendor that caters to do-it-yourselfers, made the smart move to partner with A Practical Wedding for a post on making bouquets.
When I first read that post, I thought, “That’s cool, but it’s probably more trouble than the money it would save.” But a few weeks later, after some frustrating correspondence with a prospective florist, I looked into Blooms by the Box again.
Their website, full of how-tos and other handy info, made me think: I could possibly pull this off. Then I got excited, tunnel vision took over, and I found myself at Michael’s craft store with a basketful of floral tape. After a successful practice run on a grocery-store bouquet, I was cranking out corsages like a floral shop in prom season.
Through Blooms by the Box, I ordered all the flowers I needed for my wedding—and for half the money the florist wanted. Not that I begrudge someone’s need to turn a profit; as a freelance writer, I’m essentially a small business owner myself. And I would have hired that florist had they not taken a week to respond to my email. But in that lag, they left me open to the powerful effects of other companies’ content marketing!
As someone who does content marketing for a living, it’s fascinating to experience it in action. And it’s really cool to see a business who knows their market so well that they not only reach the right audience, but leverage the connection to boost their sponsor’s sales. Through the writing on their websites, A Practical Wedding and Blooms by the Box made me feel it’s OK and even cool to spend less money on high-ticket items. So they got what money I was willing to spend on books and planning and flowers, and I think they more than earned it.
Kristen Staples – Freelance Writer & Editor