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Old October 29th, 2010, 09:35 PM   #1
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Bridal Shows???

Are these things worth the time, effort and the money? I'm a startup looking to drum up business so I'm thinking about attending my local show. For those who attend these shows, what are your experiences good and bad?
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Old October 29th, 2010, 10:35 PM   #2
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Hi Brian

I usually turn them down as our ones here want $2K + for a booth plus they have a stupid rule that you can only offer brochures and demo media to clients..no contracts or bookings can be taken!!

A friend of mine did one back in June and got 20 enquiries but after contacting each person, he ended up with no orders from the entire list!! You also have to bear in mind that it's taking a weekend of your time too when you could be making money!!

It seems that they work for some but not for others... I guess if the overall cost is no too high, try one and see..it might work in your area????

I get way more success by listing on wedding directories as brides love to go to those sites...that works for me to the extent that any expo wouldn't benefit me even if I did get a couple of orders from leads.

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Old October 29th, 2010, 10:56 PM   #3
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we've tried them off and on for several years. we've decided they aren't worth the hassle.

you do get a contact list of everyone who comes... like 1000 people... but then you have to follow up. it's a big effort to make it all come together.
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Old October 29th, 2010, 11:12 PM   #4
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Waste of money and time. You get the lead list, you take the time to email every bride and they just delete the email. The brides get bombarded with emails by every vendor at the show. Bridal Shows are the biggest waste of money.
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Old October 30th, 2010, 01:25 AM   #5
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If your a person that can TALK to anyone, then bridal shows are great. My wife is, I'm not...but the few shows we do, it's always well worth it because of her. If it was just me, the shows would give bad results :-p

When we first started we did 13 shows and booked 35 weddings...that quickly helped us gain experience and exposure. I'd give it a shot!
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Old October 30th, 2010, 01:41 AM   #6
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Brian, our experience of these events is quite good, but their overall value to you depends on that experience. I think you have to do a few and the decide your view. We now do a couple of the largest (and most expensive) events, a few of the middle-cost/size ones and some of the smaller events which are either by invitation or cost very little.

What we have found over the years is that the results are not necessarily proportional to the cost.

I'd always recommend you decide beforehand what your marketing strategy is going to be, because at busy times your plans will reduce to the very basics. Our policy is a) minimum - to get our packs into the hands of every potential client b) moderate - to talk to as many potential clients as possible and find out what they're looking for c) ideal - to develop the best prospects and arrange further contact after they've seen the demo at home. Unlike many suppliers, we don't expect to convert or make sales at fairs - our demo is 90 minutes long and from next month will be two disks and we know that most clients decide after they've watched the demos. It's the item I'd always recommend putting most time, effort and money into.

Our actual display is essentially there to give us an indication of whether the person is interested, to delay people to give us a chance to actually speak to them and to convey in a few seconds an impression of our product and the sort of people we are.

In summary:

Pros: good exposure of your branding; good chance to actually speak to people - where else do you come face-to-face with potential clients? gives you first-hand feel for the market; can get your demo product into potential clients hands; can be cheaper than mailing the pack to the same number of clients.

Cons: initial expense of putting the display together; very tired legs!

Hope that helps.
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Old October 30th, 2010, 07:16 AM   #7
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As mentioned above, if you can actually talk to a couple and such during the show, you've got a much better shot at actually booking a wedding.

In the past we've had 3 of us working the booth at once, just to try and talk to as many people as possible in an actual conversation.

There are 2 kinds of shows:
(1) The type where the organizers give the bride a check list of every vendor. The brides are required to go to every vendor and get a stamp in order to be eligable to win door prizes and the grand prize. These kinds of shows are like herding cattle through.. this is where we had like 3 people who could talk videos.

- Side Note: when you do a bridal show you are generally required to offer up about a $500 door prize.

(2) The other type is what I call "free form". This is where brides can just walk around and randomly choose who they talk to. On these, booth location is VERY important, because if you're tucked away in a corner out of the way, or on the back side of the venue, the chances of people actually making it to you is far far less, because they've stopped and already talked to a video person who is farther up.

If you can adequately staff your booth, then bridal show type 1 is the best, because you can be about 90% assured every single bride that has come to the show is coming by your booth, and you'll 1 shot at making your case for them to hire you.

In Type 2, you may literally only see 30%. This was the case at a show we did in Nashville about 3 years ago. We "got a deal" on a booth space at the last minute and it was on the back row. During the show I left so I could walk around and see what was going on, and literally brides were jammed all up in the first several rows of the vendor booths, and the vast majority never made it back to the last row.
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Old October 31st, 2010, 11:56 AM   #8
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I personally have great success at bridal shows... to the point where I do six a year and next year I might bump that up to eight. I will tell you this, there was a time when we didn't book anything off of them, but we've found out what works for "US" and now we clean up at shows!

