New-to-market vendors might seem young and fresh with an eye for great social media and web design, but when you are evaluated against these newbies (because you will be!), make sure your story comes through and the substance of your experience is crystal clear.
As we make our way toward recovery from the pandemic, there is no doubt that the industry will look notably different on the other side. Event businesses have changed, client demands have changed, and the market’s landscape has changed. To survive and thrive in this next stage, event professionals will need to remain agile and adaptable to the inevitable shifts on the way.
Perhaps most notably, we are expecting an influx of new event professionals who spent their time in lockdown exploring industry trends and building the foundations of soon-to-be competitors for established businesses.
For the veteran event pros among us, this might seem like a blip on the radar. After all, you have years of experience that sets you apart from the novices entering the market.
Yet, let’s not forget that we are also facing economic uncertainties. In a tentative market, people start thinking more about price. They want to spend as little as possible to keep their coffers safe. If the new-to-market event pros are offering bottom-of-the-barrel rates, you might face steep competition—even if the quality of your products and services far surpass that of the newbies.
How can established industry pros communicate their value and rise above the incoming wave of new event businesses? The key is to remain relevant. Here are a few ways to stay in the conversation while securing your role as a go-to resource.
Revisit your ICA in a post-pandemic context
The way couples envision their wedding today is in stark contrast with what they wanted before the pandemic. Their needs have been modified and it’s your responsibility to learn, understand, and meet their expectations. Health and safety is now a top priority, so you need to acquaint yourself with your local and state protocols. Most newbies will not have this knowledge, and positioning yourself as the one who cares most about guest and client safety will set you apart.
Additionally, couples are more educated about liability and contracts after a year-plus of postponed and cancelled events. They now understand force majeure and will have more questions upfront, so you must be prepared to assuage their concerns.
Infuse your messaging with storytelling
When people are bombarded with “BUY NOW!” messaging, they tend to keep scrolling. Storytelling, on the other hand, serves the same purpose of communicating your value while packaging it in a compelling narrative that presents your brand as an
Many newbies will take to social media to share gorgeous photos from styled shoots with fluffy captions. Take a different route and provide real help. Tell stories about the challenges you’ve faced, how you overcame them, and the transformations your clients have experienced as a result of working
with you. Give them mini case studies that validate your care for clients. Demonstrating your skill and expertise goes much further than simply stating that you’re experienced in the field.
Catch up to speed with technology
“Businesses who don’t embrace technology will slowly fade away,” confirms Nora Sheils, co-founder of Rock Paper Coin. “Many event professionals, especially those that have been at it quite a while, are reluctant to change. However, it’s these same pros that are losing business for refusing to change and adapt to what couples need today.”
Sheils elaborates: “COVID has really brought to light the need to embrace tech, and most couples today are Gen Y and Gen Z who expect instant gratification and a streamlined process. Tech and streamlined processes are at the heart of how a company can be successful as the industry continues to shift!”
Focus on public relations
“The very best thing that pros can do is leverage their portfolio and expertise, both of which are not things that newer brands will have in their back pocket,” explains Meghan Ely, principal of OFD Consulting. “No matter the time of year, commit to a block of time weekly that is dedicated to your public relations efforts.”
Ely adds: “Embrace the mindset that you know more than you may even realize, and use it to your advantage by signing up for free query programs such as Help a Reporter Out (HARO), which connects you with journalists who are in need of experts in their field.”
Lean into your experience
Remember: New event pros might have rock-bottom pricing, but they do not have your expertise. COVID brought new trends to the industry and you are in prime position to leverage your experience. You know your way around an outdoor event, challenges and all, but someone who has maybe thrown together a birthday party or two? They’ll likely be caught off-guard by the many challenges of planning an event in a backyard or open field.
The same goes for other pandemic-inspired trends, like elopements and intimate weddings. Established pros understand that small doesn’t necessarily mean cheap, and know precisely how to ramp up the luxury for micro-celebrations. Highlight your expertise through storytelling and you will effectively rise above the noise, safeguarding your reputation as a trusted professional.
New-to-market vendors might seem young and fresh with an eye for great social media and web design, but when you are evaluated against these newbies (because you will be!), make sure your story comes through and the substance of your experience is crystal clear. By communicating your value in relatable terms, you will avoid getting into price wars and stay busy all season long.