'Apprentice' Exposure Pays Off for TheKnot.com

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Its use as a marketing tool in the Nov. 11 episode of NBC's "The Apprentice" reality TV show is paying off for TheKnot.com.


The weddings site not only gained 3,600 new registrations from brides-to-be right after the show's broadcast, it also generated interest from vendors in the $30 billion-a-year weddings industry.


"I've got e-mails from so many people," said David Liu, co-founder and CEO of The Knot Inc., New York. "I've got one from someone who's launched a new event-planning company in New York. Another's from wedding toast and vow writers. There's one for wedding vows software and another for personalized, custom-embroidered apparel for brides."


They all want to market through The Knot's lists -- just like team Mosaic did on "The Apprentice." The team spent $1,000 to create an e-mail sent June 9 and ended up selling 27 wedding gowns in four hours, netting a profit of nearly $12,800. By contrast, competing team Apex Corp. sold only two gowns for a profit of less than $1,100.


Of course, many might feel Mosaic had an unfair advantage over Apex. After all, Mosaic member Sandy is a wedding and event planner and runs Distinctive Designs Bridal, a Rockville, MD, bridal salon. She advertises on The Knot.


Still, both teams had gowns set for sale by the time they opened doors for business. What the losing team missed was proper marketing.


The Knot's magazines and 67 city guides offer ZIP code-level and wedding-date-specific targeting for marketers to reach brides-to-be. Many Knotties, as registrants are called, have opted in to receive news from third parties. The Knot crafts the e-mails and sends them on behalf of advertisers at timed intervals.


Exceptions were made for "The Apprentice." The Knot typically sends an e-mail three to four days before an advertiser's event to notify brides-to-be in the targeted area. For the show, it was less than a day's notice for a quick turnaround. The Knot executives were understandably nervous and watched the show's outcome along with the millions of other viewers.


Liu is happy that site registrations have increased during a typically slow month. He also was relieved that "The Apprentice" proved The Knot is a media buy that returns investment.


"What is way up are the inbound e-mails and calls from wedding vendors," he said. "Everyone now wants an e-mail campaign. You send this out, and a day later people are lined up around the block. They sold 12 times the number of dresses in a day. That's a weekend take for half these bridal shops."


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