By Andy Ebon, “Wedding Marketing Expert”
Wedding businesses seem to experience recurring cases of amnesia, at least twice annually. Regardless of the effectiveness of exhibiting in a bridal show, many companies rethink the buying decision, every time. Other business just renew for the next series of shows, without missing a beat.
Describing a Successful Wedding Show
Bridal show staff members have an impossible job. Planning the show, selling exhibitor space, developing sponsorship participation, continually improving the event, itself, with new wrinkles, and attracting solid attendance from brides, grooms, and their entourage members.
As part of their show-day duties, members of staff will circulate throughout the show floor and check in on exhibitors to make certain everything is to their liking and see if they have any immediate needs or issues. This proactive work can head off bigger problems often spoken about (for the first time) AFTER the show. Seeking brush fires and putting them out is good show management protocol.
And how’s the show going for you, so far?
When asking this question to 100 exhibitors, a show producer will get a wide variety of answers. Most responses are of little value. The value is in showing genuine concern for the perceived success at the show.
As a past exhibitor, I would bristle at the question. Particularly, if the show staffer was accompanied by a clipboard and contract for the next show (usually accompanied by a discount). My standard response was: “It’s too early to tell. Take to me 30-60 days.”
My brusque response was based on the notion that primary show accomplishments were measured by the number of appointments booked. Some businesses will book business, at the show, and that’s fine. But they are the exception.
Other than day-of-show sales, the main goals should be:
- Booking appointments
- Appointments – Utilizing email, snail mail, and telemarketing – POST SHOW – to confirm existing appointments and book new appointments
- Reinforcing company branding within the local wedding market
- Showcase new services, staff
How to Shoot Yourself in the Foot
Perhaps the most frustrating discussion a bridal show producer can have with an exhibitor who elects to participate in the next show because ‘We did so well from the last show, we thought we’d sit out and see what happens.’
The show producer will try to talk the exhibitor out of taking a sabbatical for a variety of reasons, both for the benefit of their customer (you) and themselves.
Suffering from Success
Suffering from Success is an Ebonism describe a state of overwhelm from too many inquiries or bookings. It has been my experience, both personally and by observation that suffering from success is a temporary condition, often resulting in excessive optimism.
Circumstances change quickly. Referral relationships can change overnight. People can relocate, get fired, or transfer in the blink of an eye. You can fall out of favor with a peer by your own hand or an employee gaffe. It can and does happen. Believing you are somehow immune is blue sky optimism.
Wedding Shows are a lead source, Year Round
Virtually all show websites provide leads to their exhibitors, both from the live events and sign-ups on websites. Sadly, advertisers/exhibitors rarely take advantage of this ongoing influx of prospects. There are different ‘wedding seasons’ (as far as months when people get married), but engagements occur every month of the year.
Yes it’s true the most engagements happen Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve’. The next largest engagement period is around Valentine’s Day. If you limit your wedding marketing activity to those time frames, you are shorting yourself.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
In our burgeoning internet and social media world, many wedding professionals have scaled back their face-to-face wedding marketing and networking; either unwittingly or by choice. Your absence from wedding shows speaks more loudly than your presence.
Suffering from Success: Part 2
Other than becoming more efficient in handling business, there are other options at your disposal.
- Expanding your business
- Developing improved strategic alliances with friendly competitors
- Enhancing your target audience – including RAISING PRICES
The pricing test
If you are effectively sold out at the appropriate times on your calendar, then ask yourself this,
“Am I turning away any business for the stated reason of ‘being too expensive’?”
If the answer is NO… or sometimes, but I’m able to fill those dates with then next prospect, THEN, you should consider raising your prices. It’s a step to consider thoughtfully.
Any price increase, without expanding capacity, is money headed right for your bottom line.
Saturdays Sold Out through June 13th
At the next wedding show, why not declare your success by letting wedding couples and wedding professionals about how solid your company is. It will be a motivator for wedding couples and professionals.
Don’t ever sit on the sidelines to ‘see what happens’ if you don’t exhibit ‘this time’. Don’t be Passive! Proactively build on your success and direct your company to scale even greater heights.