By Amanda Veum
Many women dream of their wedding day from as far back as they can remember, letting nothing stand in their way of a pristine, gorgeous and perfect day.
Now the Milwaukee company WeDo aims to capture wedding memories — from engagement through honeymoon — by creating a mobile, group photo-sharing platform that brings all the visual wedding ideas and memories into a collaborative mobile experience.
The wedding industry is an $80-billion to $100-billion industry with an average of $27,000 spent per wedding. Brian Mayer, founder of WeDo in Milwaukee, capitalized on this analysis. He wanted to simplify the planning experience and rid the idea of disposable cameras laying around at weddings and replace them with a smartphone app.
“The mission of WeDo is to make wedding planning easier for brides and more profitable for participating vendors by establishing a platform for wedding commerce, connecting brides with their planning partners and other brides, and vendors using a mobile, social, photo-sharing tool,” Mayer said.
After 10 months and a partnership with Translator LLC, a digital marketing firm and product studio, WeDo is scheduled to launch in January 2013. With 11 years of experience himself, Mayer has secured more than 50 years of combined experience in go-to-market strategy, user experience, marketing, design, web development and community management.
“Our short-term goal with WeDo has been product development, building awareness and growing our user base,” Mayer said. “We have a very aggressive marketing plan to successfully launch by January.”
What sets WeDo apart from its competitors? With the increased use of smartphones, social networking and photo sharing, brides-to-be have many tools and services at their fingertips. However, none of them cater to their specific needs.
“Brides need a single platform that allows them to plan their wedding collaboratively, collect ideas from the Internet and other brides, automatically combine guest photos, and connect with local vendors, all on their smartphone,” emphasized Mayer. “Brides need WeDo.”
Fortunately, WeDo does not face many direct competitors. “Our biggest competitor is simply the old way of doing things,” Mayer said. The majority of competitors for WeDo are on a single, core feature such as real-time event photo sharing.
Mayer considers his team’s customer-centric culture a key resource and factor of success. “Our technology could be duplicated, but our team’s enthusiasm for and ability to deliver a unique, compelling and remarkable user experience is not easily duplicated,” he said.
Investors are also crucial for the future success of WeDo. “We need investors to accelerate a national launch and for bridal show marketing,” Mayer stressed. “This will help us establish WeDo as a global wedding brand.”
In the overall large sum spent on weddings, the fee for WeDo is minimal. “Based on our competitors and market research, consumers place a value of about $50 to $100 on the group photo sharing and collection service,” Mayer noted.
Although the revenue model is subject to change, WeDo will begin by offering the planning tool for free and charging a small amount for the events. This will lower the barrier to entry, allowing use at an earlier stage, and building trust in the product to be used on the big day.
The future is looking bright for WeDo.
“Overall, I’m happy with the result of WeDo,” Mayer said. “In five years, as we move to smaller, niche-based social networks, I can see WeDo as a global wedding brand or possibly acquired by a major technology or media company and integrated into an existing brand.”
— Veum is a student in the UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communication.