While in Sacramento attending the "World Record Wedding Video Event," I met with Richard Markel, president of the Association For Wedding Professionals, International (AFWPI). We discussed current trends in the video industry and the WEVA Nationwide Survey of Brides. However, Richard got really excited when I pulled out my video iPod and started showing him my work and telling him how wedding professionals are beginning to use the video iPod to market their business. Richard loved the idea and immediately invited me to speak at their 8th annual national conference on how to use video as a marketing tool. At that point, the conference was only six weeks away.
While the PR committee had discussed the idea of reaching out to other vendors to educate them about what we do, we now had not only to develop the idea but also deliver a video presentation under a tight deadline! We had many phone calls and many late nights in putting together this power point presentation. I want to give special thanks to Al Ritondo (Wedding Video Talk) and Natalie Neal (Glass Slipper Productions, PA) for making this a priority (we are all volunteers) as well as to all the videographers who submitted video clips for us to use. I was now preparing a new presentation: "The Power of Video & How To Get More Business Using It."
The Association for Wedding Professionals, International (AFWPI) held their 8th annual conference at the historic Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas on April 1-5, 2006. The Menger Hotel is next to the Alamo and walking distance to the city's famed Riverwalk. San Antonio is a great place to hold a conference as the spring flowers were in full bloom as temperatures reached 90 degrees. The entire conference had a southwestern theme. We were even treated to a surprise trio of mariachi musicians on Monday morning to get the conference started on a high note.
The attendees came from all across the country--even across the ocean. Two women from Venice Events flew in from Italy to attend the conference. Talk about a small world: one of the women, Lindsey Coleman, said she went to school with Janet Fenton of the Graham Fenton Experience and had seen the Fenton's gold CEA-winning concept video, "Tragedy." Several attendees came from Sacramento (the homebase of AFWPI), including Anna, the dove lady (www.whitebird.com) and Jeff Sharpe, the photographer at the WRWVE. Another AFWPI attendee, Prima Diva, the day-of coordinator at the Galleria Library, told me how she could feel the high energy from all the videographers. I included a clip from Mark and Trisha Von Lanken's WRWVE Same-Day Edit as part of the video presentation.
There were 2-3 seminars going on at the same time as well as a small tradeshow area. WEVA had a booth where we handed out folders that contained the new WEVA Nationwide Survey of Brides, the February 2005 US News & World Report article "A Match Made on DVD," a brochure on current trends in wedding videography, a list of media storage tips, and a letter telling wedding professionals how they can find a videographer by using the WEVA Brides Guide on the WEVA Web site.
We started the presentation with the Ritondos' Movin' On Up video on the growth of wedding video. Even though this video is six years old, the message is still appropriate (the video got lots of intended laughs). We also showed samples of a 3D photo montage, a bridal prep, a love story, a bar mitzvah concept video, and more. They had to pull out the tissue as we showed Creative Images' Bobby Warns memorial video, which won multiple top honors in 2005. LaDonna Moore's gold CEA demo proved a very effective ending, culminating with the bride's declaration, "The video was the one thing we thought we could live without, but it would have been the biggest mistake we ever made." The AFWPI crowd loved the video iPod as a marketing tool, and the other marketing tips such as how to establish yourself as an expert and how to have a Web site, business card, and ad that stands out amongst the crowd.
Several consultants and other wedding professionals came up to me afterwards and thanked me for presenting with remarks such as, "Now I will be better able to sell video to my clients because now I understand the impact of video" and "I didn't realize this kind of work was possible."
At the WEVA Expos I've attended, the "creative" seminars are typically more crowded than the business and marketing ones. At AFWPI, members gravitated toward the marketing seminars. It was by design that we made the first half of the video presentation about what our industry is doing, followed by how video can be used as a marketing tool.
Educating other wedding professionals on what we do will be even more effective than educating brides. Brides come and go, and then the education process has to continually start over. However, the impact of educating wedding professionals is far-reaching. They will be able to sell our services for years to come. Once they've seen what we can do, then it will be easier for them to recommend us. This is where the importance of networking comes to play. Those who schmooze will get to reap the benefits of recommendations from wedding professionals. I have no doubt that their perception of video was changed by those attending my seminar.
The WEVA PR committee's plan is to continue to reach out to other professional wedding associations throughout the year. Various members of the committee will be delivering this video presentation all across the country. In fact, one week later I presented it to the Chicago chapter of the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC). I am also a confirmed speaker at their upcoming national convention this fall in Colorado Springs.
Raising the awareness of our industry within the wedding community is a huge step forward and one that is long overdue. If you know of an association in your area that would like to see this video presentation, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.