Aha. Market research. Best practice, essential for a successful wedding business.
So they say. And although I’m hugely proud of my marketing degree, I don’t always do everything they told me – market research has always got the better of me. I know what it is, I’m well aware I should do it, but I have to hold my hands up and admit that as far as my wedding business is concerned, I’ve blagged it and got lucky despite doing no research – or at least minimal research with a very informal approach. Naughty.
Nonetheless, I’m very aware that my business could do much better with a little research under its belt. I know a bit about my customers, and a bit less about the potential wedding calligraphy customers out there who aren’t buying from me.
What is market research for wedding businesses?
There are two methods of researching: primary research is asking potential customers for opinions and experiences, basically doing it yourself. That’s the hard way. Secondary research is finding results other people have done, articles, statistics etc. you can gather your research from.
What market research does a wedding business need?
Key things you should research are your customer demographics (age, gender, location, financial position, internet use).
More specific research will help you develop and refine your product and service: what are the forecast trends for the next 12 months (e.g. vintage / retro / pink & chocolate)? What invitation formats are popular (e.g. letterpress, pocketfold, emails)? What’s the average bride prepared to spend on her wedding stationery? How price sensitive is your target market?
Competitor research is also good practice: how big are your competitors, how many are there, where are they, what’s their advertising spend, where do they promote their services? (A word of advice – don’t phone or email pretending to be a bride & digging for information! We can spot that a mile off!)
Wedding market research resources
It’s very difficult to find wedding industry statistics in one place. There’s no magical report which will give you all the information you need. Either invest in some primary research (an online survey with a prize, perhaps) or use your initiative and pick up bits of information here and there…
UK wedding magazines for research
The wedding press is a great way to find out interesting stats and information. Magazines (online and offline) carry out regular surveys of their readers, sometimes in detail and more often via quick online polls.
Wedding forums for research
Wedding forums are great for ad-hoc opinions from brides. Don’t post as a business (most don’t like it, particularly if you’re promoting yourself) but read and listen. You’ll find out who’s buying from where, how brides are feeling in the run up to their weddings, what they buy and when, and lots more.
Research at wedding fairs
If you are out and about meeting brides there is plenty to learn. If you exhibit at a wedding fair consider throwing out a quick survey in goody bags, with a prize draw to encourage a good response rate.
If that’s likely to be more trouble than it’s worth (we’ve all been there… planning for an exhibition will keep you busy 24/7 without having to write a survey!) then do ask questions at the fair. Being genuinely interested in brides and their planning stories is a great learning tool and relationship building technique!
If you’d like to share your own experiences or questions, please use the comment form below. Like I say, I certainly don’t know everything and I’m by no means the best at market research! I’d love to hear what you think.