Once upon a time there was a bride named Goldie. She had met her prince charming and couldn’t wait to start the process of planning her wedding. She stopped at a bookstore and came home with an armload of wedding magazines. Goldie was inspired.
Goldie set her DVR and recorded many wedding shows. There were shows about cakes, shows about brides-behaving-badly, shows about wedding dresses, and shows about planning the almost-perfect wedding… including one with a white knight named David Tutera who rides in on his trusty steed, Marky Mark(named after his favorite actor), to save the day from incredibly amateur wedding planning. Goldie drank gallons of coffee and watched the wedding shows until the wee hours of the morning. Goldie was jittery… and further inspired.
Goldie took her inspiration to the internet where she registered at every wedding website known to humanity… local sites, regional sites, and national sites. She read many message board postings of incredibly uninformed and self-centered brides, most of whom had not yet married, and therefore knew little of what they spoke. Nevertheless, having logged dozens of hours, swimming in information and data, Goldie was convinced she was becoming a wedding expert. She now forecast a career as a wedding planner, as soon as she completed her own wedding.
Like a college student, cramming for final exams, Goldie‘s head was ready to explode. She had consumed seemingly unlimited amounts of information, but hadn’t made one decision. Poor Goldie.A bridal show… that would be the answer. She could meet many wedding professionals, under one roof, on one day. Surely this would make decision making easier. Go Goldie, Go!!
Goldie started with wedding disc jockeys, knowing how important they would be in the success of her reception. She was quite excited after meeting the first couple of DJ’s. And then, at each aisle, it seemed, there was yet another disc jockey. They were all dressed in bear suits and had matching accessories from a local tuxedo store.
Goldie learned a new word… commodity.
And with each successive encounter she filled her wedding basket with a treasure trove of CHOICES. Choices of music, disc jockeys, wedding entertainment directors, uplighting, dance floor lighting, gobos, party motivators, more equipment, less equipment, CDs and vinyl records. Goldie’s eyes started to spin like a cartoon character that had been conked on the head with a frying pan. Poor Goldie…
Goldie was no longer inspired. She was confused.
Goldie wanted fewer choices.
There weren’t too many bears… uhh, DJs. Though each of them offered too many choices. Goldie’s head was splitting with options. She couldn’t make one decision, until she met the 13th bear. That bear offered a single choice, an appointment.
“I’m sure you’ve met many other bears and DJ’s, today. I know we all have a lot to offer. Perhaps it would be easier if you came to our office, brought your fiancé, and enjoyed some porridge. Then we could answer all your questions without your head exploding. Would afternoon or evening be better?”
And so, Goldie deferred her decision until she met with the knowledgable and professional 13th DJ-Bear. Goldie was able to clear her head, at least for a little while, and decided to hire this particular bear to entertain at her wedding.
Goldie was no longer inspired. She was content and relieved.
As she made her way around the bridal show floor, Goldie made appointments with other wedding professionals who understood the wisdom of how to work a bridal show.
Morale: Disc jockey wedding bears and other wedding professional bears that make appointments at wedding shows, make more sales. Any other strategy would be… well, unbearable.
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The Wedding Marketing Blog
I first met staff members from Get Married at the Wedding MBA Conference 2008, in Phoenix. It was an exciting, new company, rooted in television, with a companion website, getmarried.com.
The company, founded by husband and wife team, Stacie and Dave Francombe had its roots in Atlanta, GA, building a regional starting point with a TV show, Get Married Atlanta (2006-2007). Its big breakthrough was the launch of a national show (October 1, 2007) on Lifetime Television, hosted for its first season by David Tutera. Tutera now hosts My Fair Wedding on WeTV. For the second season Get Married replaced Tutera with Colin Cowieand co-host Deanna Pappas. Tutera and Cowie are both high profile wedding and event designers.
Roughly concurrent with the foray into national television was the sale of the company from its originators to Taylor Corporation. The nature of the sale was ‘in the background’ and not obvious to Get Married advertisers.
In October 2009, Get Married announced the launch of national magazine, published quarterly. The magazine would make it the first wedding media company with a presence in TV, print, and the internet.
For seasons three (2010), the company turned to its founder, Stacie Francombe to host the show. The show turned away from a celebrity host, and focused more directly on featured brides. Francombe was also the center-point for Get Married’s New Year’s Eve Promotion: Get Married in Time Square. Though complicated by incredibly bad weather, in the NorthEast, Get Married managed to get through its promotion, successfully.
