Sunday, March 01, 2009

Study Your Resources, the Competition

Unless you totally love doing it, no matter the cost, wedding event video production is only the smallest tip of the iceberg, income-wise. In fact, for the vast majority of independent professional video services providers wedding event video production is the most number of hours you can work for the least amount of dollars per hour in return you can do!

Yet the vast majority of independents do focus almost entirely on wedding event video production, treating most anything else they might provide as an afterthought or step-child. Web page designs focus almost exclusively on wedding video production, and rightly so if your only interest is in this area of business, and you are satisfied with the return you get.

Not that many independent wedding video producers take the amount of time and effort they should to check out the competition, instead depending on what they think they know and cautiously guarding their "secrets" instead of trying to learn what others are doing that might, or not, help them grow their own. And even fewer make an effort to see what other services are offered, how they are marketed, their focus, what sets them apart from the other "full service" independents. EVEN FEWER set aside a serious amount of time to research programs, software, hardware or web services that could set them apart, or above, the competition.

Current economics make this a good time to do some research. Research to discover new products or services you can use to keep the money coming in. Research to discover how others are setting themselves apart from you. Research to discover if it is price, product or SERVICE that is making the difference for others in the independent video production business community.

Marketing Guru Steve "Doc" Yankee admonishes his followers to market, market often, and market regardless, noting that it isn't something you do when the cash flow spigot stops flowing. It is something you do EVERY DAY, to keep your business, services, prices and product in the public eye.

My marketing mantra has for a long time been: "If you market, you will make it!" © 2009 Earl Chessher. I always admonish my readers that great ideas won't work unless you do, knowing that "work" is the key word, and that it seems to run against human nature to do too much of that - even if YOU KNOW the idea will work, bringing in a boatload of bucks.

I once quoted a business friend, in an earlier blog, who asked me to help him develop a good business approach to expanding his pest control service. We worked something out. He got all hot and excited about it, his face lit up like a thousand-watt bulb, but then I didn't hear from him. Weeks went by and life got in the way, but one day I cornered him about our fantastic market-expanding concept for growing his independent commercial pest control business using video.

"It is a GREAT idea Earl," he said. "I KNOW this is what I need to do to really build my client base and grow the business." He paused before the moment of truth: "But it's going to work too well, and that means I AM going to have to work harder!" He wasn't willing to work THAT HARD for the success and business he knew this marketing approach would generate.

Just doing less than one hour's worth of research I found a number of interesting web sites to visit. Sites offering new services, new products, new marketing concepts, and sites offering GREAT self-promotion for the usual (weddings) as well as a bounty of other concepts that could benefit the independent video production company.

And, of course, there's the value of networking with other independent video producers around the globe. Fellow video business enthusiast Robert Wagner, active on the Videomaker forum, just recently shared with me an idea he is putting into action RIGHT NOW! Wagner has a good-sized trailer that has been "just sitting there" taking up space. He is refurbishing it, installing connections and implementing green screen capabilities. Robert is going to tow his trailer to flea markets, huge commercial open market sites and other locations, and set up an "on site" video production "booth" for the thousands of potential fair/flea market visitors/customers that attend. New idea? No, but Wagner has the incentive and willingness to work to put together his NEW approach to an old marketing idea and make some money doing it, using things that are available to him at a minimum cost. Sweat equity.

Here are some of those places you might want to check out. Study them. See what they offer. Study how they present themselves and how they market. Take a look at Eye15Productions, Animoto, Photo to Movie, Castleland Productions, Go 2 Productions, MTPRO.TV, Last Cut, Royce Multimedia, Reach Local, Event Video Production, Video Builder, U on DVD. If that doesn't give your marketing senses a jolt, check out Veeple and sign up for a "clickable video web service" - free trial through March, 2009; Reel Moments has a solid focus on SDE (same day edit) services that they also offer a "how to" product that will make a believer out of you.

Check out Independent Media, and McNally's Plug and Play, where you can obtain a CD/DVD plus/dash duplicator that offers short run copy protection for your productions with NO licensing fees per disc. If these aren't enough, Google your own and take a close look at what and who is out there doing business, making money - WORKING while you wonder how come you are not.

What do these sites offer? What are they marketing? How? What sets them apart from you, from the rest of the market? Exclusive? Software, hardware, web product? A unique style/approach? Their years of experience? Price? Equipment used? Production Quality, branding, web site quality? What "look" do they incorporate? How are they different, or the same? What is their focus and how do they make it work for them?

Find the answers by researching and studying the resources, the competition, and decide where YOU can set yourself apart. Make your move to the top. Write the GREAT ideas that will start pouring out of your brain down so you do not forget them. Put the GREAT ideas to work so YOU will have to! Make money!

No comments: