According to The Knot, 96% of couples who planned to wed in 2020 altered their original plans to accommodate evolving COVID conditions and keep health and safety top of mind for guests. Due to that, 88% of couples who decided to move forward with hosting a ceremony and reception in 2020 had to adjust their celebrations after almost everything was nearly finalized and about to take place. (BusinessWire)
For one ActiveCampaign employee, his wedding was rescheduled an astounding four times.
The difficulty of the wedding planning process is a well known phenomenon. It’s been heralded as one of the most stressful, expensive, and time-consuming tasks most people face in their lives. It’s almost as if you could compare it to growing a business from the ground up. While those two things are of course very different from one another, they do have one thing in common: you can find success by using ActiveCampaign.
Yep, I said it, you can use ActiveCampaign to provide amazing customer experiences at scale, and plan a wedding for your nearest and dearest. And that’s exactly what Franco Aguirre did. Franco is an Operations Manager here at ActiveCampaign, and when he started in October of 2020, he was in the throes of wedding planning. He was actually using a spreadsheet to track everything, and it wasn’t until he joined the ActiveCampaign team that he saw there might be a better way to plan a wedding, and it wasn’t what he expected.
“I joined AC right before our original wedding date and we initially had everything organized in a Google Sheet that had something like 50 tabs. But after joining AC I realized we could simplify everything.” – Franco Aguirre, Operations Manager
How can a CRM help when planning a wedding?
Franco’s goals and use of ActiveCampaign were strikingly similar to what we see when we are speaking to new customers about their ideal for success.
- Goal 1: Collect a decent amount of data like RSVP responses, dietary preferences, hotel location, attending with a date or alone, etc.
- Goal 2: Segment the guests based on that data, such as entree selections and wedding related events for select groups.
- Goal 3: Engage with the growing list of guests (which included over 100 out of town guests) and provide frequent and relevant updates like transportation help, ceremony details, and venue guidelines.
So where did he begin? First, he kept it simple, and as planning continued, he added more features and channels to his strategy. Franco set up the ActiveCampaign CRM as the organizational hub where key details and steps for the wedding planning process would live. He had roughly eight different pipelines that all spoke to one another and organized the attendees into buckets based on their activity — who is attending welcome drinks versus the post-wedding brunch, what did guests select as their entree, and more.
Next, he added in automation workflows and email campaigns to engage with the guests depending on the data in the pipelines. Instead of sending several blanket emails to all guests, he tailored the emails and messages using templates, so guests received personalized and relevant information and he didn’t spend too long on every message.
Tags and the mobile app are here to save the day
Staying organized over the months it takes to plan a wedding is a feat in and of itself, so to make sure nothing fell through the cracks, Franco leveraged Tags and the ActiveCampaign mobile app. In the last 2 weeks leading up to the wedding, Franco was getting about 1 guest cancelling every day, which was definitely a logistical challenge since you typically have everything finalized with the venue and caterers before that window occurs.
Each day, they were re-arranging seating assignments, checking the meal selections, figuring out ways to meet the minimum with the venue (a big challenge due to COVID), and sending updated rosters to the wedding coordinator. Having all the information in tags helped Franco be able to look at individual contact information from his phone, and immediately be able to make decisions on the fly.
“The one thing we definitely underestimated was how much was needed to be done in the last few days leading up to the wedding… The whole idea of allowing your automations to do their thing really hit home for me here. It was a HUGE burden off our shoulders when everything was running on its own. Without AC I would’ve definitely had more grey hairs in my wedding pictures.”
As they got closer to the date and had a good handle on the final attendance numbers, they started having fun with tags to add an even more personalized touch. Bachelor & Bachelorette Party attendees, undergrad and business school friends, and families were all given different tags and sent personalized messages throughout the week leading up to the big day.
Personalized videos to top it all off
Integrations are apparently the unsung hero of planning a party for a couple hundred people, and in this case, Franco used two powerful native integrations on top of the work in the ActiveCampaign platform to make the experience better for all involved.
First, he used the Bonjoro integration to send personalized video messages to guests. Bonjoro helps companies engage with their audiences at different touchpoints, and that’s exactly what Franco used it for, but for wedding guests. The whole process was so easy to create, and with the native connection with ActiveCampaign, he was able to seamlessly add in the personalized messages into different campaigns and automation workflows.
“I wanted to make sure we could both enjoy the wedding and give our guests the attention they deserved. Bonjoro helped us send personalized messages throughout the week at different touchpoints.”
Franco and his wife had seen other couples who spent a lot of time talking to guests during the reception, and didn’t get a chance to enjoy their dinner or the dancing portion quite as much. By using Bonjoro, they were able to enjoy every moment of the weekend and make sure guests were engaged and included. This was especially high on their list as so many traveled from so far away and kept up with the ever-changing date. Guests loved this added touch, and felt that they had a front row seat leading up to the wedding.
Franco also leveraged Typeform to easily gather data on the guests attending the wedding. Most of the guest list was from outside Chicago, international, or had moved in the past year. They needed a bit more flexibility and quick response times, so they turned to another powerful tool with a native connection to ActiveCampaign.
Franco created an online RSVP form and used the integration to create guests as “opportunities” in different pipelines within the CRM. Funnily enough, the Typeform actually became a bit of an issue, in that guests loved the experience so much they would fill out the form more than once. But some quick work within the CRM pipelines helped Franco remove duplicates and ensure all data was up-to-date.
Hindsight is always 20/20, and many couples look back on their wedding wishing they would have done a couple things differently, but in the end the day was a success. For Franco, he said that one thing he would’ve loved to include in the wedding planning process would be to leverage ActiveCampaign’s SMS functionality to send quick, timely messages as part of the automation workflows, but that in the end, the entire process was seamless and fun for him and his guests.
We love all of the interesting ways our platform and functionality are used in everyday life, and so we invite you to share your fun, unique, unorthodox ways that you have used ActiveCampaign! You could even be featured in your very own spotlight or customer story, so let us know!