Invited to BranchOut on Facebook? Maybe you should just say no.

Originally posted February 2012 – BranchOut.com is now on Hiatus

Those two magic words… You’re invited! “Are you in or you out?” (to quote George Clooneys character in Ocean’s 11).

What is BranchOut, exactly? It’s a Facebook App for Career Networking… 

  • Do I need that?
  • Do you need that?
  • Does it duplicate other online services you already have?
  • Does it perform better than other online services you use or might choose instead?
  • Would it be wise to be a participant in BranchOut, as well as other services?

Being self-employed rather on a employer-employee career path makes it a different decision. In advising others, I do my best to try things out and offer my opinion.

In short, if you’re self-employed, you don’t need it. If you work for someone else, BranchOut duplicates LinkedIn, in a big way. For most people, it’s unnecessary to do both. My preference would be LinkedIn.

The philosophy is this:

“In a land of unlimited social media and networking choices, it’s important to actually MAKE CHOICES. More is not necessarily better. That’s not to say BranchOut isn’t for some people. However, if you’re not using the least number of services offering the greatest amount of leverage, you’re wasting precious time and personal energy.”

That’s the word!

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

WeddingWire Education Team adds Andy Ebon

WeddingWire EducationWedding Marketing Expert, Andy Ebon, will be joining the WeddingWire Education Team as an Education Expert. His official start date is June 1st, kicking off with the WeddingWire World Conference in Miami, June 3rd,  closely followed by the WeddingWire WorldConference in Washington DC, June 16th. These full day events the first two in a 5-day schedule for calendar year 2014.

WeddingWire Education

For the Miami gathering, Andy will be joining such wedding industry luminaries as: Sonny Ganguly (Wedding Wire), Alan Berg (Wedding Industry Leadership Conference), Silvia Camps (Brand Development Group), Kathryn Hamm (GayWeddings.com), Kyle Mihalcoe (WeddingWire), Brendan McLellan (WeddingWire), Bill Cronin (WeddingWire).

During the course of his work with WeddingWire, Andy will be speaking at national, regional, and local conferences and meetings, as well as giving periodic webinars, and contributing to its B2B blog.

“I am incredibly excited being part of the WeddingWire Education Team as an adjunct to work in my companies, Wedding University®, The Wedding Marketing Blog, and the Wedding Marketing Network. Great thanks to Sonny Ganguly for bringing me into the fold.”

Noreen Azuzu
Feature Writer
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Always done it this way

black-bear-breakfast1Black Bear Diner is one of my favorite breakfast places. I had a morning meal there, last Friday. It’s a relatively small chain of restaurants (62 locations) and feels like a local establishment.

Everyone is courteous. Staff members recognize you upon arrival. The waitresses know your ‘usual,’ and refills your coffee cup without being asked. The portions are generous and prices are moderate.

What’s not to like? Well, look closely at the picture. It’s the wimpy, wilted lettuce, underneath the orange slice. Friday, I ordered multi-grain pancakes with strawberries and sugar-free syrup (it’s a diabetic thing). The garnish is a fresh orange slice on a wimpy, slice of wilted lettuce.

I understand a leaf of lettuce with a burger and fries. What is leaf of lettuce doing on the underside of an orange slice, with pancakes? I mean really. It’s incongruous, it’s bizarre. It’s contrary. And it’s not even a fresh, crisp lettuce leaf. It’s wimpy and wilted. I have now taken to asking the waitress-of-the-day (Friday it was Deane) to banish such wimpy, wilted lettuce from my plate.

The truly humorous thing is asking, “So tell me, what’s the history of putting a wimpy, wilted leaf of lettuce under every garnish?” the answer is something akin to “I don’t really know. We’ve always done it this way.”

In this case, the wimpy, wilted lettuce is not going to stop me from patronizing the Black Bear Diner, but it raised a different, perhaps bigger question, in my mind.. What does the “wimpy-wilted-lettuce factor” have to do with Wedding Marketing in your business and mine? What little thing are we doing that annoy prospects and customers and could be changed, simply, without a cost factor or great effort? What are you doing ‘because you’ve always done it that way?’

  • Are you a photographer or videographer who drops your gear, just anywhere, at the reception, without regard to safety or aesthetics?
  • Are you a musician or DJ who is sloppy about taping down wires? Do you use grey duct tape, when black stage tape would make a better appearance?
  • Are you a baker or florist who delivers their creations dressed in a t-shirt and ragged jeans? How about a custom company polo short (with logo), and khakis, instead?
  • Does your website have photos that take 3 minutes to load because they were processed five years ago? Are your testimonials from 1999?
  • Do you do a good job for the client, but seldom properly acknowledge a referral?
  • Do you only call clients and peers to ask for something or to vent? How about calling just to see how they’re doing, and not to ask for anything?

It’s no secret that the wedding industry is highly competitive. Distinguish yourself by doing little things well. What’s your wimpy-wilted-lettuce factor? Identify and fix it. No fanfare.

And another thing… I never mix my soul food with caviar pie! Andy Ebon The Wedding Marketing Blog

PS: If you live in the Western United States, go visit a Black Bear Diner near you. And if you see wimpy, wilted lettuce, point it out. And tell them, Andy from Las Vegas said, “Get it outta here”.

black bear diner

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon 
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

 

Pricing and service structure: Is it time for change?

value-for-moneyWedding professionals are often frustrated by brides and grooms don’t appreciate the value of their services. Ultimately, aside from ‘customer service,’ there are three major factors that come into play.

  • Hours of service
  • Price for product/service
  • The quality of the result

One problem is traditional wedding service pricing structure . Particularly for entertainment, photography, videography, pricing is quoted within the framework of ‘time in direct service with the client.’

Until I went through the process of being a groom, I never realized how much time a videographer or photographer spent, before and after the wedding, before presenting the finished work. 

While customary in the wedding industry, linking pricing only to face-to-face service at a wedding, or wedding and reception, drastically understates the total time of service. 

A bride doesn’t know how many hours it takes to edit one hour of raw video footage from one camera, It’s hard for her to understand why the price is $5000 or more, rather than $1000. Hours of work at a wedding and reception are a specific measure of your effort; however, grossly incomplete. The result is more subjective. Hours of shooting does not equal the value of your work.

It is not enough to show a prospect samples of your reel or portfolio photos and expect  understanding degree of difficulty. Shooting a sunset wedding, has a high degree of difficulty. If one doesn’t explain situational differences in equipment, lighting, skill level, etc., you are just hoping the prospect figures it out. Likely an unreasonable expectation.

A Disc Jockey service or Live Band prices itself for a specific number of  performance hours. Travel and set up are typically not mentioned not in discussion or noted in an agreement (unless the event is outside the local market area).

What effect might it have were proposals and agreements included a ‘simple informational statement’ indicating a summary of unseen work, associated with your event service, not occurring during the reception time frame?

Effective service implementation, meeting or exceeding client expectations, includes explaining the total scope of your service, at some level.

  • Maybe this approach should become an industry-wide standard for wedding marketers?
  • What would change in the process of selling if every prospect understood you total measure of service, and its impact on a successful outcome?

I know, I’m turning wedding industry pricing and selling approach on its ear. Maybe it’s time we do that.

I invite your specific comments, and how you think this might apply within your slice of the wedding industry.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog