If you build it they Won’t come.
In the movie, “Field of Dreams”, you will remember the line ”if you build it they will come”. The movie illustratrated using faith to start a project that doesn’t make sense in the beginning and begins to take shape at the end. Unfortunately, as I travel around the country speaking to wedding professionals, this seems to be the method used in starting most wedding businesses.
Let me explain this concept a little better. Most wedding businesses are “Mom and Pop” businesses, or also known as Owner/Operators. My estimate is 85% of the industry (really the backbone) is made up of these owner/operators. Most owner/operators get into their chosen fields due to really liking the field-it’s their passion and they love to do what they do. Because they love to do what they are doing, the improving on their craft comes very easy. It’s like Bret Favre-he loves football and just can’t stay away from the game! This is a good thing.
The problem kicks in here; how long can these businesses continue to operate if they fail to bring in any customers. This is the point that they start to market their business. Because they naturally love to do what they do, it is felt that they have “built it” so customers should naturally come. This gets a little tricky because we are thinking like business owners and not like our customers.
Our customers (Brides) have never bought your “stuff” (for lack of a better word) before. Because they have never bought this before (and especially not to this extent-i.e. thousands of dollars for photography or flowers), they have a natural built in “buying reluctance”. They are nervous about making a bad decision. Because this day has to be perfect in their minds, this adds one more layer of that buying reluctance. Money is almost always tight (even with the girls who live in the expensive parts of town. In some cases these girls want the most deals.) and this adds yet another layer of reluctance. Their once hard decision has a 3x’s factor if you look at things from this point of view.
Now let’s shift back to the marketing that gets put out to these girls. The Owner/operator who is not well versed in marketing/advertising throws together an ad, a brochure or other marketing piece based on what they think should be out there (remember that this owner/operator’s life is surrounded by Weddings and they do them every week, sometimes several a week. There is little they haven’t seen. Much like the insensitive kindergarten student who is showing up for her first day of school, the Bride comes in wide eyed and enthusiastic only to have a crusty teacher who has done this 20 times before burst their bubble by systematically taking the fun and magic out of the experience. The Owner/operator puts together their marketing based on what they think is important. They will include “fluff” statements that really turn off the bride (statements like “fairy tale weddings come to life”, “Because you deserve the very best”, etc…).
Simply putting up a business (as great as it may be) and throwing up some advertising isn’t enough. “Building it” is necessary, but will not guarantee customers. Your marketing is the first priority in keeping your business open and bringing customers through the door.Remember- If your marketing isn’t working, neither are you.
Until next week, Here’s to your Success!