Wedding Marketing Kudos: In praise of the $500 DJ; and the $5000 DJ

August 6, 2008 by Andy Ebon

One of the age old arguments in the Mobile DJ Industry is the definition of professional. It’s a discussion that will likely never have a definitive outcome.

DJ PricingSo for the sake of further acrimony, here’s my broad definition: A professional mobile DJ is a person/company who/that provides music, emcee, and in some cases, other services for their client, using professional, well maintained gear, presented in an aesthetically appropriate manner for the event.

That’s it. That’s the list.

Defining success is a slightly different thing. From my perspective, as well as pleasing the client, being successful means: Earning a fee for service, enjoying the work, and seeing a profit for one’s efforts.

I don’t make much of a delineation between full time DJ’s and weekend warriors. I spent most of my time as full time DJ, but observed any number of other full-timers that were unprofessional slobs, and part-timers who loved what their work, and were good at it.

Which brings me to the subject of this blog post: Pricing and quality, and their relationship to success.

In a recent book, marketing guru, Seth Godin wrote about the inverse bell curve. His thesis on differentiating your product or service, and making a profit was quite intriguing, simple, and spot on.

He suggested that there are essentially three places to be on the spectrum, the graph measuring pricing vs. profitability.

  1. Extremely high quality and high price; resulting in a profitable business from a high of sales.
  2. Low industry price, with fewer features and consistent quality, resulting in a profitable business from a high volume of sales.
  3. The middle ground, resulting in commoditization of the business, challenging competition for clients, and difficult to make a profit. In this instance, the term ‘commoditization’ means that your business appears much the same as the next one, making it difficult for the customer to make a clear choice.

Now, before you jump out of your chair, think about examples in other industries. Today, I’m flying Southwest Airlines. Their marketing strategy is dead-on-simple. They are the low-price airline. That’s what they want you to remember them for.

Southwest is also competent, pleasant, on-time, doesn’t lose a lot of luggage, has a great loyalty program, and is incredibly consistent in delivering its service. Southwest has had profitable quarters, every year, for over a decade, through every possible economic situation.

There are a number of high-end air carriers, both domestic and international that provide an exceptional experience, with pricing to match. They also do well.

The bulk of air carriers are smack in the bottom of the inverse bell-shaped curve, bleeding money. They look and feel pretty much alike, and cannibalize each other’s customer base.

Pick an industry, you’ll be able to identify the winners at both ends of the spectrum, easily. Four Seasons and Motel 6. Neiman Marcus and WalMart. There are countless industry examples, and many familiar business names stuck in the middle.

If you have the skills, presentation, and aspiration to be a $5000 mobile DJ, offering clients a markedly superior and complete service, I applaud you.

On the other hand, if you offer a low-price, streamlined, competent and professional service that pleases your clients, I applaud you, as well.

For the rest who labor in no-man’s-land, I suggest a wedding-marketing-gut-check. Pick up a spot, other than the bottom of the inverse bell-shaped curve, and define your identity.

Complaining about ‘bottom-feeders’ is a bogus argument. Either get better or get lost. Don’t kid yourself. So-called bottom feeders are often competent, dedicated, low-priced mobile DJs who are eating your lunch on a regular basis.

And they are laughing all the way to the bank, too.

Your comments are encouraged!!

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
Wedding Marketing Blog

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Andy Ebon Andy Ebon (78 Posts)

Keith Alan has been in the DJ biz since 1975, started hosting weddings in 1982 and went full-time in 1993. While personally hosting over 60 weddings a year on the weekends, his mid-week programs generate income through out the year. Young children and seniors are the strong points of the business. Outside of the weddings division of Keith Alan Productions, Keith’s summer program, Campardy™ has grown from 1 event in 2000, to 75 events within a 6 week window! Keith is busy with game shows, trivia, photo booths and extreme bingo the other 46 weeks of the year.


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