» What’s Next in Tech: 2015 and Beyond!

Tech WebinarYesterday, we hosted our monthly educational webinar for premium members. WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly shared his insights into the past, present and future of technology. This annual series is always one of our most fun and interesting webinars!

From wearable tech to the internet of things and health improvements, we have a lot of exciting things to look forward to both in business and everyday life.

Find below a snapshot of Sonny’s top 10 emerging tech trends, and be sure to check out the full webinar any time in our Education Center!

  • Social: Social media is still a place where our audiences spend a lot of their time. However, the focus of sharing is shifting from text updates and tweets to sharing photos and video on emerging social sites such as Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat.
  • Mobile: Our smartphones are continuing to evolve, and will take over our desktops. Screens are getting larger, and wireless energy is being developed to make us fully accessible at all times. It will be easier than ever to run your business on-the-go!
  • Payments: Devices are going to take the place of our money and wallets. Smart technology and secure apps such as Coin and iPay are being created and rolled out to the masses to make payments seamless without paper and plastic.
  • AR/VR: This stands for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. These are both tools that can help you learn more about the world around you, and make your life easier by integrating technology into our daily lives and work through a wearable device, or integrating with our tech like phones and tablets.

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» Pro Forum Buzz: Smartphone Vows, Late Payments & More

The WeddingWire Pro Forums are a great place to meet and connect with other Wedding pros across the country to grow your network. Every day, Pros are talking about a variety of topics, from client concerns to professional advice and best practices.

Pro Forum Buzz: Smartphone Vows, Late Payments & MoreHere’s what Pros are talking about this month in the WeddingWire Pro Forums!

Smartphone vows

How do you feel about the couple (or officiant!) reading from a smartphone during the wedding ceremony? Is it “tech savvy” and eco-friendly, or just a distraction?

Share your thoughts >>

Dealing with late payments

What do you do when a client is late on their balance payment? Do you tack on a late fee or reserve the right to cancel the contract?

Weigh in now >>

Venue photo shoots

How much should a venue charge to rent out grounds for photo shoots? Photographers and venues alike weigh in about an acceptable fee for using a venue’s grounds for non-wedding photo shoots.

What’s your opinion? >>

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» Choosing the Right Small Business Tech Solutions

man and plan concept on wallAs engagement season continues in full swing, many Wedding Pros are receiving an influx of inquiries and an increase in bookings! If you’re feeling inefficient and overwhelmed, it may be time to look at the technology your business is using to manage these clients.

Premium WeddingWire Pros have access to all the tools necessary to run their businesses, from client management tools to secure client websites to marketing solutions. If you’re considering upgrading your membership with WeddingWire or even looking for other small business tech solutions, consider these four factors!

Accessibility

The tool or solution you choose should be accessible by multiple people from a variety of places. Gone are the days where software had to be installed on one computer, for one person. Your technology should allow you to do what you need to do, when you need to do it, or delegate to another member of your staff. You should also consider mobile capabilities when choosing a solution, as mobile devices and tablets are quickly phasing out desktops.

Security

Related to the point of accessibility, security is a very important consideration when choosing technology for your business. Any client data, financial information, or employee information should be kept safe and secure within your platform. If you choose a platform that is through a partner (like WeddingWire!), your information is often more secure than choosing a standalone software, as those systems will take extra precaution when provided a secure system.

Customer Service

Another important consideration when deciding on your small business’ tech solutions is customer service. If you should have a problem, it’s reassuring to know that someone will be available to answer your questions. The technology you choose will be a very important part of your business and will help you tremendously to improve your productivity, so you’ll want to make sure that the relationship with the provider is strong.

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» Key Takeaways: What’s Next in Tech

Key Takeaways: What's Next in TechWebinar Recap!

This week, WeddingWire CMO Sonny Ganguly presented our monthly webinar, What’s Next in Tech! Sonny shared his top predictions for the future of technology – and how they may impact your business through next year and beyond.

During the webinar, Sonny shared lots of surprising tech trends, the latest exciting new technologies and how they may impact our daily lives and businesses in the future.  Below are his top four tech recommendations to keep in mind as we consider what may be coming next in our technology-focused and fast paced world.

1) Change is the only constant: Technology is evolving at a rapid pace. Don’t get too comfortable with your technology of today – and be sure to keep yourself and your business on par with what is happening in the technology space of today to stay competitive and tech-forward with your business. Remember, when it comes to technology, the only barrier is imagination!

2) Social expansion is on the rise: Social media can no longer be considered a fad. In the past few years, the keys to social media success have been YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. However, emerging social networks are growing fast, including Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr – and your target audiences are spending a lot of time on these sites. Consider expanding your business’ social networks to reach more new clients!

3) We are in the mobile revolution: Within the next 9 months, there will be more mobile devices than people on earth, and we are quickly shifting to a ‘mobile first’ world where people are actively opening email, searching the web and sending inquires on phones and tablets over desktops. How does your website look on a mobile device? Mobile and tablet friendly web design is crucial to business success from clients searching for you from their devices. If you haven’t mobilized your site, get started with the Mobile Website Creator tool and have an easy-to-use and visually appealing mobile business site in minutes.

4) It’s time to prepare for the internet of things: By 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices. These will include self-driving cars, health-monitoring watches, smart eyewear and more. Our everyday technologies will also simultaneously ‘talk’ to one another. For example, if you get an email that your morning meeting was delayed, your alarm clock could be notified to sleep in 15 minutes later, and your commute could be adjusted for your car’s GPS to take into account a different traffic pattern automatically.

Learn more about all the emerging technology and these big four trends by viewing the full webinar! Also, all of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for premium Pros if you want to check out past webinars you may have missed.

Stay tuned for information about next month’s webinar: Top Business Resolutions 2014!

» Join us at “Wedding Technology 2013…Powering Your Business”

WeddingWire and the Association of Wedding Professionals (AWP) of Greater Washington, DC, are kicking off 2013 in a powerful way!

On Tuesday, January 22nd at 6pm, AWP will gather for their first meeting of the New Year, Wedding Technology 2013…Powering Your Business, in Springfield, VA. Members and guests will have the opportunity to network, and WeddingWire’s Chief Marketing Officer, Sonny Ganguly, will give an educational presentation.

About the event:

With each year, we are introduced to new trends, sites, and applications that can seem a bit overwhelming. In 2013, social media tools like Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Google Analytics will continue to evolve as we try to keep up with them. However, these very tools can be used to establish an online presence while developing a strong brand identity with your audience.  From improving your SEO, to tackling the future of mobile and social media, AWP and WeddingWire are joining forces to help business owners keep up with the rapid pace of new technology.

Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC Pros: don’t miss out! Join other local Wedding Professionals on Tuesday, January 22nd at 6pm at the Hilton Springfield to learn more about online marketing and hear Sonny’s “tech forecast” for 2013. Registration is still available, but sign up soon! Prices will increase after January 18th. We look forward to seeing you there!

» WeddingWire Tested: User Approved

Develop a strong online presence and stay on top of your business with these WeddingWire tested tools!

From organization and social sharing to analytics and design, these tools will help you take your business to the next level and make your work life a bit easier, while saving you valuable time!

Evernote

Evernote is a virtual notepad service that enables you to save, organize and share notes, images and ideas for future use. You can keep your notes in organized categories, and they can be shared with others. You quickly and easily can access Evernote from your computer, internet browser, and mobile application from your smartphone or tablet.

Wunderlist

Wunderlist is a free, easy to use, collaborative task manager. Keep your personal and professional life on track with this tool, which is able to sync both “to do” lists, and gives the ability to share individual tasks and full lists with other – making collaborating easy!  In additional to accessing the task manager from a PC or Mac, Wunderlist works across popular mobile platforms, including iPhone, Android and iPad, so you can access all your items on the go!

99 Designs

99 Designs is the #1 marketplace for graphic design, and is a resource for basic design needs that you would like to outsource. This is a great tool for logo design, web design and collateral items. You simply create a contest for your design needs and budget, and designers compete to win your business, with your input.

Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg provides web analytics and usability tools that allow you to visually understand your website. A heatmap is an easy way to understand what users do on your site through a visual representation of where users click and actions they take. Crazy Egg’s Confetti feature allows you to distinguish all the clicks you get on your site segmented by referral sources, search terms and more.

» WeddingWire Takes Part in the TechCrunch DC Mini Meet-Up!

TechCrunch hosted their first Mini Meet-Up in Washington, DC last evening, an exciting event established to bring members of the local technology community together to share ideas and network with one another.

WeddingWire was thrilled to have members of our Executive, Sales and Marketing teams attend, and to have the opportunity to sponsor this kick-off event! It was great to meet other local entrepreneurs, startup employees, journalists and members of the tech community in DC!

Similar TechCrunch Mini Meet-Ups will be taking place in other cities in the near future including Richmond, Raleigh, Durham, Chicago, Atlanta and more.

Read more about the TechCrunch DC Mini Meet-Up here, and check out some photos below!

» Top 5 Free Online Tools to Help Run Your Business

At WeddingWire, we are always looking for new and effective tools to help companies run as smoothly as possible. From finances to surveys, see below for some of our favorite free tools to help you stay organized, engaged with your audience and on top of your business!

Mint.com

Mint.com is a great online tool for financial management. You can sync your expenses, bank accounts, credit cards, loans and more to keep track of your spending, funds and budgets. Mint automatically categorizes your transactions and keeps you updated on how you are spending, as well as providing assistance to set your budget and savings goals.

