Insider’s Insight: Marketing to Millennials

By Lauren Randolph

Why this generation would rather have a wedding mentor than a wedding planner

Are you aware that, according to global wedding market research firm Splendid Insights, 90 percent of marriages these days are between millennial couples? No matter what part of the wedding industry you are involved in, you are surrounded by millennials every day.

Millennials so far outnumber Gen Xers and Baby Boomers that if you are not focusing how you sell, market and promote your business specifically to millennials, you may be missing out on a huge chunk of business.

While most couples looking to get hitched are of millennial age, most wedding vendors are from a slightly older age bracket. Sometimes this generational gap can result in a bit of a disconnect. In order to entice this media-savvy and often fickle generation, you must first understand who they are. As the former events manager at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif. (and a millennial myself), I have seen the disconnect first-hand. Here are the five lessons I learned that have helped me close more millennial sales:

1. Millennials Are Not All Entitled Adults

Let me start by saying that the millennial couples I work with are not all entitled young adults who feel that they deserve everything handed to them on a silver platter. Most have worked hard to get to where they are. They graduated from college during the recession, and have developed and thrived in their careers during challenging financial times.

Often the curiosity of this generation is mistaken as questioning authority or thinking that they know everything. Remember, millennials are actually one of the most highly educated generations to date (based on the number of bachelor’s degrees earned), who often just want to understand the “why” behind a decision.

2. Think Less Like a Hired Vendor and More Like a Mentor

Instead of a traditional planner, many millennials are looking for a “planning mentor.” Millennial brides are not looking for someone to dictate to them how to plan their wedding, but instead are craving a meaningful relationship, not unlike that of a mentor to mentee.

Millennial brides may spend a crazy amount of time on their phones pinning, Instagramming, watching YouTube and tweeting, but they still crave meaningful relationships offline in their daily lives.

I had to adapt my own sales approach when it came to millennial couples. I realized that when I took the time to sit, listen and talk through their questions and concerns, I was more likely to make the sale and create a lasting, positive relationship with the couple.

3. It’s Not All About What the Bride Wants

Another thing to understand about this demographic is that they also care about their guests’ experience. They want their wedding guests to have the time of their lives, and they want to be remembered as wonderful hosts. So when you’re working with millennial couples, make sure to articulate how your services will provide a memorable guest experience.

4. Showcase Your Personality

According to wedding market research firm Splendid Insights, 70 percent of couples will hire you based on your personality. So, are you marketing your wedding business in a way to showcase your personality? For millennials, this is your greatest asset. It actually ranks higher than how up-to-date your website is, your social media presence or even how many awards you’ve won in the past. Millennial couples deeply want a personal relationship with their wedding team, so let your personality shine through.

5. Millennials Value Honesty and Transparency

In working with wedding vendors, I’ve had to convince many of the value in conducting their business differently. Gone are the days of wedding planners hiding their vendor team and trade secrets. Millennial couples value honesty, transparency and co-education.

Consider not only sharing pretty pictures. Invest in tools that can help to educate couples going through the (sometimes stressful) wedding planning process. You have the ability to share so many small tidbits of information to gain the trust of wedding couples without giving away your value. Couples will appreciate your honesty, resulting in positive feedback and referrals.

When this is done in a genuine way, a couple will immediately recognize your value and want you on their wedding planning team. Taking the time to educate couples on why they need this lighting package or that florist will greatly increase your likeability and potential to book with this demographic. •

About the Author
Lauren Randolph founded My Hotel Wedding (myhotelwedding.com) in 2012 based on her decade of experience as a wedding planner and catering manager for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts at the world-famous Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills, Calif. The website provides couples with helpful information on how to work with a hotel to book a wedding.