Shortly after the 2011 new year, Francombe and Get Married parted ways. As well, TV show was discontinued. Get Married was now being managed by Anita Brady. She had come on board, as President in June 2010.
The company sought to redesign its website, getmarried.com, and launched a fresh version in late spring 2011.
ANALYSIS: It seems that the redesign of the website was too little, too late. The absence of the TV show, the changing direction of the magazine, and underachieving website traffic were all sapping the energy of Get Married Media, Inc.
There are many competitors in the wedding niche and Get Married was unable to keep up. The Knot continues to bolster its print and internet presence. WeddingWire.com , an internet-only company, has eschewed a magazine presence, entirely. It is one of the fastest growing companies (a technology company, in the wedding niche), continually accumulating strategic partnerships along the way. National media company, The Perfect Wedding Guide, has a newly-minted square format for its publication (localized by market), has a solid website, and produces bridal shows of various sizes, in many of its markets.
The reinvention of Stacie Francombe has begun, with the her new venture: Inspire Smart Success.
During her time at Get Married, Stacie developed and served as Executive Producer for Get Married with David Tutera & Get Married with Colin Cowie, both on Lifetime, then as host in its final season on WeTV & Wedding Central.
She was the visionary behind the publication Get Married – The Shopping & Trend guide for the Savvy Bride, serving as Editor-in-Chief, filling a gap in the bridal market, and growing the title into a nationally distributed quarterly magazine.
Now, Stacie takes a new direction with Inspire Smart Success.
We’ll give you incredible new ideas. Insightful new directions. Jaw-dropping new business. ISSE’s amazing speakers and sessions for wedding business owners will give you hands-on advice on how to book more business and grow your brand…all while immersing you in a luxurious, full day inspirational EXPERIENCE.
Kicking off the event will be a fun Welcome Cocktail Party May 23rd, followed by the ISS Experience on May 24th. Join us for a day filled with valuable information and learn how to Get Published and Get on TV from myself, an expert panel of Celebrity Event Designers such as Diann Valentine, Tony Conway, and Tiffany Nieves-Cook along with Television Producer Magazine Publishers and Editors. And of course, we also have plenty of time to mingle, network, eat and socialize during the event.
Both days will take place at the gorgeous and trendy W Hotel Atlanta Midtown and space is limited. Register early and save on the ticket price! When booking your room at the W use code ISSE for special rate of $159/night.
In the wake of the departure of Get Married Founder, Stacie Francombe, many questions were left about the present and future of Get Married Media. I thought it wise to arrange a phone call interview with its CEO, Anita Brady. That phone conversation took place earlier this week, and this post answers many of the question I had.
My perspective, in advance of the discussion:I first met members of the Get Married team at the Wedding MBA 2008, in Phoenix, AZ. I struck up a cordial relationship with various people from the Atlanta-based company, as I seek to do with people with all wedding industry media. I met Get Married Founders, Stacie and Dave Francombe during the Catersource conference in Las Vegas, January 2011.
Since those beginnings, major events included Get Married launched a quarterly, national magazine, early last year… and discontinuing their TV show, after three seasons, on two channels. The first two seasons were hosted by high-profile event planners, David Tutera and Colin Cowie. This past year, Stacie Francombe hosted the show, as it migrated from Lifetime TV to WeTV.
The big promotional event for Get Married was a New Year’s Eve wedding, in Times Square. The event garnered a significant number of major sponsors, and, despite mother nature, came off nicely. Stacie Francombe emceed the event, which was webcast using the Party On! service (launched in December 2010). The event received a significant amount of secondary news coverage.
As a function of format, I will share the major elements of our discussion by summary, rather than verbatim, question and answer. The reason is simply for clarity… to provide information that I believe is relevant to wedding industry businesses.
Anita and I had reviewed each other’s bios and background. My blog, our LinkedIn sites, and more. She is from New Jersey. Me, from New York City. The other geographic we have in common isThe Berkshires area in Western Massachusetts. She spent a significant amount of time working for the Crane Paper Company in Dalton, Massachusetts. Crane was founded over 200 years ago and is an industry icon. In my ancient youth, my parents and I would vacation in the The Berkshires (Dalton, Hinsdale, Pittsfield, Stockbridge), so I know the area, and Crane, well. My parents honeymooned in Stockbridge, in 1949.
One of the first items of clarification was “Who exactly owns Get Married Media?”. It’s not TOP SECRET information, but the company is privately held, not public, so I thought I should confirm what I knew, which was common knowledge in the industry. The parent company of Get Married Media is Taylor Corporation, a Minnesota-based company. Taylor made the purchase about three years ago.
