3 hints about great small business marketing learned at a wedding

Last weekend I attended the long-awaited wedding of a niece. Over the last year, including several months when she lived with us, I have had a front row seat, sometimes self-imposed, on wedding preparation. And while many of us choose to marry, the preparation that goes into a wedding is the opposite of what goes into good small business marketing.

Here are the differences and why knowing them is so important.

A wedding is a one-day affair. All the planning in the world goes into that special day, when everyone and his or her mother, literally, will be in attendance, wishing the couple luck in their new endeavor.

A small business brand has to last for years. The work that goes into creating the first impressions people have when they think of a company’s brand is far too involved to be abandoned in one day. Whereas a wedding is intentionally like the finale of a good fireworks show, a small business brand is the many smaller fireworks that go off one after another, causing people to gasp and clap.

When a new marketing campaign is launched, people flock to websites, read brochures and pay attention in a way that they may never again. This opportunity should not be squandered, for it can be fleeting.

A wedding is about the couple. With some exceptions the only two people who are really excited about all aspects of a wedding day are the couple getting married. Yet, a brand has to appeal to its audience, not the company. A good brand conveys valuable information about the business to its ideal customers in the words and ways in which they want to be communicated. If the words on a website, in a brochure, in an elevator speech or a PowerPoint presentation are off, the company’s success can be way off. Knowing who you are appealing to and how to best appeal to them is a key to successful marketing.

A wedding can cost a fortune.  Weddings are expensive, with photographers, caterers, music, gowns and tuxedos running into the tens of thousands of dollars. Successful small business marketing doesn’t have to break the bank. Incredibly creative and successful strategies can be quite affordable, bearing fruit in new business for months and years to come. The best way to approach a marketing initiative is to identify the budget at the beginning. Once that constraint is imposed, clarity about how best to proceed is often more easily obtained.

Small businesses have the equivalent of a wedding all the time. They just don’t think of it that way.

But if they celebrate a new website, a new initiative, a new product or service in a way befitting a new marriage, the resulting new business could be just as prosperous.


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