One of the more prevalent lies that wedding industry professionals tell themselves is that younger brides and grooms won't want to work with wedding pros in their 40's, 50's, or older. That as they age, they are less relevant to today's generation, no matter the experience they've accumulated. Fortunately, it's not true.
Millennials (the generation born between 1979–2000) don't share the Baby Boomer mantra of "don't trust anyone over 30." Millennials also value heritage and legacy. This means that if you've been in business for a few decades, you have an advantage – but only if you play to it.
Use your newsletter, blog and social media platforms to share the stories you've accumulated over the years, and tie them back to today's couple. (Your stories are great, but clients don't hire you because of your story. They hire you because they believe your story will make their story better.) History repeats itself: what trends have you seen over the years that have made a comeback? Which ones do you wish would? You have a lot of great content that's relevant to today's couples. Use it.
If you're a millennial yourself or on the younger side of Generation X, here are some common words and phrases that can hurt your brand: fresh, new, revolutionary, and the one that induces the most eyerolls: "nothing good existed so I created it." If you're under 40 and claiming to have invented something in the bridal space, you need to get better at doing your homework. This goes for anything except apps and some software – the first commercial wedding blog was DIY Bride, created in the early 2000s, and the first wedding PR firm was founded by Lindsay Mann in 2001.
Using marketing phrases that position you as the original when you're in your twenties or thirties will cause millennials to automatically distrust you. Remember, this generation has laser-focused BS detectors. They know other talented people came before you and that you're standing on their shoulders. Don't pretend to own the industry legacy but do share how you're a part of it. You don't have to be the first in order to succeed in the wedding industry, but you do have to respect the people who went first. Millennials view disrespect of heritage as a turn off.
This generation will hire regardless of age, so please let go of the myth (excuse) that the reason you may not be booking is because you're older. If you're 80 and and a millennial couple clicks with you and you can deliver what they want, they won't think twice about handing you their credit card. Same goes if you're 23.
Showing how your legacy makes a potential client's legacy better is a powerful way to connect with millennial clients and increase your word of mouth.
Originally published May 2012