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This past DJ Expo in Atlantic City was another resounding triumph for education — dozens of seminars helped DJs improve their marketing, performance and customer service. Here are highlights from a few of them:

Making the Sale: Lessons from the Cruise Ship Industry.

Adam Weitz, owner of A Sharp Production in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., delivered a typically high-energy presentation that focused on marketing techniques in the cruise ship industry and how DJs can utilize them in our industry.

According to Weitz: “Once a client books, they’re on the boat” and the marketing has just begun. Cruise lines are adept at upselling clients, but do it in a way that appears natural.

Put simply, Weitz suggests that DJs do the same, beginning with a series of email blasts. These communications should include lots of follow-up marketing deals and suggestions like “upgrade within the next [time interval] and receive [benefit]” or “book now & receive [benefit].”

Similar to the way that cruise lines offer videos of their enhanced services, so, too, should DJs. Does your DJ company offer 360-degree virtual tours of your setups at particular venues?

Do you have a well-stocked “document room” with detailed information on all of your services and entertainers? Weitz says, “If you are not taking advantage of today’s technology to market your services, then you are losing out.”

Another principle from the cruise industry that DJs can use is “pole marketing” – that is, showing clients services and options above and beyond what they are looking for. Pole marketing can help to migrate clients into a higher package and price.

One final technique that cruise ships use to secure a booking is to offer a very low down-payment to reserve the date. Even if this deposit amount is refundable, the act of leaving a small deposit is symbolic and secures their emotional buy-in.

Lessons from the Brand Makers:  Branding You and Your DJ Business.

Moderated by Artem Lomaz of Ninety-Three Entertainment in Roxbury, N.J., this panel discussion gathered an assortment of brand makers from outside of the DJ industry. Lomaz created this seminar in order to gather fresh ideas on branding for DJ company owners. Panelists included a copywriter and creative director from Grey New York (Louis Wittig crafted Dos Equis’ “Most Fascinating Man in the World” campaign), a standup comic, a luxury photo-booth company operator, and former Coca-Cola product manager.

There was an assortment of powerful takeaways from the presentation. Wittig asserted that even if you have a powerful brand, proper positioning is essential. The two most important tasks for marketers are to:

  • Know exactly what you do.
  • Get people to know what you do. In creating effective marketing campaigns, simplification and creativity are key.

Comic Brett Davis spoke about the importance of knowing your audience and properly adjusting your marketing routine to reflect differences. Edgy, calculated marketing campaigns stand to generate exceptional results, but can occasionally flop.

Ian McHugh, owner of luxury photo booth company NYC Photo Party, emphasized the importance of finding a niche that motivates and excites you. McHugh’s passion is the luxury corporate market.

He suggests that business owners try to stay ahead of technology and seek to create new offerings for clientele, and, in his case, to develop proprietary software.

McHugh enjoys working closely with marketing and branding agencies to fine-tune the presentation of his company’s brand. Finally, he recommends that no matter how successful you become, it’s important to never give up the hustle.

Walt Blau, a 20-year veteran of Coca-Cola, left the business and currently is the head of business development at a photography/videography studio in Stanhope, N.J., called Generic Brand Human. When working for a company and brand, Blau stated the importance of taking ownership of the brand: “When I was at Coca-Cola, I considered it my business, and Coca-Cola was simply my distributor.”

He also recommended scheduling time to market – in his case, two hours per day of mostly phone work and relationship building. A big fan of planning, Blau says that “the year precedes the day.” In other words, it’s important for business owners to not get distracted by day-to-day setbacks, and rather to keep an eye on the prize. For DJs, this could mean a short-term setback like losing a job for failure to discount, but maintaining brand integrity for the long run. Finally, Blau is a big proponent of catering to the middle market where customers are abundant.

Moderator Lomaz offered the insight that when a client entrusts us with their special celebration, that we as the DJ entertainer are their — and their family’s — brand representative.

How true!

Gregg Hollmann is the owner of Ambient DJ Service in East Windsor, N.J.

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