Evernote

Evernote is a virtual notepad service that enables you to save, organize and share notes, images and ideas for future use. You can keep your notes in organized categories,  and they can be shared  with others. You quickly and easily can access Evernote from your computer, internet browser, and mobile application from your smartphone or tablet.

HootSuite

HootSuite is a tool designed to help you manage your social networks including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Simultaneously, you can track your followers, mentions and personal accounts all in one place, in real time. Multiple team members can manage the social media accounts, without having to share passwords and login information. You can also tweet and post directly from HootSuite, so no need to go back and forth between your accounts or miss any important mentions! HootSuite conveniently allows you to schedule outgoing messages, so you don’t always have to be online to be posting relevant information and connecting with your audience.

Prezi

Prezi is a dynamic web-based powerpoint presentation tool designed to create a more engaging presentation experience. Self described as “a cloud-based presentation software that opens up a new world between whiteboards and slides,” this tool is perfect for a creative presentation. You are able to add in multimedia features to highlight your business or show video from a recent event which adds color and personality to your presentation. Prezi is an “idea” based blank canvas, so you are not limited to traditional slides. The tool compiles all your ideas, which enables you to organize and control the direction of the slideshow.

SurveyMonkey

Looking for quick feedback on a recent event or interested in conducting business research from your clients? SurveyMonkey is an easy to use tool that enables you to create quick, customized surveys online that you can distribute and track results in real time. SurveyMonkey also provides convenient tools to help you analyze your results such as charts and filters.

 

Have you used any of these tools for your business? Are there any other free online tools that you would suggest? We would love to hear from you!

» What’s Next in Tech

Yesterday, WeddingWire CMO, Sonny Ganguly, presented ‘What’s Next in Tech’ as part of our monthly webinar series. Each one hour webinar for upgraded WeddingWire Pros is designed to inform you about the latest industry trends and give you the tools you need to grow your business. This week Sonny helped listeners learn:

  • What’s the next social media
  • How mobile is changing the way we do business
  • 20 technology trends that will shape the world
  • How to stay on top of these trends
  • What you need to do today to be ready for tomorrow

All of our past webinars are available in our Education Center for upgraded Pros. In January, Sonny will discuss the Top Marketing Resolutions for 2012.

» Sonny’s Top 10 Predictions for the Future of Technology

This post was written by Sonny Ganguly, CMO of WeddingWire, you can follow him on Twitter @sonnyg. A full version of this article is available in the Education Center. Sonny leads WeddingWire’s marketing strategy, customer acquisition, and business development.
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Wayne Gretzky, one of the greatest hockey players, said, “A good hockey players plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” The same goes for our businesses and the impact of technology. A good wedding business plays where technology is today. A great wedding business plays where technology is going to be!

Here is a quick recap of my Top 10 Predictions for the Future of Technology:

» Augmented Reality? Not Yet, But Just As Cool…

This post written by Tim Chi, CEO of WeddingWire. Follow him on Twitter @wwtim. Tim first developed the concept of WeddingWire shortly after getting married in 2005 (to his lovely wife Tracey). As an experienced entrepreneur, Tim sought out to assemble a team and build a technology that would help both engaged couples and vendors in the wedding industry.
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At WeddingWire, we spend a good deal of time following the latest trends in technology…not because we have to, more so because we love to.  Last year, we started to see the first batch of Augmented Reality applications deploy in the iPhone and Android marketplaces.  For those not familiar with AR, here’s a quick definition:

Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or an indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input, such as sound or graphics. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real-world with a simulated one.

source: Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality

Two examples of this are the Yelp App for iPhone and the Google Goggles application for iPhone and Android.  In a nutshell, here’s how it works:

1) You start up the application, which enables the camera on your phone
2) You hold your phone up to the street that you are on
3) Based on your geo-location and the internal compass, the application overlays customer reviews on top of the image that you are viewing, bringing together the real-world image AND the digital consumer reviews.
4) As you walk down the street, new data appears!

Pretty cool right?  And while it hasn’t taken off just quite yet (still in “technology enthusiast” mode as Geoffrey Moore would say), the concept behind meshing real world and computer generated data is powerful indeed.

So while we are all waiting for this to become mainstream, here is an app that recently got coverage that isn’t Augmented Reality, but I would argue, just as cool and immediately applicable.  It’s called Pixelate and here is the quick synopsis.

While its not magic, it’s close to it – Pixelate 2.0 landed in the iTunes store today. The app, which is yet another step towards the future, allows you to try out colors of paint on your walls, or clothes or what ever you’d like to change the color of by selecting an image, selecting a color and and gradually using the UI to paint one color over the other.

http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/17/pixelate-2-0/

Give it a shot!