When I started in business in the late 80’s we as an industry were first dipping our toes in the water. Placing ads in the phone book was a necessity. Having a booth at a bridal show was a necessity. Having ads in the local wedding magazine was a necessity. These were all necessities if you wanted to grow a large multi-op dj company.
The phone books are all but gone and have been replaced with google via a smart phone, tablet, or computer. Bridal shows are alive and well however they compete daily with the information available to today’s wedding couples online. Having an ad in a wedding magazine is now more of a branding tool than a sales generator. Everything about how we used to market our company has changed. The way that we as consumers shop have also changed.
When I started djing, I spun vinyl. We supplemented our systems with a cassette tape deck and a cd player until we migrated to cds and a dual cd player and then eventually a laptop.
I’m not trying to bore anyone with my trip down memory lane, but I wanted to give quick examples of how quickly things have changed in just 20 years. What is always amazing to me is how resistant to change so many people can be, myself included at times.
I remember hearing the phrase “If you aren’t growing you are dying” at a seminar years ago and it has always stuck with me. If you look at what is happening and has happened to iconic businesses today you can see which companies have evolved and which have died. Toys R Us, Borders, Tower Records, and Blockbuster for example did not evolve and instead they have died.
Brands however like Apple, Victoria’s Secret, Lego, have embraced change as well as technology and continue to grow by offering new products and services all based around client needs.
Younger brands like Netflix, Starbucks, Progressive Insurance, PayPal and Amazon are a product of technology and continue to grow by leaps and bounds by their use of technology and their choice to not only embrace change but to create it. Years ago, if I purchased a product and it was shipped to me, I would get it in 6-8 days. If I got it in 6 days, I was thrilled. Today waiting six days for a product to be shipped to a consumer is considered horrific service. Amazon changed the way that we shop online more so than any other company in existence today.
I am a big fan of education and just about the time that a dj conference is about to happen, someone will post on a dj related social media group page about the show. Without fail, a member of that group will make the comment about how they have been in business for 100 years and have never “had” to attend a show and how they don’t see the need. As I read the comments on a post like this, I realize that the dj that doesn’t see the need to attend a conference is most likely doing business the same that they always have. They are also most likely entertaining the exact same way as well. There is also the possibility that they will be the Toys R Us of the dj industry.
The question that I have for everyone reading this article is this, how has your business and/or performance evolved in the past 12 months, last 3 years, last 5 years, etc.
How often do you update your website, demo videos, marketing materials, performance style, etc.?
As you read this, it is easy to think back to your last event where the wedding couple hugged you, tipped you and even wrote a positive review about you however in today’s over saturated wedding industry, this isn’t enough any longer. The best companies in business today are the ones that are forward thinkers and are investing in tomorrow while also exceeding client expectations today.
I have had the pleasure of meeting thousands of DJs across the world over the years and I always hear the same thing from everyone at lunches or dinners, “I give my clients the best service of anyone in my market.” I love this, and I want to know more so I naturally ask what specifically do they do? Inevitably, the person who said it can’t put into words the specific customer service techniques that they use to give their clients a better experience. They love to use buzz words like custom, attention to detail, etc. but they fail to show an actual example. If answering your phone or returning an email from your phone immediately is an example of exceptional service, you need to rethink what actual great customer service is.
I would strongly recommend that everyone who reads this, visits a very high-end hotel or restaurant. You don’t need to spend the night at the hotel or have an expensive dinner but if you have a drink or an appetizer you will see how detailed the service is generally. There are exceptions to every rule but hotels like a Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, or a restaurant like Morton’s or Ruth Chris will demonstrate truly exceptional service and a certain style in the process. Take in the experience and then think to yourself how you can be evolving your service as well.
I recently spoke to a dj who told me that he is emailing his wedding couples a pdf of their wedding forms to fill out and then meeting with the client 3 weeks before the wedding to go through the details. When I pressed him as to why, he responded with that he felt that online planning tools were cold. I asked him how warm and fuzzy his pdfs being mailed were. I also pointed out that the couple also now needs to print them, hand write everything, if they make a mistake or want to change something it is a hassle on a printed pdf where as with an online form, they can simply hit back space and fix it and save it. I also asked him the most important question which was what did his wedding couples feel was more convenient for them? He said he had never thought about it that way.
I meet DJs who purchase lighting for their company based on what is the most cost effective for them, small enough for their vehicle, and is easiest to set up as opposed to what looks best on a dance floor to create the best atmosphere for dancing. This is also why so many photographers ask DJs to turn off their lights during a first dance because if they don’t, the bride will have green laser dots on their forehead in all their pictures.
When you break down all the practices of your company, are you doing what is best for the client or what is easiest for you as the business owner? Are you doing the same thing you were doing ten years ago? How are you embracing technology to make your customer’s experience better? What innovations have you made with your company to give the client the best experience possible?
With weddings being the largest market for the dj industry I will end with these facts; the number of marriages happening in this country is at a 100 year low. At the same time there is more competition than there ever has been in the past. Are you or is your company growing or dying?