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Peak Wedding Season During A Pandemic: How Top Brands Are Getting Innovative In Their Marketing Efforts

July 6, 2020 Carolyn Harding

The ongoing pandemic has caused several major events to be put on hold or cancelled entirely, with weddings near the top of that list. According to Adweek, 35,000 weddings were expected in the U.S. this year, and 600,000 were booked internationally throughout April-May. Now, with summer – and peak wedding season – in full effect, several brands within the wedding industry have shifted their marketing initiatives and launched innovative partnerships, social media campaigns and websites to remain relevant.

David’s Bridal Capitalizes On Consumer’s Increased Mobile Usage

Leading bridal brand David’s Bridal partnered with Popwallet (a mobile wallet marketing brand) in order to connect with consumers in a “personalized, innovative and dynamic way through mobile wallets like Apple Wallet and Google Pay,” the bridal retailer shared.

“Popwallet allows us to deliver contactless consumer experiences and engage with her [brides] on a new channel, in a new way,” said Kelly Cook, David Bridal’s Chief Marketing and IT Officer. “So, no more printed signs or coupons that could be lost, we can now serve her the outstanding offers and deals she deserves directly to her smartphone.”

The David’s Bridal partnership with Popwallet is the latest virtual initiative from the bridal brand that has made multiple efforts to simplify and improve their consumer experience, launching its “Virtual Stylist” and “Virtual Appointment” offerings recently as well. 

The transition to a more mobile-friendly experience is a smart move from David’s Bridal, as a recent survey revealed 60% of consumers prefer to use their mobile devices to make in-store purchases. “Mobile behavior is changing, and the smartphone is increasingly becoming the interface between people and the world around them,” said Elias Guerra, Popwallet Founder and CEO.

The Knot Launches A New Chatbot & Bridal Hotline

One-stop-shop wedding planner The Knot Worldwide has a massive presence in the bridal space – encompassing eight different brands and reaching 15 countries across the globe. In order to adapt to the “new” wedding market, the brand launched its own chatbot, which, according to The Knot’s CMO Dhanusha Sivajee, is “offering personalized recommendations and a new 360 virtual venue tour tool so they [brides-to-be] can tour venues from the comfort of their own homes.”

In addition to the creation of its chatbot, The Knot recently partnered with WeddingWire (a popular online marketplace that connects couples with wedding planners and professionals) to launch a hotline for couples struggling with their wedding planning during the pandemic. The hotline includes wedding experts who are available for questions or just to be an ear for couples to share their wedding planning frustrations. “Our mantra behind this hotline is that it’s okay for couples to feel disappointed, upset, stressed and confused,” said Sivajee. “We want to encourage couples to acknowledge those feelings, understand they are valid and ask questions.”

Zola Goes All In On Its Digital Features

Zola, an online wedding registry, planner and retailer, has launched a slew of new offerings and digital initiatives to adapt to the changing environment surrounding wedding planning:

  • Change The Dates: A play on the traditional “Save The Date,” Zola is giving free cards to couples who have had to change their wedding dates due to the pandemic.
  • Zola Registry Advisor: Zola is leveraging its innovative chat feature within its mobile app now more than ever. Called the “Registry Advisor,” the chat option offers couples one-on-one conversations with experienced wedding advisors to help with their wedding planning and registry needs.
  • CDC Experts: Zola has put together a dedicated team of wedding advisers who will focus on staying up-to-date on all Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and provide couples with updates and helpful messages they can use to communicate with wedding guests and vendors should any changes or new restrictions occur.
  • Virtual Events For The Future: Zola announced its plans to launch a variety of virtual event offerings this summer – encompassing all gatherings associated with the typical wedding process.

Despite America’s ongoing hesitation for in-person events and Zola’s proactive preparation for a more virtual future, CMO Mike Chi believes the wedding industry is headed in the right direction, stating, “We are seeing demand start to pick back up on the early funnel planning side as well. Search volume dropped significantly at the start of the quarantine, but has revved up again significantly in the last few weeks.”

Jared Hosts Virtual Weddings

Well-known jewelry retailer Jared set out to help couples who wish to keep their original wedding dates. The solution? 1,000 free virtual weddings through Jared’s online platform. Called #LoveCantWait, the Jared campaign featured a heavy social media push and short TV ads encouraging couples to access Jared’s online platform for all their wedding needs. From invitations to guest lists to virtual consultations, the retailer sought out to mimic the traditional, in-person wedding planning experience. “People are working differently, and they are buying differently and we think that change is here to stay,” said Rebecca Wooters, Chief Digital Officer of Signet (owner of the Jared brand). “We’re going to ensure that we have the right model to support that.”

Wooters highlighted the importance of a seamless, frictionless experience for consumers moving forward, stating, “They [couples] don’t have a lot of patience for kinks in the process, and that’s why it’s so important to make sure that our digital experiences are extremely intuitive, so no one has to necessarily explain to a customer how to do it. They will know what to do, and it’s obvious and easy.”

Busch Light, Dominos & Miller High Life: The Unexpected Wedding Guests

When you hear the words “wedding planning” and “bride-to-be,” most consumers don’t think “beer” and “pizza.” Busch Light, Dominos and Miller High Life, however, didn’t let that assumption stop them from getting in on the pandemic-friendly wedding fun.

Busch Gives A Generous Wedding Gift

Busch launched its recent campaign in which the beer brand gave a year’s supply of Busch beer to 250 couples who were forced to change or cancel their upcoming vows. In order to enter, couples were asked to share a photo – using the hashtags #BuschWeddingGift and #Sweepstakes – and their wedding celebration plans despite the pandemic. As an added bonus, Busch encouraged guests of any postponed weddings to submit a couple using the hashtag #MyFriendsWedding. The contest winners were announced across all of Busch’s social platforms. 

Miller High Life Coordinates At-Home Weddings

Miller High Life also catered to couples whose wedding plans were altered due to the pandemic, awarding three lucky winners with a “Wedding at Your Doorstep.” Couples were asked to submit their stories on how their weddings were affected and how they will incorporate Miller High Life into their celebrations. Winners took home $10,000 to help with honeymoons and cancellation fees and offered a free wedding photographer, officiant, and, of course, beer.

The Miller High Life at-home wedding contest was designed to “ease the disappointment and financial losses that some couples are facing as their celebrations are transformed by social distancing rules and stay-at-home measures,” noted MarketingDive.

Domino’s Launches A “Rain Check Registry” Website

Domino’s took a break from the pizza to launch its new website, the “Rain Check Registry,” made specifically for wedding guests to send digital gift cards to couples whose weddings were affected by the pandemic. Each Domino’s wedding gift package is appropriately wedding themed – from a “Virtual Bachelorette Party” to a “Vendor Call-A-Thon.”

While the wedding industry has undoubtedly felt the strains of COVID-19, wedding marketers still have opportunities to remain relevant in the eyes of planning couples. By offering alternative options to the traditional wedding experience and proactively seeking out innovative ways to connect with consumers – whether through virtual initiatives, custom websites or the power of social media – brands can leave lasting impressions and establish stronger brand presences and customer loyalty throughout this isolated wedding season and beyond. 

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About the Author

Carolyn Harding

Carolyn Harding is an Associate Manager of Communications at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. DMS helps its clients accelerate growth by deploying diversified and data-driven customer acquisition solutions that deliver scalable, sustainable and measurable marketing results. DMS performance marketing solutions connect the right consumers with the right offers at the right time to achieve the marketing objectives of our clients. DMS is continually innovating to provide new and emerging media and technology solutions that minimize waste and maximize results across the most competitive industries. Since its inception, DMS has demonstrated incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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