Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Details, Details, Details

Times are tough and businesses need to be on conserve mode in order to survive. Many businesses especially the new kids will automatically look at their marketing budgets as the first place to slash costs. But is this a smart move? According to many studies out there it is not! Businesses need to look at these times as opportunities to stay strong. People will still be planning weddings and getting married under pretty much any circumstance and they are still spending money. We have not seen a drop in our brides spending habits but we have seen a lengthening of their engagement and planning period. But consumers are scared. They want to give their money to the business that will still be standing when they tie the knot and is still who they were when they contracted with them, not the scaled down skin and bones version. Skimping on your message now is a mistake that means greater opportunity for your competitor down the street.

Smart businesses will now reevaluate all of their marketing plans. Those who find themselves too busy to investigate and stick with status quo will suffer the consequences. When you are looking for who to place your ad with there are many things to consider and they aren't always as clear as your sales person would like you to think. First editorial content is king no matter what. Big pretty pictures get your attention and we love to look at them but what brings you back? What makes you keep the magazine and reference it frequently? It's the content. Fresh, relevant editorials mixed with beautiful useful imagery. As a bride you want good info that's why they pick up magazines. Sure ogling the size 2 beautiful bride in the $15,000 dress sitting at the perfectly styled table in the creek with a chandelier overhead is inspiring but unrealistic and not very useful to 99% of all brides. That magazine is not the one she will reference when the time comes nor is it the one she buys over and over again. That one falls at the bottom of the stack. We refer to it as a Flipper, cause it's the one she quickly flips through and discards. On the other end of the spectrum is the smaller generally strictly local regional GUIDE. Full of resources but short on images and fresh content. It's the one with the seating charts, calendars etc... and the "How to pick a photographer" or the "top wedding..." article. All regenerated stuff. Useful to a degree but far from inspiring or engaging. It generally appeals to a less affluent bride who stumbles across it rather than seeks it out.

There is a hybrid magazine that is also out there. It takes a little bit of both. It has the regenerated articles mixed with better images it's sort of a dressed up local resource guide. This one gets middle stack position depending on the articles included. What all of the above lack is true good regional useful content and spectacular images by local photographers to showcase their work. There is only one publication out there that does that in the Carolina's and I am proud to say it's also the only award winning wedding magazine in the Southeast, maybe the whole country (let us know if you know another, we haven't found one!), The Bride's Book magazine.

Advertisers have multiple opportunities in every issue of the magazine. It's designed to weave our advertisers throughout giving them the greatest exposure. From images, spotlights on venues, awards, featured articles, photo heavy editorials that show trends. It does require some effort on the part of our advertisers as we are not mind readers but we frequently remind our advertisers of upcoming articles and photography needs so they have ample opportunity to get involved. When in need of info we go to our advertisers and our details section is available to announce any new cool product, service or location to our bride's. Those advertisers who take advantage of those opportunities as well as our online opportunities are always pleased with the responses they get from our readers. Okay so I got lost in tooting our horn...there is much more that advertisers need to consider in the face of the current economic recession.

Every business needs a web presence. You should be looking at ways to reach the more than 90% of all brides that hit the internet FIRST for their info. Let's talk about this. Most every home has at least one computer and if they don't they can access one at the library, school or at their work. People are working harder and longer hours. When they want info it's generally during a break, early morning or late evening when your store is closed or no one is answering the phone. The web keeps working 24/7 for you if you let it. Your advertising dollars need to be invested in good online presence. Your print options should also provide this for you in one form or another. But their site needs to be sophisticated enough to draw brides to it through additional content and information. Many publications offer a link on their website BUT fail to realize that that link actually pulls the bride off their site. Many won't return because then they'll follow links elsewhere and besides with only a link they really aren't getting any additional info so why return?

The Bride's Book on the other hand has always had a strong web presence and was actually came before our award winning magazine. has even more info online from Real Brides to inspire our readers and up to date wedding events and trunk shows, contests, award winners and additional local wedding resources, etiquette and advice and articles addressing current trends. Every single one of those are an opportunity for our advertisers to showcase their business even more. Yes, each advertisers has a web AD as well with contact info, multiple image opportunities and yes a link is available but a link in a NEW window keeping our website open for the bride to return to over and over again. Okay so this is horn tooting too but I bring it up for other reasons as well.

Advertising now should be more than placing an ad you should be asking how big and how MUCH of an ad CAMPAIGN can my print ad in your magazine buy me? It's about getting the most for your money, in front of the most brides. If you would like more information about The Bride's Book magazine or website please contact our office at (866)630-5176

Status quo is dead. To survive in the new economy businesses must take a more active role in your marketing and advertising. You can hire an agency to do much of this for you but you would be smart to stay with an agency in your market well versed in your field or pay a big enough fee that you can afford to pay them to be educated in the opportunities out there. And one more thing...if you aren't familiar with the social networks and all of the opportunities in that realm that are out there...make sure whoever is in charge of your advertising dollars is well The Bride's Book!

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