How Wedding Wire Marries Physical and Digital Worlds

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The online wedding marketplace looks to data analytics and cross-channel strategies to create a modern experience for couples.

 

At weddings today, the digital component is nearly as important as the actual event. From selfies to videos, couples and their guests are looking for experiences that bridge physical and digital worlds. And WeddingWire is harnessing technology to deliver these experiences to its customers.  

Founded in 2006 by Blackboard co-founder Tim Chi, WeddingWire is an online vendor marketplace that helps couples plan their wedding, connecting them with vendors in their area. The company's customer strategy begins with data, explains Bart Thornburg, associate director of lifecycle marketing at WeddingWire. "When couples sign up for an account, all we need is an email address and the wedding date," Thornburg says. "And because we've collected plenty of data already from other couples, we can reasonably map out theircustomer lifecycle and have a good idea of what their wedding journey will look like." 

For example, the company's data shows that one of the first things engaged couples look for is a photographer, Thornburg notes. Using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, WeddingWiretypically sends new subscribers an email with advice on how to select a photographer and other tips. At the same time, the company is "looking for hand raisers."  

"We watch for signs that indicate what people are interested in and modify our response," Thornburg says. For instance, perhaps the couple isn't looking for a photographer but they're interested in wedding invitations. "There are several ways we look for that. It could be a click in a newsletter with an article on invitation tips or their search behavior on our site," Thornburg explains. "We very much view our digital marketing as a conversation between two people so we're always adapting to keep the conversation relevant." 

However, given that the company only has the couple's email address, engaging the guests can be a challenge. One of the ways WeddingWire gets around the issue is by recruiting the couple's assistance. For example, two years ago the company embarked on a campaign to promote its new WedSocial mobile app. The app includes a live photo feed to keep track of photos leading up to and during the wedding, photo filters, and the ability to enter wedding event details. The app also includes a hashtag generator to pull in photos from other platforms like Instagram and Facebook.  

The campaign began with soft mentions of the WedSocial app when couples joinedWeddingWire and accelerated when they were 30 days away from their wedding, since it was estimated that was when the app was mostly likely to be downloaded. 

The 30-day promotional journey included an email explaining the benefits of the app,encouraging the couple to download it and share it with their guests. If the couple didn'tdownload the app, they received a reminder email seven days later. 

A few days before the wedding, WedSocial users are encouraged to share a throwback photo featuring the couple. "This helps get guests involved and excited about the upcoming event and it's something the couple can enjoy too," Thornburg says. 

The campaign also included an email with a link to custom table cards that the couple can print for each table. The table cards include an SMS shortcode and keyword generated bySalesforce Marketing Cloud MobileConnect, which allows guests to get a link via a text message to download WedSocial. The table card emails serve as a bridge between mediums by allowing guests to download the app at the last minute, Thornburg adds. Users can also comment on the photos and print them.  

Soon after launching the WedSocial email series and MobileConnect campaign,WeddingWire saw a 74 percent increase in adoption of the WedSocial app. The company continues to run similar app promotion campaigns and is constantly testing opportunities to optimize its messaging, according to Thornburg.  

"My advice to other companies is iterate, iterate, iterate," he says. "We're always running tests to see what we can do better, because even something as simple as changing a subject line can have an impact."  

 

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