Thoughts on wedding shows?

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    • #43137
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Just wanted to see what people’s experiences/thoughts are on doing wedding shows? I’m contemplating doing my first next year, but it’s pretty pricey so thought I would ask around a bit. Do the bookings/contacts come easy? I’m fairly sure that there will only be one other video vendor at the show, if any at all, but since many brides don’t book a videographer at all, is it worth it? Also, if anyone has tips on how to set up a successfull wedding show booth or pictures of their booth, that would be extremely helpfultoo…

    • #180761
      AvatarEarlC
      Member

      They absolutely are “worth it” IF the particular bridal fair organizers
      can generate traffic (see if you can get references to vendors who have
      used them previously – call, don’t go JUST on the organizer’s word, sad
      to say).

      They’re also absolutely worth it if you REALLY WORK IT! and are
      prepared with support materials. I go along with a couple of heavy
      rollers in the Southern California area (Steve & Laura Moses) who
      specifically advocate handing out hundreds of demo DVDs in cases with
      all the contact information a potential bride might need. This is what
      we always do.

      Here’s a few booth shots we’ve set up. Also, some links to my video marketing blog page where I think you’ll find useful info.

      http://eccomeecgo.blogspot.com/2008/…follow-up.html

      http://eccomeecgo.blogspot.com/2007/04/marketing-bridal-lists.html

      http://eccomeecgo.blogspot.com/2006/…marketing.html

    • #180762
      AvatarEarlC
      Member

      I usually attend with a minimum of 200 demo DVDs. I like events where
      they can vouch for 250 or more registered visitors. I don’t bother with
      brochures, preferring the potential brides call or contact me later
      instead.

      We nearly always have business cards, sharp looking promo pens with our
      name & contact info, that bowl of chocolate candies – Kisses &
      Hugs.

      Our video displays vary – usually a larger screen in the background, and a smaller screen on the front booth table.

      Most of these folks (as you probably know) are just getting
      information, and their dates could be one, two, three or more years
      down the road. But, on occasion we have signed up AT the show using
      some special pricing or promises, etc. We bring agreements and our
      production calendar with us just in case. It is always gratifying when
      a client signs on at the show, but it isn’t going to happen that often.
      Just work that bridal list (see my article) because that is where the
      majority of your business will come from.

      I like to work all kinds of shows, but my favorite is a special closed
      admission event at the Queen Mary in Longbeach, Calif. A unique
      location.

      I have had a couple in area venues, and a couple in malls – the malls,
      IMHO, can really REALLY generate a LOT of traffic due to its openess
      and the curiosity factor. But so long as you find a way to support the
      numbers claims by the organizers, and it is 200 or better, you should
      be able to get something out of it.

      Also good to know how many videographers there will be.

    • #180763
      AvatarEarlC
      Member

      The majority of mine have been 80 percent in the next 12 months; 15 percent a year away; and the rest 30 months or more out.

      On average, bridal fairs or otherwise, seems the past couple of years or so they’re holding off until 90 days, give or take.

      There was a time when they signed us on a year in advance. That simply
      isn’t happening for US anymore – too many budget options,
      considerations, and still that inevitable last-minute option for video.

      The brides who seem to REALLY want and be interested in video tend to book earlier, while most of the others lag to the last.

      So, for me most are 90 days, some six months and the rare one or two a year out.

    • #180764
      AvatarEarlC
      Member

      The above responses are some I just recently sent to another forum where a similar question was posted. Hope they will help. Now I will attempt to post some booth photos.

      Sorry, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to upload jpeg image files to this from files resident on my hard drive – it seems to want a specific URL link for the photo. You could, if you wanted, go to http://www.wedvidpro.com sign up for free and visit (I don’t think you HAVE to sign up just to read or view images on the open sections though – which is where my images are posted on another thread about bridal shows or fairs) http://www.wedvidpro.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6860 I am pretty sure that is the link.

      Well, at least the first image opens for me, you might have to sign up and in (for free) to see the other two images posted there. Hope this helps.

    • #180765
      AvatarGrinner Hester
      Participant

      If marketing directly to the consumer, yes they are worth it. You’ll need to be aggresive to make it worth your time and dime.

      That said, it only costs a few lunches and some time to become the preferred video vendor for bridal boutiques and wedding planners in your area. If you let them market you, you can skip this kinds of shows because you’ll always be represented at them.

    • #180766
      AvatarXTR-91
      Participant

      If you have a decent camcorder, tripod, editing software, and the right articles of audio equipment, you’ll be able to do one by yourself for very close to $0. Of course, if you put more thoughts and investments into something more professional, you’d have camera operator(s), a sound engineer, editor, and possibly a DVD authorall paid by the hour. This is where you start getting into the big bucks of producing a wedding video.

    • #180767
      AvatarEarlC
      Member

      I totally disagree with grinner’s assessment of what it takes to achieve cooperative business status with folks in the bridal business. Nope, free lunches are NOT the key to wonderful levels of referral business and long-term renewable wedding video production income. It takes a bit more than that and certainly more than a couple of free lunches. That is so shallow and certainly something the person you are attempting to woo with a couple of meal tickets can see right through.

