Ok, so perhaps I should’ve submitted this for Mobile Beat’s September edition, but unfortunately, the idea hadn’t occurred to me yet when the deadline for that issue rolled around. However, after recent conversations, I’ve developed a strong feeling that I address the five biggest myths about school dance marketing.
For those of you who don’t know me, I do a bit of school marketing here and there (ha ha) and thought I’d share these five points. So, without adding any filler sentences to make this paragraph look like a real paragraph and not just two lines of text (irony), let’s get started!
1) IT’S TOO LATE TO MARKET HOMECOMING/PROM Saying this is like believing that no one does anything last minute. Heck, our super-cool-awesome-high-five-editor, Dan, has probably seen more last-minute articles or changes (including this one) from me than any writer at Mobile Beat. As I write this, I am still having homecoming meetings for dances as little as four weeks away. While some schools signed a contract last year, that isn’t the case with everyone. Besides, even if every school you talked to already booked someone, you should still take note of their homecoming date. Give them a follow-up ring or email and ask how homecoming went. If it went poorly, you should then ask if you could send them some materials for next year and ask when you can contract them again for the following homecoming dance. While you’re at it, ask them to connect you to the prom sponsor. Obviously this works best when the dance went poorly and it’s fresh in their minds. Just remember, you should be in full-on marketing mode the entire year!
2) YOU SHOULD ALWAYS START AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR As I said above, you should be marketing school dances 365 days of the year. Many DJs have told me that it’s impossible to get a hold of teachers during the summer. Many of these DJs are in my own market. This year alone, about 40% of our dances were booked throughout the summer. The SGA (Student Government Association) still held meetings during the summer and teachers still check their email. Will you be able to contact the school and find out the advisor’s name during the summer? Probably not, but this should’ve been done a long time ago anyway! You know what else is a myth? Teachers get summers and weeknightes/weekends off. They don’t—they work as much as we do, year-round. That being said, I’ve gotten email responses late night and during the summer.
3) IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED, TRY AGAIN! Ok, so this one may leave you scratching your head. What I mean by this is don’t waste time with schools who are just not interested. If you’ve called a school and they are happy with their DJ or are just too cheap to even care, move on…for now. The time you waste trying to convert this cold call into a lead, let alone a sale, would be time that you could’ve used to call other schools in your area. We had to face this decision when I found that I could book two or three schools an hour away, in the time it took me to even reach someone in my own backyard. After I was able to contact the other schools, I made a full-circle back. Marketing to schools is all about being effective; it’s a lot of preparation for what’s a small window of time each day to connect with someone on the phone. If you have a school that’s a tough nut to crack, don’t obsess…keep moving!
4) KEEP PRESENTATIONS SIMPLE Every time I pull up to a meeting with a Rock ‘N Roller, console, a speaker, a projector, laptop, and a “distracting light” (you should really get my book or videos), I always get the school to make note of how “all-out” we go. I find this funny as I thought my setup was fairly simple. However, I’ve learned through the years that my competition hardly brings out a laptop, let alone a whole system. Remember that if you’re going to leave an impression on them…YOU NEED TO ACTUALLY LEAVE AN IMPRESSION ON THEM! Always bring your own projector so your videos look their best, bring your system and actually spin a quick set in front of them, and BRING a decent speaker to make sure your videos sound as good as they look. (I don’t bring our huge Yamaha DSR115s, but rather an easily portable but excellent- sounding RCF315a for presentation purposes. )You’re a DJ—why would you bring anything less?
5) GIVE THEM A PRICE AS YOU MEET WITH THEM
Why? Why is this logical? If you just met with them, the goal is to get them to like you right away. With the rare exception every now and then, I always tell the committee that I will be sending a proposal at various price ranges, based on what we talked about, within the next day or so. I’ll send it the same day (underpromise and overdeliver) but I won’t do it during the meeting. The point of crunching numbers and giving your client a custom package means a bit of thought has to be put into it; plus, I want them to relish in the feel-good moment that was our meetºing. So there we have it… how do you stack up? While homecoming season may be over or halfway done for you, it’s really never too late—so keep on truckin’! YOUTH EVENT MASTERY Remember…you should be in full-on school dance marketing mode 365 days of the year.
Filed Under: Issue #152, School Dances
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