Monday, April 03, 2006

Effective Marketing

Many in the business often ask what kind of advertising efforts produce the most effective returns - specifically asking about advertising in publications. First and foremost, newspaper advertising is one SURE way to burn money without a match. On the rare occasion when you can afford page dominance (full or half-page) and have a special deal you're offering for a limited time, you can get some action, depending on the publication. But it remains a gamble.
As far as what works, what doesn't and possibly why: This is our experience, mileage may vary.
By far, when we have wanted to get some momentum going in the bridal community it has been through participation in the various bridal fairs held in the Southern California area.
We have an ongoing policy, also, of checking out new, old or otherwise active wedding related sites through Google, and listing with any and all of them that feature a free listing, regardless of how the listing is placed. We also list with a few paid sites, of which the most effective one appears to be
We do occasionally get leads from these paid sites, but we are cutting back this year when renewals come up on most of them. Last year we dropped two, this year we'll discontinue with three others, leaving weDJ as the last hold out in hopes that it will pay off in the long run.
Printed advertising is basically a waste of money, and I have 30 years in the publication and advertising field to admit first hand that the medium is largely ineffective.
Published advertising is a lot like government assistance programs and bank loans - you virtually have to prove you DON'T need it in order to get it. How's that?
...if you have a LOT of money like, say McDonald's, Coca-Cola, most of the car companies, etc. then constant advertising via all the media channels is great for national/international awareness campaigns.
It is the visibility and linkage, constancy and ad media dominance that establishes a brand, etc.
When advertising in printed media there are basically TWO ways that such advertising might prove effective (note, I didn't say 'might give you a decent ROI') in establishing who you are - page dominance (half- or full-page ads only, translates into EXPENSIVE) and repetition (smaller ad running continuously over a LONG period of time, sort of the old Yellow Pages effect - you're always there so you MUST be a valid company). These are effective, if you have the money, but are negligible when it comes to proving profitable over the long or short term.
Will people KNOW you you are? Likely. Will they remember you when or if they need professional video services? Possibly. Will they, and enough others, spend enough with you to return the investment? make a profit? NOPE!
Page dominance and repetitive ad publication in known publications distributed to the bridal community are saturated with advertisement. You pay extra for placement (the theory that one page or location is better than another in the publication - front half, right side page, front or back inside/outside cover, etc.) that may or may not give you an edge. Again, EXPENSIVE! Actually, so are the other umpteen dozen pages, with ads going for anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000 for color, placement, etc.
Paying web sites are pretty much the same experience, basically. They are becoming saturated and there's NO way a popular site like, say The Knot, can guarantee you first page or top of page listing ALWAYS, no matter WHAT price you pay.
That takes us BACK to square one. It is my personal experience and educated opinion that direct marketing is the ONLY way to fly if you want to invest in a campaign that has some hope of giving you ANY ROI.
Even bridal fairs can be a crap shoot, but at least you are THERE, visible, pressing the flesh, handing out information to people who have SOME degree of interest - enough to make the effort to attend. The lists generated by some of these bridal fair organizers are no better than a list of old jokes, but others are quite effective in after event marketing efforts.
Any list, however it is obtained, MUST be MILKED for all it is worth, with direct mail, phone calls, e-mails (not your best approach due to the universal attitude toward SPAM or the perception of it). Depending on the posted anticipated wedding dates of the brides on our lists we'll follow up first with a phone call thanking them for visiting the event, then a letter and brochure or even a demo if requested, post cards, THEN an e-mail or two.
Our final contact with ANY of them is about 30 days prior to their event date - sort of a "one more shot" effort.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Letter to Brides

Dear bride:
If you have not kept one bit of home movie memories, saved one single blockbuster movie DVD for your personal collection, recorded every episode of ''Friends'' on TV, or collected any footage on video of one birthday party, graduation party or trip to the beach, mountains or Paris...
...then PLEASE! Do NOT read further.
Oh, you HAVE done one or more of the above? Then I'm sure you plan to have your upcoming wedding professionally produced on video to preserve the atmosphere, sights and sounds of the day.
And, therefore you do not need to read further.
Years from now, when you cannot remember who was there, what they said, how well you used to dance, you are one of those rare people who were smart enough to save those memories to visit again and again.
Right? So, you do not have to read any further.
And if you were so inclined to NOT collect old movies, new movies, old or new television shows, any home movies your parents might have made, or home videos of celebrations from childhood to college graduation, you would NOT have read this far and changed your mind about the possible value of keeping a professionally produced video of your wedding day.
You would not come to the conclusion that having a video now, to preserve today for the future, might be a great value after all.
Professional wedding and event video producers. Look us up, we're easy to find.