They say you can tell someone’s age by the invites in their in-box.
The hipster twenty-somethings are all gathering at 21’st and Graduation Ceremonies whilst the hip-replacement fifty-somethings are heading off to a plethora of Retirements and Funerals.
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 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 5 Marketing Lessons to Learn from a Wedding!
Keep Calm and Dance YMCA
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 taste’s in music present in one room – he (and I) eventually figured out, that he couldn’t! You simply cant talk one language and appeal to everyone…the DanceFloor 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! Awkwardest Wedding Photo Ever!
The Marketing Lesson? :You simply can’t make a kak 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, cringeworthy first dances and hate-coutre.
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. Words Fail!
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 thats 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). Best Wedding Dress Ever!
So there you are – 5 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 6th 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 …. Cant Dance!
Onwards and Upwards!