In Poor Taste at Best
September 27th, 2012

There are days when it seems like the 1950s were so long ago.  I mean, I haven’t gone to a sock hop in ages!  But then, just when I was starting to get nostalgic I was provided a comforting dose of antiquation via Nanny and TheKnot.com.

I’m kidding, a little bit.

As you may recall from posts earlier this year, Nanny got married last spring.  Like countless brides before her (myself included) she used TheKnot.com to keep many aspects of her wedding planning efforts organized and on track.  The wedding was gorgeous and perfect and so suited to her and her husband.  They’ve been happily trotting along as newlyweds for six months now, so TheKnot.com decided it was time to check in with her and… suggest that maybe it was time for her to start thinking about getting pregnant!

Pushing parenthood on newlyweds just to drum up business for your baby planning website is in poor taste at best.  Nanny was irked, and rightfully so.  I, on the other hand, was completely perplexed.  Who decides to get pregnant because a website suggests that it’s time?  Seriously.  Who?

The marketer in me understands the organic growth strategy.  Get more business out of your existing customers.  It’s a solid strategy as it is always easier to keep an existing customer than to find a new one.  But for websites like TheKnot there is a relatively short shelf life for its value proposition – usually no more than a year.  And if anything is as prone to make a woman feel neurotic, out of control, and in need of assistance in planning as a wedding, it’s a pregnancy.  Nevertheless, I still question the tact at play here.

I can think of so many interesting ways for a site like this to try to maintain a relationship with its client base.  Reminders of monthly anniversaries and creative ideas to celebrate the little markers en route to the first anniversary.  Wedding-related holiday gift ideas.  And perhaps a cute, only-slightly-forward note around the one-year mark that says something like:

 We try not to bother you too much because we know you’re quite busy in your life as a happy newlywed, and we would never want to be pushy.  We just want you to know that when the time is right, if you want help planning for a baby we’d love to hold your hand along the way.

Competing for the mindshare of busy young women is no small feat.  I grant them that.  But just because something is hard doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still require finesse.  The 1950s were great in a lot of ways.  But women have more options on the table today than mere procreation.  TheKnot would do well to remember that.

4 Responses to “In Poor Taste at Best”

  1. Holly Says:

    Obviously if it were up to The Knot, I’d have a fourth grader about now! And I guess I just wonder if they really need to remain that “relevant” to their wedding customers. I get the idea of wanting to keep them around for some reason, but they’re going to have new couples getting engaged daily who will flock to them no matter what. This is crazy town to me. I would be LESS likely to visit their baby-planning sites if they offended me by suggesting that it’s any of their business when or if I get pregnant!

  2. Gale Says:

    Holly – I think Nanny had the same reaction.

  3. BigLittleWolf Says:

    I think your note was lovely. If it was anything more aggressive than that, “irked” wouldn’t cover it.

    I’m all for the classic upselling, but given the gargantuan wedding market – and for that matter, consider the gay wedding market to come – isn’t that sufficient???

  4. Kristen @ Motherese Says:

    Oh my goodness, that “reminder” would have made me unsubscribe forthwith. (And I too used and loved The Knot’s website during my wedding planning process.)

    I’m with BLW: your 1st anniversary note is terrific. Maybe you should send it along to their marketing department to show them how it could be done.