from mid-range to high end? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old November 18th, 2010, 02:48 PM   #1
New Boot
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Brentwood, TN
Posts: 12
from mid-range to high end?

Hi all,

I've been reading these boards for a while. They're a great source of info!

I've been doing wedding videos for three years as a side gig. About 30 a year. My prices range from $600-$1600, and I bring in around $1000 per wedding on average.

I'm ready to take my business to the fabled "next level." In my market, I've been catering to the mid-range bride. Now, I'd like to go after some higher-end work. I've been doing a number of things lately to increase the quality of my videos (including jumping on the DSLR bandwagon), but I'm unsure of how to approach the packages and marketing side of the equation.

I've created a new brand for the high-end venture and have a new business name, website, etc for these brides. I've also partnered with another videographer so we can offer multi camera coverage. I offer 4 different package with my current business (along with a slew of upgrades), and am considering a one package setup for the new business...or at least fewer options.

Have any of you made this leap before? If so, what changes did you make to your business model to grab the attention of these brides? Do you offer one package, multiple, or customize per client?

For those of you already serving this market, what have you found to be most effective in terms of what kinds of services you provide? Do these brides want one tricked out package, or to pick and choose what's included?

Also, how are you being found by high end brides? Do you find that you're marketing differently to attract a different kind if customer?

I know each client is different and there might not be a one-size-fits all answer to my questions, just trying to get a general idea of how to proceed.

Thanks for any thoughts!
Brian Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 18th, 2010, 07:47 PM   #2
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 1,212
Brian, congratulations in understanding that a major key to your success is the way you market your product. However, there's not one market and so what's good for me in mine will probably not be applicable to you in yours.

May I offer you a few generalities?

Keep it simple - we have one comprehensive package.

Maintain your integrity - don't accept second best (even if the client won't notice - that's just shoddy).

Don't chase the whole market - if your product is right for one sector it probably won't be very attractive to the others.

Accept that to market a higher priced and thus superior product invariably costs more than marketing a budget one. This is even more true in the early stages.

Increase your prices regularly. Even if your technical costs aren't increasing your ancillary costs will be (fuel, tax, rents etc) and it avoids big less frequent price hikes.

Accept that there's no one right way to market. Try different ideas and don't be afraid to drop them if they don't work. We all waste some of our effort.

Finally, though I'm sure there is much more, a personal recommendation; don't put much store on the value of referrals. The buying pattern in wedding videos means that the price this year's bride paid was possibly the current price two years ago and the bride she refers to you may be booking two years ahead. Referrals (in my view) only work if the prices for both parties are pretty much the same.

If I get a chance to write more (and I think it'll be helpful) I will but happily we're still busy - wedding to record on Saturday and a deposit taken yesterday for a February wedding in London. We must be doing something right. If I knew exactly what it was I'd do more of it.
Philip Howells is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 19th, 2010, 02:35 PM   #3
New Boot
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Brentwood, TN
Posts: 12
Thanks for the advice, Philip. I'd be interested to know what kind of marketing you've been utilizing.

Also, do you find that your brides find value in the loaner video cam you provide for their honeymoon? I'm assuming you have a "you break it, you buy it" policy.
Brian Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 19th, 2010, 03:33 PM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 2,933
Brian, I'm curious as to why you haven't raised your prices substantially in the past? If you've just been doing it on the side, and you have another source of income, then most definitely that is the easiest time to increase your prices. So that would be my first question. Why have you kept your pricing low up until now?

Second, and I know every market is different, but personally I think if you've been averaging $1k per wedding then you haven't even been hitting the mid-range brides yet. You're on the low end. Mid-range should be somewhere in the $2-3k range in most markets. I don't point this out to make you feel bad, I just want you to make sure you know where you stand in your market. If you've been viewing $2-3k as 'high end', then when you really try to go after high end you might still miss it.

Reaching the high end bride can happen in so many ways. Going to a one package system won't magically do it for you, though. We use a one package system right now, but we broke into high end weddings with a 3 package system. High end brides come with higher quality work, the right network connections, and sometimes just plain lucky breaks. Your marketing can have a lot to do with it too. You don't see ads for Porsche or Gucci in the local paper, right? So you can't just advertise in all the places where the lower end brides will be. Your brand also has to scream high end. If your brand looks at all like a lower or middle range company, it's going to hold you back.

One thing is for sure, the day you get a high end client, make sure you do the absolute best you can do for them. If you can blow them away and start getting referrals from them, then you're on the right track. That said, make sure you charge for it too. Just because you want to do an amazing job doesn't mean you should give everything away. That just sets you up for the wrong kind of referrals.

Good luck!
__________________
Black Label Films
www.blacklabelweddingfilms.com
Travis Cossel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 19th, 2010, 04:33 PM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Manchester UK
Posts: 1,212
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Johnson View Post
Thanks for the advice, Philip. I'd be interested to know what kind of marketing you've been utilizing.

Also, do you find that your brides find value in the loaner video cam you provide for their honeymoon? I'm assuming you have a "you break it, you buy it" policy.
Brian, I know from past comments I've received that not everyone here appreciates marketing opinions so I'll PM you. Having said that Travis is right.
Philip Howells is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 20th, 2010, 01:55 AM   #6
New Boot
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Brentwood, TN
Posts: 12
Thanks, Travis. Based on my research into this market, my price range of 600-1600 is near the middle for what I'm offering. Im selling one guy/two cameras. There are a handful of folks in the 4k-6k range here and that's where I'd like to end up.

I've been inching up my prices over the last couple years and found what I considered to be a sweet spot. I advertise on a few different pay per lead sites and the majority of those brides claim to have a budget of 1000-1500. I'm nervous about raising them more lest I price myself out of the range of the bulk of brides I've been booking.

I've been happy pulling in an extra 30k a year as a side job, but I'd be even happier if I could abandon my full-time job. So, my desire to go after high end brides is essentially a matter of me getting serious about doing this as a career and trying to compete with the big dogs that are currently serving them.

Oh, and Philip...I read your PM. Thanks for taking the time to do that. I'll reply in the AM.
Brian Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 20th, 2010, 03:53 AM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Norwich, Norfolk, UK
Posts: 3,445
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Johnson View Post
I've created a new brand for the high-end venture and have a new business name, website, etc for these brides.
Is it wise to ditch your existing brand, website, position on Google search etc? You will effectively be starting from scratch again. Isn't it better to consolidate on what you have already built up?
Nigel Barker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 20th, 2010, 11:23 AM   #8
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Miami, FL
Posts: 2,933
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Johnson View Post
Thanks, Travis. Based on my research into this market, my price range of 600-1600 is near the middle for what I'm offering. Im selling one guy/two cameras. There are a handful of folks in the 4k-6k range here and that's where I'd like to end up.

I've been inching up my prices over the last couple years and found what I considered to be a sweet spot. I advertise on a few different pay per lead sites and the majority of those brides claim to have a budget of 1000-1500. I'm nervous about raising them more lest I price myself out of the range of the bulk of brides I've been booking.

I've been happy pulling in an extra 30k a year as a side job, but I'd be even happier if I could abandon my full-time job. So, my desire to go after high end brides is essentially a matter of me getting serious about doing this as a career and trying to compete with the big dogs that are currently serving them.

Oh, and Philip...I read your PM. Thanks for taking the time to do that. I'll reply in the AM.
Why should you be nervous about pricing yourself out of the range of the brides you've been booking? Isn't that what you want anyways? You already have a primary job to fall back on if things don't work out. If I were you I would take complete advantage of having that primary job. Provided your work and your brand image will support it, I would raise your prices to right where you want them. You have nothing to lose. If you keep your prices low, though, you're going to forever miss that higher end market.

It sounds to me like your goal is to leave your full-time job and be tapped into the high end wedding market. So I say make your move now. If you wait until the wedding work is your full-time job, that will only make it more difficult because you'll be more nervous about your pricing.

Once again though, you have to make sure the quality of your work and your brand image is ready for high end. If it's not, it's not going to work.
__________________
Black Label Films
www.blacklabelweddingfilms.com
Travis Cossel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 20th, 2010, 01:56 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Bakersfield, CA
Posts: 307
That's some good advice from Philip and Travis. You've got to be willing to take chances... and by the sounds of it you're in a good position, not being full time and all.
__________________
http://www.higherdefinitionmedia.com
RED One #6135 "Spartacus"
Andrew Waite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 20th, 2010, 09:02 PM   #10
New Boot
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Brentwood, TN
Posts: 12
Very valuable advice from all of you, and things I've been thinking a lot about.

I don't intend to completely ditch my current offerings. Seems kind of foolish since they've been pretty well received so far (though admittedly on the cheaper side). I will be running both offerings concurrently. If the new, more expensive venture crashes and burns, then I've still got the existing business to fall back on. And if the new takes off, then I'm offering my services to a larger chunk of brides out there than if I had to choose one or the other.

Since I do have another job, there are times when I'm not able to shoot a particular wedding myself. Or I double book. Or in the case of one very popular date next year, quadruple book. I have a very short list of local, reliable freelance shooters that shoot on my behalf. I make the fact that we're a collaborative effort very transparent, especially during consultations, so it's no big deal if I can't make a particular wedding myself. I say all this to explain that the new offerings would be my priority, and the old would keep chugging along as it has for the last few years. Hopefully I'll transition completely into the higher end range of things eventually.

Launching a new website and brand from scratch is tough in terms of SEO and online visibility, but I thought a complete break from the old was needed in order to create a new brand image and reputation. Takes time I know, but I've got a little to spare.
Brian Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 20th, 2010, 11:38 PM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Posts: 8,222
Hi Brian

I found that weddings do have a definate "sweet spot" ... raise your prices just a minor amount and you lose the category of brides that previously were enthusiastic about booking!! What you do have to find is where the next sweet spot is... at $1000 I would class your range as definately for "budget brides" (That's my standard pricing too ...I do standard coverage (short prep, ceremony, short photoshoot and reception events for $1099 (sounds cheaper than $1100!!!) I did jack up the price to $1299 and the bookings just fell away and I assume that they were just a tad too high for budget brides and "too cheap" for mid-range brides.

Why not double brand ??? Set up two websites with your existing one to handle budget brides and then a more "classy" site to do the mid range bride ..using a new name and marketing tactics... if the new one doesn't attract much attention you can play around with the content and pricing until you find the sweet spot and you will still have the normal income and bookings from the original site. On my side of the pond the mid range pricing seems to be around the $2600 - $3200 range.

Chris
Chris Harding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 22nd, 2010, 04:36 PM   #12
New Boot
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Brentwood, TN
Posts: 12
That's exactly what I'm doing. Details in the post above. :)

I must say, it's interesting to launch a new venture with the experience of having been in the biz for a while. Not exactly starting from scratch, but close!


Brian
Brian Johnson is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:26 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network