Modern Marketing

Proposal Videos: Get Your Audience to Say “I Do”


Despite being an immature, cynical 23 year old, I can’t help but be touched by one of the latest YouTube crazes: wedding proposal videos. These videos go incredibly viral. Although I don’t expect marketers to start getting on one knee for all prospective customers (that would be weirdly awesome but simultaneously creepy), I do think marketers have something to learn from these videos.

Here are 3 of my favorite wedding proposal videos, 3 lessons about emotional marketing you can learn from them, and ways you can apply these lessons to your own marketing campaigns.

Be Authentic

Click here to watch “Spencer’s Home Depot Marriage Proposal” on YouTube

Watching someone react with genuine emotion always touches your heart, or in my case, the empty space on the left side of my chest. Although this wedding proposal video was a big production, it was authentic because it brought together regular human beings and their families – check out the parents at 01:34!

When applying this to your own campaigns, create content marketing about real dilemmas that real people face. Show regular human  beings — like your real customers — instead of air brushed androids, so your audience can trust that your product is for them. Dove has done a great job of using real beauty to promote their brand – their Real Beauty Sketches video has over 50 million views.

Have a Story

Click here to watch “Justin and Emily: The Proposal” on YouTube

My favorite part about proposal videos is that they all contain this magical story: a partner is introduced, the other partner professes their love, and then there is the actual proposal itself. People get very creative with how they propose, but the format of proposal videos always follows this same arc.

Give your email marketing continuity with invites, reminders, attendance notifications, and then follow-ups for events or campaigns you are promoting. Your initial emails are like the beginning of a proposal video – you introduce your audience to the characters and plotline. At Marketo, our initial emails set expectations about the type of content we deliver – the kind of partner we’re going to be.

Your call-to-action is the proposal, when you get someone to commit to you. Lastly comes your follow-up emails, which are like the post-proposal kiss – they seal the deal. How you color these emails depends on the creativity of your company, but telling a whole story is always more effective than sending a single email alone.

The Element of Surprise

Click here to watch “Vicky & Jon’s Proposal” on YouTube

This video actually happens to be my cousin’s wedding proposal. Her boyfriend had proposed to her a few years back, but my cousin wasn’t ready. When she was ready, she decided she would propose to him. When more than one person is involved, things don’t necessarily go as planned, but it is often those surprising deviations that makes your story even better.

When my cousin proposed to her boyfriend, he actually said no. As it turned out, he wanted to propose himself. So the two crazy kids ended up both proposing to each other, and they both said yes.

Surprises don’t need to be crazy, in fact most of the time they are incredibly subtle. You can surprise your audience by veering even slightly away from their expectations. In your marketing, you can do this by switching out boring subject lines for something unexpected, or bringing out a surprise influencer at an event. As both a producer and consumer of marketing, I can say my expectations are often set, so it’s the innovators who garner my attention.

Authenticity allows your market to trust you. Having a story allows your customers to engage with you, and the element of surprise brings a breath of fresh air. If you want your marketing to go as viral as these videos did, take a page from their book.