Question: We already have a successful business in the corporate market. How do I start offering our services for brides and grooms?
We are a 60 year old company. In essence, we pioneered the AV rental and production business in this market. We have a very strong corporate presence and are involved with almost every corporate event for all the big hitters in the state of Oklahoma.
The trust is there, everyone knows who we are…We have just never done weddings. I mean, we have, but they were on massive scales. Like $40k and $50k just for lighting. So, everyone sees us as an out of reach option.
I did our first bridal show this month, and as you could imagine, my nerves really worked me because we were taking a totally different angle than what we are accustomed to here. We are offering total AV support and production. Lighting, Videography, Video projection, Entertainment from live bands to DJs and solo musicians, Ceremony support, bachelor and bachelorette parties…
I was unsure of how to approach these brides because I had to realize they were not corporate clients. I had some success, but not much. Some people signed up for a consultation, but none of them ever responded to my contact after the show. Even one bride who won our drawing for a free Flat Screen rental called once, but then disappeared.
My next show is in two months, and I plan on being more than ready for that one, but for now, I am at a road block. I want to make this work because I believe this will be a viable stream of additional revenue for my company, but being a guy in a guys world trying to market to brides, well, I feel like I am on an island.
Any help would be appreciated.
Answer: You need to shift to presenting your benefits for the wedding couple, rather than your features.
Your challenge in working with the wedding market is to communicate what you do very clearly so that brides “get it” immediately.
They already understand what wedding planners do, but they don’t see line items in their budget to hire an “AV/lighting/music coordinator.”
Ask yourself these questions to learn how to market what you do in a way that will engage wedding clients:
- What problem does the bride/groom have that you solve?
- What challenge are they facing that you fix for them?
- What do they THINK the solution to this problem is (assuming it’s not an AV and lighting specialist) and where are they going to find the solution?
- What are the real benefits you’d be offering them?
You probably know this stuff like the back of your hand for the corporate marketing world. You’re going to have to get more “touchy feely” and “girly” to work weddings.
Let me take a stab at the REAL benefit you’re providing for brides and grooms…
You can give the bride the amazing, one of a kind wedding experience she wants, without the headache of having to find and hire the right pros, and having to organize everything herself.
Am I right?
Since couples aren’t looking for the service you offer specifically, it’s going to be extremely difficult to attract them by focusing on your features alone. They simply aren’t looking for what you offer.
The good news: they ARE searching for the benefits you can give them!
You’ll find the easiest path to success by partnering with the other businesses the couple IS searching for.
Here are some partnership ideas:
- Build on your corporate relationships with venues and co-create wedding packages with them.
- Do the same thing with high end wedding planners and caterers in your market.
- Identify and partner with businesses who have clients who can use your services so they can refer you to those couples who need what you have to offer, but don’t know where/how to find it.
If you’re stumped about what problem the bride and groom have that you solve, survey them and find out.
Ask a few general questions using a service like Survey Monkey and give them a small thank you gift for taking it. Ask about their challenges, concerns, what they want around the services you provide (entertainment, lighting, environment.)
What you learn will be invaluable because they’ll be giving you the exact words you need to use in your marketing to attract those brides and grooms.
How did you break into the wedding business?