Videomaker Forums readerEd Rogers recently sent me a message regarding my response on "First Wedding Demo Video" saying, "I think that anyone wishing to lure the untapped market needs tosomehow advertise in places that future brides visit. Attending bridalexpositions, leaving business cards at jewelery stores, flower shops andbridal shops would seem to be a great way to get your name out there."
I agree with Ed's basic statement/philosophy there, but experience has taught me that a few of his thoughts won't work. I'll get to WHY later.
Essentially, what I focused on in the previous post Ed mentions, is the FACT that, as (TALLWATER) stated in his response on "First Wedding Demo Video", talking about creating a wedding video demo "...making some sort of video that would promote wedding video in general." AND, as (Wayne Williams) said on the same post: "There is no shortage of wedding videographers, but you will generally find most of the business going to the top 5% and the rest picking up the scraps," independent professional wedding video services providers are all fighting over a very small percentage of the available bridal market the 20% give or take who DO WANT VIDEO!
This is what I call "lazy marketing" and provides a poor return on the time, money and effort spent pursuing there's simply too many guys with cameras (DSLR or VIDEO) out there, all trying to sell their services to the same small piece of the bridal video services pie. Fact of the matter is the bridal market they're all pursuing is comprised of the ones who KNOW they want video.
This creates a serious challenge among the huge community of full-time and part-tine professionals (self-professed or otherwise, experienced or otherwise); beginners, amateurs, weekenders, supplemental income generators, hobbyists, enthusiasts and a LOT of people who, believe it or not, do it for the "fun" of it, not for ANY kind of compensation. Yes, they do exist, those who do this for free, and the sad, SAD truth of it is many of them produce a far better quality video/production than many of those wanting to get paid.
Enough about that. What was wrong with Ed's thoughts about dropping off business cards at "jewelry stores, flower shops and bridal shops" NOTHING is the short answer, but ...
... just about as quickly as you leave a stack of those business cards on a counter, shelf or display, management at the establishment rakes 'em up and tosses them into the trash. WHY? The same reason brides are almost reluctant to even deal with videographers. MOST of us come across like ambulance chasers, or worse, vultures. We're all competing with such a heavy load of competition that many of us are DESPERATE! We'll do, try and attempt virtually anything, including, again sad to say, "claim jumping" in an effort to win over, sway or talk a potential bridal client into using us instead of "that other guy." And if you AREN'T scrapping with the competition, if you're trying to be an honest, professionally decent sort, you're not going to close as many sales.
Most of the businesses focused on the bridal community today jewelry stores, bridal shops, tux rental shops, bakeries and florists, etc. now charge fees for enterprising video producers who want exposure in their establishments. Many bridal shops will screen these videographers, ask for and contact references, and maintain a strict sense of professionalism when it comes to who they're willing to promote. In addition to fees, many of them also demand a percentage of the bookings resulting from their "paid cooperation" with you. The age of free promotion and referral is dead. Too many substandard folks have rocked the boat and now these shops take measures to protect themselves from the bad publicity that comes from being associated with the riffraff.
So, what's a poor boy (or girl) to do? Like Edalso said, honestly: "I haven't been aggressive. I try to keep my overheadas small as possible." And I cannot fault him there. The expense of promoting, marketing, advertising, and dealing with other industry services in order to "get the word out" is overwhelming. Sometimes a certain producer and other bridal industry owner CLICK and hit it off and a "marriage made in heaven" is born. Not often, my friends.
THE ANSWER? Aside from competing on price, quality, turnaround (a real winner once your FAST turnaround with GREAT quality is proven and the referrals start as a result), creativity, shear overwhelming production value, gimme's or more, videographers who are NOT in the top 5/10 percentile of professional "in demand" wedding video producers need to band together, form a group that shares resources to develop not only a GOTCHA promo video that makes brides who DO NOT WANT VIDEO reconsider their reasons why not, but engage, invest and persist in an ongoing program that makes more brides aware of the reality a video of their wedding event represents.
Something that focuses on the REALITY that once it's over, the ice sculptures melt, the flowers wilt, the cake disappears and the chair covers are folded and carted away by those people with the huge catering trucks. Once the babies start coming, the grandchildren are born, the aging process gains ground, and those old photos fade, or the digital ones get lost or damaged or the files become corrupted YOUR VIDEO REMAINS!
I've hammered, as I've said in many posts about this over the years, on a need for an ongoing AWARENESS program that promotes valid arguments to convince that 78% or higher group of brides who DO NOT WANT video, that they should, maybe, reconsider. I've hammered on this to wedding associations, on forums and at PVNs and PVAs until I've given up (or so I thought) then somebody like Ed sends me a message and gets me started all over again.
It is so frustrating that as HUGE as the group of wedding video producers on this planet is there's not enough of them that will band together and develop two things that will start swaying the "NO VIDEO" brides toward YES: An ongoing branding/awareness promotional program like "Got Milk" "Where's the Beef" or "Can You Hear Me Now?" and an eye-popping promo video that hammers home the difference between ONLY photos and having a living, breathing, professionally produced, video of the event.