Wedding planning, brought to you by data.

By Jennifer Mathis, SVP, Media Director

Data. If you work in marketing today, I urge you to count how many times you use this word in one day. For agencies, access to data—and how we use it—is table stakes and a core component of our competitive advantage. Why? With data our ability to “reach the right customer at the right time with the right message” is more possible than ever. Making relevant connections when a target is most receptive increases our ability to drive our clients’ business goals.

That said, I’m still amazed when I get to experience data-driven media as a consumer. Sometimes it can be frustrating when data gets it wrong. Like when I’m buying gifts for a baby shower which sends behavioral and purchase-based signals, combined with my demographic signal, and the data assumes I must be an expectant mother. Well, much to my parents’ disappointment, that isn’t true and the impressions being served to me are wasted dollars for the brand. (As if the pressure from my parents wasn’t enough, it’s like the internet is also telling me to hurry up. Sheesh!)

But there are other times when data gets it right. I’m recently engaged and like every bride-to-be, my internet habits immediately shifted. I’ve downloaded wedding planning apps, began the search for wedding venues, started following wedding and bridal influencers on Instagram and the list goes on. As a digital marketer, I know that by doing this I sent out signals saying “Hey! I’m getting married!” Now, I fully expect every digital ad, and most likely some direct mail, coming my way to be wedding related.

What I’ve experienced so far is the real value data targeting provides as it serves me relevant imagery, brands and ads across channels. For example, after searching for rose-gold themed weddings, I was served not only wedding décor but also bridesmaid’s dresses in my selected color. Could I really find bridesmaid’s dresses before even finding a venue? Apparently, I can!

Another example is when I received an Instagram ad for a customizable, modern, leather sandal company from Brazil for potential gifts for my bridesmaids. I hadn’t even thought about that yet, but it was exactly what I would have searched for at some point. Is there such a thing as thought-targeting? Maybe.

But, the one that really blew me away was when multiple data points came together to show me different ways of incorporating my French Bulldog into the ceremony. Very specific but couldn’t be more relevant considering my furry ring bearer being in the wedding is of utmost importance.

When my fiancé asked me if we should get a wedding planner, I thought “I’m a planner for a living! I’m not paying someone.” Little did I know, data was truly becoming the most efficient wedding planner I never knew I wanted. And at a price you can’t beat: free.