Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › General › Video and Film Discussion › Reaching Brides who DON’T Want Video!
- July 9, 2012 at 8:06 AM #43393
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.
Interesting viewpoint, Earl. In the years before we stopped doing wedding videography one of the most common reasons given us by brides who said they didn’t want their wedding videoed was cost. They just couldn’t see the value, no matter how it was explained to them using the selling points you describe. Brides live in the hear and now, it seems, not thinking much about what the future will hold. Ten years later I still hear cost vs. value as the primary negative reason.
Over a pint or two one evening a fellow videographer jokingly proposed a model for wedding video that I’ve never seen anyone attempt but which, from a business point of view made perfect sense to me and still does. It taps directly into the “it costs too much” potential market.
Instead of charging $1500 to $3000 for a beautifully produced wedding video of the pre-ceremony, ceremony, reception and countless interviews, why not charge a couple of hundred dollars for a well shot but unedited DVD of just the ceremony? The way my friend imagined it, the company owner would pay a videographer a good wage — say $35-40 per hour — for four hours of setup, tear down and shooting. The videographer would shoot the ceremony, using wireless mics on the groom and officiant, and record the ceremony directly to DVD. At the end of the ceremony he’d hand the DVD to the bride and go home. (This, by the way, is exactly what we do with deposition videos, so there’s excellent precedent; heck, if it’s good enough for high-priced lawyers it must be good enough for mere brides and grooms!)
Total charge: $300. The net: $150-160 for the shooter, $140-150 for the company owner, whose only involvement in the proceedings would have been to book the wedding, schedule his shooters and pre-print a nice cover on the DVD disc.
My friend estimated that in our market area a business such as this could easily net the company owner $1500 per weekend and employ 10 videographers who otherwise would have been home watching NFL highlights. At the end of the 15 to 20 week wedding season this amounts to some serious money and leaves the business owner largely free of stress.
The immediate reaction to my friend’s proposal was cries round the table of “Bottom feeder! You’ll bring down the industry, etc.” But if, as you point out, only a small percentage of brides are willing to pay top dollar, why not go after the others on their own terms? “Your perception is that video is of limited value? o.k., I’ll provide it at a limited price: 1% of your $20,000 budget instead of 10%.”
Both my friend and I left wedding videography behind us not long after that, turning to more lucrative and far less stressful video pursuits. But we both still believe it’s a potentially lucrative wedding video model, one someone really should take a shot at.
Did you get ANY sleep last night 😉
Seriously, thanks for answering my request. You’ve addressed my main question and opened up free dialog for everyone.
It’s inconceivable to me that the Wedding & Event Videographers Association (WEVA) hasn’t put together anything for its members. I mean, I would think that the combination of dues and their talent pool would have resulted in the best ever, nationally televised, Wedding Video promotion. The answer is probably that we are a solitary bunch of artists (as the VM Profile feature states).
Jack’s comment, regarding his conversation about value pricing is also very relevant…It’s becoming reality! I perceive that people on Craigslist are trying (perhaps succeeding) to take advantage of the “starving artists”. The result may very well drag the entire industry to a new paradigm. Is it “Bottom-feeding” to accept these contracts? No, you gotta do what you gotta do to survive. In addition, technological advances have opened the floodgates of aspiring videographers. That said, it makes resources like these forums, Videomaker magazine, WEVA and others so much more important for people who are serious and dedicated.
As I mentioned in my PM to Earl, I’d love to create an advertisement that exemplifies the value of a professional wedding video. I was thinking of a montage of poorly shot videos (I don’t know where I’d acquire them) interspersed with shots of well-done, not choreographed, wedding videos. Again, I don’t know where I’d get these shots, other than my personal collection. I’m certain we, as a collective whole, could come up with these types of clips. They would have to be accompanied by release forms from the videographers and their subjects though. This is just one idea.
Earl’s ideas of a promotional video and a formal group, devoted to the promotion of wedding videographers, are great ones. WEVA fills a particular niche but it doesn’t do enough to change the perception of the 90% of brides to invest in documenting the most important day of their lives. Perhaps we also need to figure out a way to appeal to grooms as well…
Just think about it: a group of 300 committed wedding video producers investing $15 a month x 12 months = $180 each x 300, would generate $54,000.
That would set up a central website linked to a branding awareness campaign that features development of a promotional DVD (yes, I have a concept that I believe would be awesome if brought to fruition); development of a postcard that could be used to send to not only organizers of bridal fairs and events nationwide, but to lists acquired from various bridal fairs attended by the membership; featured clips from each participating videographer in the coalition/organization/cooperative; and LINKS to/from each participant on the website, backlinking to their websites.