      You don’t build relationships with people by feeding them. Sure, if you get half a chance to share your wonderful personality and business acumen with them, but IMHO people in the industry are so FULL of free lunches that another one from yet another “hungry for business and free referrals” wedding videographer isn’t going to cut it no matter HOW you slice it.

      You will NOT become the preferred video vendor for bridal boutiques and wedding planners in your area, “letting” them market you and skipping the shows, and you will NOT be represented by them at these shows they attend. These people aren’t there to pitch your services. They are working shows to pitch THEIR services. And the vast majority of bridal fairs have agreements excluding a participant from representing ANY but their own service – be it tux rentals, gowns, locations and venues, caterers, cakes, jewelry, limos or whatever. NONE of these people are as interested in pitching for their “favored video producer” as they are in pitching for themselves and the aspects of THEIR business in the bridal industry.

      People who advocate buying other vendors a couple of lunches and getting the FIX are not participating in the reality of what it takes to develop business relationships OR develop solid referral and renewable business potential with either other vendors OR the latest crop of non-blushing brides-to-be. They are NOT actively engaged in doing wedding video for a living, and they are NOT strongly motivated by the right elements of how to grow a wedding video production business plan.

      You CAN build solid, valuable and renewable business relationships, but you’re going to have to learn the answer to the single most important question they have of you – WHAT’s IN IT FOR ME? Answer THAT question my friends, and not with a “couple of lunches” and you will find the yellow brick road. What is or what are the answers? Well, they are too many to share in a forum response. There are answers and if you think about what it takes to earn your OWN sense of professional respect, admiration, appreciation and loyalty, then you are well on your way to understanding the process you have to develop with and toward others.

      Business relationships and friendships require a fair dose of the SAME efforts and investment of self, time and yes, even money, you make in your personal friends. It is said that to make friends you must first be a friend. Same applies in the business world if you expect an actual return for your efforts. Do NOT be blinded by suggestions that a free lunch is going to get you anything more than the ticket at the end of the meal.

    • #180768
      AvatarEarlC
      Member

      “If you have a decent camcorder, tripod, editing software, and the right
      articles of audio equipment, you’ll be able to do one by yourself for
      very close to $0. Of course, if you put more thoughts and investments
      into something more professional, you’d have camera operator(s), a
      sound engineer, editor, and possibly a DVD author all paid by the hour.
      This is where you start getting into the big bucks of producing a
      wedding video.” – XTR91

      Oops, wrong response. DigitalHQ is asking about the value of doing bridal fairs and shows in building a wedding video production business and gaining prospects and clients, not in that it takes (minimally or otherwise) to produce one. There are answers to THAT question as well but your response is a bit underwhelming. The actually response in that department XTR is somewhere between what you said – “close to $0” and a whole lot more. And most often the “big bucks” is what it actually COSTS to produce a wedding video, not the actual profits that come from it. Come on, be real, or get some experience under your belt first guys.

      And probably less than 10 percent (IMHO it is actually closer to 5%) of the most successful among independent professional wedding video services providers earn the so-called “BIG BUCKS” producing wedding videos. The rest, who are also trying to get a bite of the 20-to-25 percent piece of the bridal pie from brides who actually WANT a professionally produced wedding video in the first place are doing well to even stay in business, much less make any BUCKS at all.

      The most outrageous oversight in the wedding video business market today is that 80 percent or so out there who are getting married and have NO PERCEIVED VALUE of professionally produced wedding video at all, and NO desire to spend the bucks to have one done. The professional wedding video service community is totally overlooking this market because it requires a HARD SALE, is a tough market to develop and requires ongoing bridal marketing “education” regarding the true value and qualities and abilities and SERVICE ORIENTED focus that is NOT being provided today. Nor has it been for many, many years. And a huge number of wedding video service providers (professional or not) in today’s business community are arrogant, self-centered and totally NOT service oriented. A huge number of people in the business have developed a defensive opinion that it is the BRIDES who do not appreciate them as much as, say, the ice sculptor, chair cover artist, or the photographers, when it is the videographer who is not showing a decent level of appreciation for the bride.

      And, if the bride is ignorant of the videographer’s worth, illiterate of his/her qualifications and skills, it is OUR fault. We as an industry need to hone our PEOPLE skills with at least the degree of lackadaisy effort we give to our technical and professional skills if we’re EVER going to gain a larger share of the bridal industry pie, much less their respect or appreciation for what we might possibly do for them.

    • #180769
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Thanks for the info…I’ve got a couple weeks to mull over my options and decide whether to go for it, so this definitely helps!

    • #180770
      AvatarGrinner Hester
      Participant

      Earl, ya don’t take people of pwer to lunch to bribe them, you create an opportunity to impress them. allow them to get to know you and want to work with you over and over again. This really IS how business is done.

