Having talent and ability in the event film industry is one thing, but having the marketing skills to operate a thriving business is an entirely different part of the equation. While producing a quality film is paramount to the success of a business, marketing is really the key ingredient that allows your films to reach potential clients. Our business set up is a little unique. We are a husband and wife team, but Alex does the shooting and I (Jocelyn) handle all sales and marketing. I generally don’t do any shooting. My main responsibility is to handle the clients and run the business, which as most of you know is a big job in and of itself!
Over the years, we have tried every type of marketing available. We have done the print ads, the online marketing, and the bridal shows. While I’m certainly not knocking those avenues, we have found that our best marketing tool is our relationships formed with other vendors.
Last year, 40% of our bookings came from referrals. Of those referrals, most were from coordinators and photographers. So, it’s a no-brainer for us that those referrals are bringing in a great deal of revenue.
So, how are we making these connections? First and most importantly, we don’t contact vendors out of nowhere and send them emails asking them to meet with us. We have found that cold calling people won’t get you far and we much prefer having worked with someone before we establish a relationship. Once we have had the chance to work with a photographer or a coordinator, we follow up with a call and eventually the film of the event. Generally sending out a film to all of the vendors involved generates a lot of buzz. It’s a great connecting point- all of the vendors involved in the event have not only had a chance to see the way we work but have also viewed our final product.
Now it’s time for a short disclaimer- Marketing and establishing relationships is a two way street. If we don’t respect a vendor’s work or don’t agree with their methods, and if they don’t offer quality client interaction, we are not interested in their referrals or referring them for events. We would go no further than to send them a follow up email and a link to the highlight.
So, once we have established mutual respect and a good working atmosphere, most of the time a friendship is soon to follow. Many of the people that we met while working at events are now our closest friends. A camaraderie is formed and loyalty is established that runs both ways. We will refer these people because we are confident in their integrity and work ethic and vice versa.
Another way that we network to these preferred vendors is to create spotlight films. Spotlight films are short films that focus on a vendor, basically a commercial for the company. While we do still charge for these films, we will do them for those that help us at at a discounted price. We as filmmakers have a lot to offer other vendors and as a “thank you,” we will often offer to do one of these to help their business.
We cannot stress the importance of having great relationships with other vendors. Not only have we made some wonderful friends, but in addition, we have generated business and created great working relationships with people that we love shooting alongside on a regular basis.