For starters, there should be enough left over to pick a national publication for running a monthly ad (small, granted, certainly not half- or full-page, and probably not in full color) but something that would advocate the group and wedding video production services as “all that and a bag of chips” other members of the wedding videographer community would benefit from it from the general branding & awareness, but the cooperative would benefit even more in that each member is listed, linked and connected via all marketing materials, promoting themselves individually AND the cooperative at bridal fairs and other events in which they participate, and be included in all marketing materials going out to those other wedding service providers, from bridal shops and tux rental shops, to jewelers, printers, florists, caterers, event planners, venues and more.
It is possible that such a cooperative could grow in membership with all dues going to maintenance of the promotional program, procurement of the necessary marketing materials and related costs, and a small stipend to whomever takes on the task of maintaining the books, the website, the links and development of promotional materials and content.
Your idea has merit. WEVA doesn’t seem to offer what you’re proposing. Other types of wedding websites typically have videographers as an afterthought – and charge them exorbitant fees. I am particularly interested in the method of including the featured clips from each of the members.
What is your vision for the DVD?How would the group be organized (corporation, LLC)? Do you have a website style/layout in mind?
TWO videos: one for the purpose of establishing wedding video as a DESIRED option for ALL brides (branding along the lines of Got Milk, Where’s the Beef, etc.); the other for general demo purposes, as well as continuing the branding and awareness thrust, both to be featured on the cooperative’s website landing page … first thing inquiring brides would see, with minimal rhetoric and easy, simple navigation.
VIDEO ONE: It would be GREAT, but indescribably expensive, to have a REAL GENUINE actor (male/female) but there are probably numerous “look alike” personalities with whom a cooperative could bargain to get them as talent.
Camera opens on theater curtains, pulls back as curtains open and movie begins. Front row seat silhouettes with talent in center seat. Emotionally charged wedding video shot of groom breaking into tears as he sees bride coming down the aisle. He is overcome with emotion and it shows. Cut to face of talent in front row, center, reacting, a tear escapes. Back to screen where the emotion plays out, cut to bride, cut to talent with HUGE smile, BIG SCORE that has been playing comes up, then out.
Cut to talent, back to camera, closing stage curtains in background, turns, arm over back of seats, cocks a look at camera: “Now! Show me YOUR wedding video.” Cut to black, message to visit the cooperative listings on this website or THE WEBSITE to locate a professional wedding video services provider near you, supported by voice over.
VIDEO TWO: Video opens immediately with a father, mic in hand, giving toast. Cuts from father, to bride, to guests, to couple, to father as father’s VO toast gets to a particularly poignant revelation.
“My daughter is my life, my star, my miracle and I am …” audio cuts to silence via camera shutter SFX going to framed photo still shot of image at that point.
This is repeated with two other moments of emotionally charged action/narrative with the moment cut off to silence via a camera shutter sound and framed photo-like still shot.
Over last one narrator VO says: “Don’t miss the message because you didn’t want a video.”
Cut to black, message urges viewer to look up and contact members of the cooperative for affordable rates and professional wedding video production services.
THE WEBSITE: Simple, few pages, easy to navigate. Landing page featuring the promo videos. Screening page featuring clips from participating cooperative members. General pricing information, about us, etc. kept to a minimum. And a page(s) facilitating the web viewer’s search for a cooperative member who can provide their wedding video production services.
NOTE: On the whole, websites tend toward overwhelming rhetoric, hard-to-find specifics (creds, service area, general price range … “starting at”) but dense with braggadocio and technical blather, bragging wall focused on awards, and no consistency of style or delivery of information or sample clips. Most also require a response form in order to get any useful info, when potential clients, on first visit, prefer to NOT speak with the service provider before having the basic information in hand. Finally, so many websites tend toward entertainment-style landing pages with animation, showy glitz and glitter, thinking this speaks of “sophistication” to the average wedding consumer. SURE if you’re the established go to professional wedding cinematographer and branded to the point of being in that elusive top 5% and super expensive to boot, less is more with a super duper opening sequence to show off your elegance and professionalism. But for the rest of us there’s simple, straightforward facts and information backed by quality sample clips and an opening page that not only features video with a message but easy navigation to the meat of the message … HOW MUCH can I expect to pay, where are you located, when do I get my finished production?
A professional-looking, serviceable website can be provocative and engaging without the overkill that is so prevalent today. And so many websites spend too much site real estate trying to SELL the visitor. IMHO if a bride has made it to the website they’re already sold, or half-sold, and simply want the information needed to make a decision. They don’t want to have to wade through pages of dreamy, statistical, fairy tale, technological jargon and arguments why ME instead of the other guy.
Simplicity sells. Easy access information sells and impresses. Minimizing maximizes positive reactions and extends time on site.