So, let me start off by saying... every market is different, what works for me may not work for you, but I will share "my" strategy.

When we first started doing shows we got our booth for free. We did this by approaching the bridal show producer and offering trade for booth space. This usually consisted of producing a :30 television spot... we did this for a few years until we decided we would rather just pay to get in to save the time. It was nice when we where just starting out and didn't want to spend the money on the shows. It never hurts to ask, so that's idea.

Next we studied. We saw what other videographers in our market where doing and it didn't take long before we knew what we needed to do something different to stand out. We had some major challenges to over come, the main challenge being, we had to show everyone that we where VERY different from our competition AND what they [the brides] where used to. This was VERY important. Most every bride walking through the doors of the show already had it in their mind that they did not want nor where they interested in video. The reason was they didn't want the product that our competitors where offering.... the product they where used to and the product that came to their minds when the words "Wedding Video" where mentioned. There was definitely a stigma and it wasn't going to be as easy as sating "Where where different" or using lingo like "Cinematic" "Artistic" etc. Especially when our competitors where using the same lingo and where clearly not!

It was VERY apparent that we needed to find an effective way to get our product out in front of brides. That was our next challenge. This isn't easy, brides are in a hurry at these things... you only have a small window of opportunity to get their attention and hold it long enough to lure them into your booth to give them your quick pitch. We did this with LOTS of displays... we have eight HD displays all showing a different wedding video on loop... it does a great job of getting attention. You probably don't need that many by any means, but we live by the philosophy of "Go big or go home!" and it seems to work for us. We put a lot of time into our promo materials. We make sure to get a Demo DVD into the hands of EVERY bride that comes near our booth. Yes, it can cost close to $2 per promotional packet (the way we produce them), but for "Us" it's worth the cost when the average show generates about $16-18K in business... and we spend less than $1K total to do the show. We had to look at as for every dollar we put into it we would get 17 back, so it was a no brainer that a dvd in a paper sleeve wasn't going to cut it. We needed something the reflected the quality of our product and after a lot of work we found out what that was. Simply a very nice Demo DVD in NICE well designed packaging. We change up our Demo often, this helps us track from which efforts our business is coming from.

Other things we found: Dress nice! Stand out, don't blend in. Smile... all the time! Have enough man power in your booth for the size of the show. For us that is usually three, myself and two employees. My editor is a female and I have found it's great to have a woman in your booth... it just is. So She comes to every show... sometime I'll take my wife. Take down names and numbers... yes you usually get a list from the show, but that could take days to get. FOLLOW UP! Get in touch with the brides who showed interest RIGHT AWAY, that's why it's important to take down information in your booth, if you wait till the list from the show comes out then you're screwed... it's important to get in touch with the bride BEFORE she gets flooded with calls from other vendors including your competition. Be patient... I have had bookings from a show almost a YEAR after the show.

One of my favorite quotes "You can count the seeds in an apple, but you can't count the apples in a seed". My experience is obviously different from a lot of others, but that is probably because we are doing something different... and we are in a different market. So, is it worth doing shows? That depends on you.
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Old October 31st, 2010, 02:03 PM   #9
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Andrew - great presentation and description - I think I'll get a couple more monitors on Monday.

The only questions your excellent pictures/stand raised were what do you need to transport your gear to a show and how long does it take you to set up?

First class.
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Old October 31st, 2010, 04:06 PM   #10
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Like Phil I am very impressed Andrew. I did a wedding fayre today and it was very busy. No bookings on the day ( rarely happens) but loads of serious interest and I would be very disappointed if I never got anyting out of it.

Love your setup Andrew. I have one large HD TV showing a loop but to go that big is pretty spectacular. I am considering a couple of the biggest fayres in London next year and this could be a great way to stand out. I can certainly hire a setup like that no problem, if it is worth it.
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Old October 31st, 2010, 07:15 PM   #11
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hehe... good question. The answer... VERY CAREFULLY. I have a cargo van. It takes about 2 hours to setup our booth. We used to bring two of our Mac Pros with two 24 inch Apple Cinema Displays each for a total of four monitors... we would play four different videos on the monitors and then our Demo Reel on a large 46" Display above that. It was more of a hassle to lug the Mac Pros and Cinema Displays... it much easier to just worry about displays with small media players attached to the back with velcro.
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 11:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Waite View Post
] it much easier to just worry about displays with small media players attached to the back with velcro.
What sort of media players do you use?
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 03:55 PM   #13
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If the HD TVs are new you could just plug in a USB stick with an HD clip on it and stream direct from that!
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 08:02 PM   #14
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John, Steve is right though if you have older screens (like us) we use WD streamers running from 2.5 disks
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Old November 2nd, 2010, 09:43 PM   #15
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We use WD HDTV media players... velcro them directly to the back of the TV and use a thumb drive with a 1080P file on each one. Works great and looks VERY clean!
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