      You mentioned lately how dead your business is. I’m wondering if proper networking wouldn’t help with that.

    • #180771
      AvatarEarlC
      Member

      Yeah, proper networking does help a lot, the ongoing effort of it has started kicking things back up. Thanks.

    • #180772
      AvatarXTR-91
      Participant

      “The actually response in that department XTR is somewhere between what you said – “close to $0” and a whole lot more. And most often the “big bucks” is what it actually COSTS to produce a wedding video, not the actual profits that come from it. Come on, be real, or get some experience under your belt first guys.” – EarlC

      “Close to $0” was somewhat of a floating figure, not counting the price of any equipment (considering that you already own it), gas prices, and any possible prices for removable media such as DVD or Blue-ray. If you do virtually everything yourself, it won’t be as much of a hassle to maintain a reasonably low budget. Prices don’t rack up significantly until you start deciding to save time by hiring, then you’re talking “real” here.

    • #180773
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      I just started doing wedding shows last year..two per year. I live in a rural area, 112,000 people in the county. This is what I have learned. These shows can be very expensive…$1000 +. The very first show I did, I decided at the last minute and got in for $300. The coordinator did it to fill up the place and told me “not to tell anyone.” This years renewal came in at $400..she “just couldn’t do it for $300 again”. That’s ok with me!

      I have never booked at contract at the show. The best thing you get from these are the lists. I usually send out an email 6 months before the wedding. I also have been successful in sending out an email to the brides after they are married, with a line like, “Did you film your own wedding? Need someone to edit it or put it on a DVD…” Not a ton of money in it, but I usually do fairly well and it’s easy and they normally order copies.

    • #180774
      AvatarEarlC
      Member

      Good info, OC. In several years of doing one or two shows a year, we signed agreements at the show maybe three times – even that is rare and unusual. But, as you noted, and I’ve advocated – work those lists! If you work the list with calls, letters, postcards AND e-mails, you can milk it for a lot over a long period of time.

    • #180775
      Avatarcarrol123
      Participant

      Nice things have been mentioned and I am glad to be the part of it…

      Carrol Spncr


      attorneys

    • #180776
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      I’m from SC in the upstate area. Our local company that puts on the the shows is called, “Wedding Festivals.” They have so much traffic and publicity that there is literally a line of brides waiting to get in even after an hour.

      They put on about 6 shows in my town and another 10ish shows in surrounding towns in the upstate. I’m sorry to say that because of the competition in my area, nearly all of the weddings that I’ve booked in the past 2 years has been from these shows.

      I say “I’m sorry to say” because I wish I could go without doing the shows. They certainly do generate business but I just hate doing them.

      My advice. Make sure you have a good booth and a demo reel playing.

    • #180777
      AvatarEarlC
      Member

      There IS another way to get weddings without doing bridal fairs/shows – earlier than expected delivery of a quality product.

      It is my experience that any time I deliver a wedding production within 10-14 days following the event, or immediately upon the bride and groom’s return from their honeymoon, I get swamped with referrals.

      It has to do with the virtual “instant gratification” of receiving a video that the industry typically claims takes 90 days or longer to turnaround. That, IMHO, is totally out of whack and not realistic. Used to be that it might take that long (90 days, anyway) but with today’s technology anything longer than 30 days (again, IMHO) is the result of poor work ethics or production strategies.

      Since August 2005, following my open-heart surgery) during my convalescence & recovery I bit the bullet and outsourced a stack of wedding productions that piled up while I was physically challenged. I paid the price to have them edited, knowing that at the pace I’d slowed down to they would take “forever and a day”. The people I outsourced to knew my plight, received quality shooting and audio (in MOST cases) and charged me reasonable fees, but most importantly they turned around my productions in less than 30 days each.

      All of my clients had been notified of my physical situation, were understanding, but were also amazed at the fast turnaround given the situation. It was a eye-opener for me. I reassessed my work environment, my work ethics, my tendency (sometimes) to slack off when I had things (other than WORK) I wanted to do more.

      January, 2006, I did a bridal fair. And another one that late summer, primarily to build up my base once again. The marketing focus was based on two things: quality production value (good to GREAT visuals and audio), and FAST turnaround. In fact I handed out a written guarantee that bridal clients would receive their finished quality video production in “30 days or less, or a 100 percent refund of your money” – we couldn’t sign them up fast enough.

      And the referrals poured in because the level of excitement was still high, memories were still high, they were not back that long since their honeymoon, and they couldn’t wait to share their video with their friends, family and other members of the bridal party. I eventually discontinued the written guarantee – OF COURSE, it would make ANY sane business person more than nervous – but I never had to refund a dime!

      The guarantee was MY incentive to get the work done in good time. It helped me hone my editing and post production skill levels, and it generated an edge for me against the rest of the field – NOBODY in the business is/was nor remains willing to give such a written guarantee. If you can commit to quality production and timely delivery you WILL never need to work another bridal fair due to the bounty of referrals you will receive.

      Get ’em while they’re hot!

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