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Is Your Wedding Business like Blockbuster or Netflix?

It’s always fantastic to connect with other Wedding Marketing pros in the industry. I had the pleasure of initially “meeting” Stephanie of Book More Brides through LinkedIn. We share a mutual love of educating wedding pros– and both have a serious dislike of folding laundry. 🙂

I recently guest blogged on Stephanie’s site on Maximizing your Wedding PR Online and Stephanie was kind enough to guest blog for Illuminate this week. Thanks Stephanie for stopping by!

Blockbuster vs. Netflix

The first Blockbuster video store opened in 1985.  It quickly became a multi-billion dollar business with over 60,000 employees at its peak in 2009.

Then something happened.  Netflix.

Netflix offered customers the ability to rent movies from home without worrying about late fees.  It created a powerful and efficient online ordering system to give customers what they wanted.

Netflix wasn’t solely responsible for the demise of Blockbuster.  The same changes in the rental market that rocketed Netflix to success were what really caused Blockbuster to file bankruptcy last September.

Where Blockbuster Went Wrong

So what was Blockbuster’s big mistake?  With their powerful brand, money and positioning they should have been poised to take over the rental market when they added online rental options in order to compete with Netflix.

Blockbuster refused to let go of the way things used to be.  They had seen so much success with their brick and mortar stores that they simply could not conceive that this business model would ever go under.

While Netflix embraced the changes in the market and gave customers more of what they wanted, Blockbuster was left in the dust.

In a similar way, many wedding professionals right now are holding on to a dying business model.  “It worked three years ago,” we tell ourselves.  “If I do more of what I’ve been doing, it will start working again.”

The truth is that if we keep doing the same thing, we’re guaranteed to get the same results.

Lessons from Blockbuster and Netflix

What can the wedding industry learn from the movie rental industry?

1.      Don’t hold on to what doesn’t work anymore.

If you have a product or service that just doesn’t sell, quit trying to sell it.  You have to work 100x harder to convince someone to buy something they don’t want.

2.      Stay in touch with wedding industry trends.

In order to respond proactively to changes in the wedding industry, you have to stay on top of the trends.  The Wedding Report is an invaluable resource for doing this in the United States; it tells you exactly how much couples are spending on your services, down to the zip code level.

3.      Identify the need brides have that isn’t being met and create a product or service to meet it.

For years customers complained about the inconvenience of driving to the store to rent a movie and then having to face late fees if movies weren’t returned on time.  Netflix offered them the solution: a way to order movies on the internet, have them delivered right to their house with no late fees, ever.

There is a similar opportunity in your wedding market right now.  Find out what brides want and need and give it to them. Selling something that meets your client’s needs is easy.

4.      Don’t fight the trends; use them to increase your profits.

If brides only want to pay for their images and put together their own albums, redesign your packages to give them what they want.  Figure out a way to charge for your talent (the thing they can’t get elsewhere) and make it more efficient and profitable for you.

So what if couples are choosing more do it yourself options?  Offer DIY packages or workshops to capitalize on that market.

Find where brides are spending money on services and expand in those directions.  If couples are spending more on uplighting and audio visual extras in the entertainment industry, make sure you can meet those needs.

Change can be scary.  Doing something new isn’t comfortable.

But these changes in the wedding industry represent an opportunity.  Most of your competitors are behind the times.  You have a chance to identify and embrace these changes and increase your sales by giving clients the services they want before your competitors catch on.

3 Actions to Thrive

Here are some actions you can take today to start using the changes in the wedding industry to grow your business.

  1. Write down what isn’t working for you.  What advertising, marketing, products and services that used to make money no longer bring in revenue?
  2. Write down the new trends and client requests you’ve been getting.  What are brides asking for these days?  What are they looking for that they’re having trouble finding?
  3. Look at what you’ve written down and identify one thing you can cut out that isn’t working.  Pick out one product or service your clients are asking for and use the time or money you freed up to create something new to meet that need.

You CAN have a thriving wedding business, regardless of changes in the economy and the wedding market.

But don’t be an ostrich with your head buried in the sand.  Acknowledge these changes, identify the opportunity and take action.  Then rake in the benefits!

Stephanie Padovani shares oodles of wedding business marketing tips like these at BookMoreBrides.com. You can also check out her Hudson Valley weddings site offering inspiration and reviews to New York brides.


Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. She is the exclusive wedding pr columnist to wedding marketing journal WedLock magazine and is a highly sought after speaker in the wedding industry. She loves ruffle table runners and Royal Wedding Tchotchkes. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you with your wedding marketing and wedding pr, please contact us today.