By Paul Pannone
eWedNewz continues our watch on wedding industry fairy dust in marketing, advertising, bridal shows and general information. The impact of our investigation shows up in how some legitimate marketers are changing their presentations, while total Hucksters we’re watching struggle to keep up a cash-flow. The challenge will become harder, as most businesses bring ad/marketing in-house via Social Networking but there will always be a “market” for marketers– because there is a sucker born every minute.
Picking up on eWN reports and the changes that have taken place are wedding analysts like Christine Boulton. Numerous discussions with Boulton involving the unlikely success of national websites and advertising organizations continue. Boulton and others keep their audience updated on their blogs.
“I am seeing the localization reason. Bridal marketing for most of us has always worked best when it is local. Brides look to the national media for idea, but to local for vendors,” according to one of Boulton’s posts.
eWN has watched the recent falloff of national organizations like Get Married. Reports confirmed by ex-employees including high-level executives claim the company was less than honest with advertisers.
“The website had no traffic; some months we had to buy leads (from other sources) and send them to our customers, just to make it look good,” allege several sources that were fired from Get Married.
Discussions with, Stacie Francombe, founder of the company, did not include her time there, wanting to move on and talk about her own career– post Get Married. Francombe served in various positions including Executive Producer until her departure.
“I really don’t want to talk about them; I’d rather focus on what I’m doing now, at this latest stage of my life,” she told eWedNewz.
Francombe’s latest venture called Inspire Smart Success departs from the national, cookie cutter approach she developed in her tenure at Get Married. Instead, Francombe “mentors” business owners at variable fees.
“Because of the nature of the business and the time involved to create success, I didn’t want to be limited to a price sheet. There are various price structures for businesses, according to the services required,” she told eWedNewz.
According to Francombe pricing structure predicates on intensity of service and knowledge she brings to her clients. Cost could be as little as several hundred dollars a month to several thousand for her “mentoring”. ewedNewz questioned Francombe on the use of the word that became the focus of this story.
Webster’s dictionary defines the word mentor as a wise and trusted guide and advisor. In the weeks of discussions in the development of this story, eWedNewz asked various sources their definition of mentoring and found similar descriptions to Webster’s definition. At no time was the exchange of money ever mentioned.
“I struggled with that word; mentor. I didn’t want to be referred to as a coach, or consultant, or advisor. So, yes, I decided on the word mentor,” Francombe told eWedNewz.
Members of the Wedding Water Cooler discussion group brought up the topic leaving some of the elder members to object to the use of the word– for profit. Other members of WWC looking at facets of Francombe’s current business direction offered their own opinions and left them on her blog. For the moment, eWNz focuses on the part of Francombe’s business she monikers “mentoring”.
“The word mentor means to freely give of one’s knowledge and answer questions to the best of their ability. The word exudes high standards and appreciation for a collective body of work and life’s experiences. To be considered a mentor is the highest honor bestowed on anyone. To me the exchange of money or commercial use of the word cheapens the concept,” according to Jim Duhe. Duhe himself, called a mentor by several members of the wedding industry, fully understands the implication and loose application of the word.
To recap, after several attempts, eWedNewz learned Francombe charges on average, $1,200 per month to be a mentor. According to Francombe, it depends on the company’s size and the amount of services required, whether the charges are greater or less. Francombe claims $1,200 per month is a moderate fee.We invited Francombe to join the Wedding Water Cooler discussion group. Her acceptance and participation is pending.
eWedNewz continues to watch all other wedding marketers, including Francombe.
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