In relative terms, Anita Brady is new to the company, having joined Get Married Media as its CEO in June 2010. What became clear to me was that Stacie Francombe had been the continuing public face of Get Marriedfor the last three years, though she no longer had an ownership interest in the company. I say that to be factual. It shouldn’t be particularly shocking. It is not unusual for a founding entrepreneur to sell a company, in part or whole, and then continue to work for the company in a specific capacity. Sometimes the secondary relationship lasts a long time; others a short time. Three years seems pretty good in my opinion.
Get Married TV: In explaining the termination of the show, the explanation/reasons revolved around the show’s financial viability. The landscape for wedding-related TV shows has changed, dramatically, in the last three years. There are now many shows in the wedding category competing for the same audience and advertising dollars. Rather than continue to produce its own show, Get Married has already become an advertiser to drive bride traffic to its website, GetMarried.com.
Get Married – The Magazine: Presently, it is a quarterly, with a distribution of about 300,000 copies per issue: 1.2 million annually. When it launched, Get Married Magazine was the first, in the wedding category, to employ Microsoft Tags offering advertisers (and itself) a link from 2-dimensional print to the internet. Using a cellphone, bride can capture the tag-image, and it will launch a web page with additional information, images, video, etc., about the advertiser.
I asked about the success of the feature. The most important conclusion is this: Advertisers that built a specific landing page for their tag-related promotion reported far more success than those that just linked to the welcome page of their website. This is not shocking to me, at all. It’s what I recommend for Facebook campaigns, local wedding magazine ads, bridal show promotion links. Have a landing page, other than the home page, specifically linked directed from each promotion.
In its next issue, the magazine will move from Microsoft Tags to the more common QR codes to accomplish the same result.
The GetMarried.com website: While there is a section for local ads in the magazine, the primary vehicle for wedding industry businesses are advertising opportunities on the website. Traffic to the website is not the best nor worst in the industry. Currently, it is averaging about 100,000 unique visitors a month (this number is from my research). The company is in process of a major enhancement of the website, which should wrap up in the next 2-3 months. As one would expect, one of its goals is to improve SEO to improve traffic, ultimately to provide more impressions and click-throughs for the advertisers.
Support of Wish Upon A Wedding: During the last year, Stacie Francombe was the National Public Relations Chair for Wish Upon A Wedding. Support of the organization also included a full-page ad in the last issue of the magazines (I have not checked previous issues). I was told that support of Wish Upon A Wedding would be unwavering going forward (Disclosure: I serve on the Wish Upon A Wedding National Board as its Social Media Chair, so I had a specific interest in asking that question).
News Analysis and Opinion: Get Married Media is going through significant transition and reinvention, from a strategic standpoint. The choice to discontinue Get Married TV when the magazine is just beginning its second year is a tricky move. Ultimately, the future success of the company rests with the enhancements to its website, both for readers (brides) and advertisers. I’m sure there are other surprises to be unveiled in the coming months, but I’m not privvy to everything.
My recommendations for you, the advertiser: I am careful to rarely recommend specific wedding media for advertisers. I don’t know enough about YOUR particular business or the success of national, regional or local media in YOUR market. So, my advice, as it relates to Get Married and all its competitors is this: Evaluate web traffic, magazine distribution, etc., based on YOUR MARKET. For web traffic, you should understand how much traffic is reaching your local area of any site, and what the click-through rates are in YOUR CATEGORY. For different businesses, your own parameters may determine different choices… and those various choices may all be effective, depending on your business, and many individual factors.
In unrelated/related news (take your pick): What has become of Stacie Francombe? – As best as I understand, her departure can be described as an amicable, mutual parting of the ways. Soon after leaving Get Married, Stacie launched a Facebook Community and blog: Celebrity Wedding Reporter. The blog has, at its slogan: “Celebrity Style For Your Walk Down The Aisle.” The blog is not advertiser supported.
As a parting question, I asked Anita if she had any opinion about Stacie’s new blog. I heard a smile in her voice, and her words were, effectively, a ‘no comment.’ I wasn’t expecting a ringing endorsement, but I followed up by asking, “You don’t think it’s a big deal, do you?” Anita replied with, “No, not really.”
That small exchange felt about right to me, from the standpoint of tone. After all, Get Married’s challenges and future successes will be based on improving their own standing and competing with big players, such as The Knot, Wedding Wire, and other magazines and websites.
A warm Thank You to Anita Brady, Get Married CEO, for her willingness to spend over an hour on the phone with me, so I could share relevant information with you.