Any newbie in the wedding planning business is understandably nervous for a multitude of reasons. If you are new to the area, then it might pose even bigger questions and inhibitions of whether the business will be viable for you and can be sustained well into the future. Like any other business, determining if there is a market for your wedding planning business is one of the first steps a novice must take before plunging in. Assess if there is a potential value to what you will offer by finding out if there are substantial numbers of users of wedding planning services in your area. From a strictly marketing perspective, find out if t your service is a solution to an existing problem.
Minimize your risk by minimizing the guessing. Know how to validate your assumptions by getting answers to the right questions. Get a broader view of the market and go beyond your own instincts and opinion.
Here I have outlined some steps that you can use to identify if there’s a need for your wedding planning services within your area.
- Do your homework and research your figures. Any professional marketer or entrepreneur will tell you, it is essential to know your target market on an intimate level. Find out who they are, what they need, and what are the things they may want even if they don’t want it at the moment – in short, try to get a little bit closer. There are several sources in which you can get all the vital information that you will need – library, trade magazines, industry journals, statistic records, etc. Here are some of the specifics you should know:
- Demographics – This speaks about the entire local community. Find out figures for age, gender, location, education, and marital status of your area and then identify which ones you most likely can cater to. Ask valid questions of yourself such as, “At what age do most people get engaged in this area?”, “Are there enough potential couples I can service to sustain myself?” etc.
- Psychographic – Observe the lifestyles of your potential market. What drives them? Are they overextended professionals who require a wedding planner should they become engaged?
- Spending Capacity – Another important data point you should investigate is your market’s income levels. Can they afford you? And if they can, will they choose to spend their money on you? Is there an emerging market that might feed on the demand you want to belong to? This single detail will also help you shape your service rates to fit your market’s buying decisions.
- Demands – In marketing, it is all about knowing your prospects’ needs, wants, and demands. Do they need what you can offer? In this case, this study will also help you come up with a more competitive and pertinent mix of services.
- Industry – Become familiar with the wedding industry in your selected area. More importantly, does it even exist? Learn this by finding out statistics for the number of weddings per year, attendance figures at bridal shows, etc.
- Interact with the market. If you have access to a recently married bride, a newly engaged couple, or a couple getting married soon whether or not they have a planner already, then use this opportunity to solicit their opinions about your potential business. Request a few minutes of their time to discuss what you have in mind. Have they considered or do they plan to hire their own wedding planner? What is their experience with the one they may have hired? What services do they expect from a wedding planner? Could they trust a new but dedicated and enthusiastic wedding planner, or would they choose a more seasoned candidate? You can formulate your own questionnaire to what best suits you’re your business needs. If you don’t know anyone close enough to be interviewed, here are two methods that you can use to locate first-hand responses:
- Personal interviews. Find people through magazines, blogs, newspapers, and directories. You can also seek indirect methods to get access such as finding a mediator who can connect you to your potential market. After which you can begin cold calling them or send them exploratory emails. You can say in your script you are not looking to sell, but rather want to have the customer’s perspective. If they say no, it will not hurt to ask if they know anyone else you may speak with.
- Online surveys. Know where these people are meeting up, especially online. Be familiar with what websites, forums, and blogs they read. Participate in such online sources and find ways where you can ask them to complete your an online survey.
- Understand your competitors. It is also essential you become acquainted with the other players in your local wedding industry, especially those you will compete head to head with as you enter the business. Knowing competitors exists your area is a sign the wedding planning business is likely feasible. The tougher and more crowded the competition field is, the greater chance of a healthy market demand.
- Check how and what they are doing online. Do your competitors have a strong social media following? Can you find their reviews online? Observe search trends and join local discussion groups about them.
- How long have they been in business? If the majority of the wedding planners have been at it for many years, then the business must be really viable. If most of them are fairly new, then you might want to be a bit wary and consider a broader perspective. A young industry might also mean demand has been recently discovered, causing wedding planners to flock to the area. Try to check the trend of businesses opening, and particularly closing, to learn if you have a chance of survival in the wedding industry of your community.
- While you are at it, try to compare your service offers with what others are advertising. Make sure the services you offer can keep up with your competitors.
- Complementary vendors. Also check your local area if there is an abundance of other vendors which correlates with your business. Are there many reception venues, churches, caterers, photographers, florists, etc. that are permanently based in the local area? Finding that there are a lot of people investing in this type of business is an assurance that the industry is viable and thriving.
- Seek professional advice. No opinion is more valid than the opinion of those who are already in the business. This is why networking is so important. Get to know as many wedding planners and other wedding vendors as possible to have a glimpse of what is ahead once you enter the wedding planning business. They might even share some survival tips if you plan to make this a career.
What if there’s no need for your services in the area?
Now this one is a tough break. After doing your study, and determining the risk is too great can be discouraging. But one fact you need to know about weddings is that somewhere out there, someone is always going to become engaged and eventually get married. What you need to ask yourself is – do these people need a wedding planner to help them in their event? Am I needed? If not, what will make them want my services?
Find your niche. Get out of your usual comfort zone and offer something other wedding planners did not even think of offering yet. Check what other wedding planners outside your area are doing. You might get some ideas from them to start with. Know the latest trends, and always be one step ahead of your competition. And then attract attention to your business by being aggressive in your marketing strategies. Be bold in promoting yourself! You need the market to notice you even before they think they will need a wedding planner! Then when weddings do crop up, your business will be the first one called. Good luck!