Love them or hate them?
It’s that time of year again when various organisations present awards to wedding industry suppliers across the United Kingdom. Personally I believe that anything that promotes the wedding industry, especially entertainment, has to be a good thing. Yes, I know that these companies are very much a business and that there is money to be made by holding regional events and extracting hard earned cash by way of entry fees and selling tickets to attend. However this is a very short-sighted and naive perspective. I prefer to look at the whole process as an ideal marketing opportunity for DJs to gain exposure to Brides, network with other local service providers and more importantly benefit from the scrutiny involved in the voting process.
It is probably fair to say that some of these companies host little more than a popularity contest while others are very much an examination of a DJ’s business process from first point of contact to post event evaluation. For me and a great many of my colleagues in the industry this is a great reality check. Many of us may think we are good at what we do but how many times do we actually canvas honest opinions, after the event, from our customers? How many of us use a third-party to Analise feedback and have them relate this to your marketing? Submitting yourself, and your company, to this competitive process can only help a DJ business improve what it does and raise their customers’ entire experience.
It’s not about winning, It’s about taking part.
Potential customers are not stupid. They are very well aware that judging any service or entertainer is very much a subjective process. You only have to take a look at “X Factor” and “Britain’s Got Talent” and ask yourself did the best act win to realise that you can’t take the results too seriously. However I will bet you that each and every contestant has become better at what they do, and how they do what they do, as a result of submitting themselves to the process. This applies just as much to those who never got through the initial selection process as it does to those who were finalists. So what are the benefits of taking part?
First and foremost this is a public Relations opportunity. If you are seen to be associated with Awards Competitions this demonstrates to potential clients your desire to achieve success and be recognised by your peers. Perception plays a big part in the buying process and if a client believes you are proactive and keen for success then they are more likely to want to have you entertain them.
Entry to Awards Ceremonies is money well spent. Where else could you get so much publicity for such little money? Seeing your name, your company name and details on third-party websites and in social media is priceless! Very often entry allows you to use the Award Companies’ Logo for your own social media and INTERNET marketing; how cool is that?
Going the extra mile
In all competitive situations success is achieved by way of demonstrating two things; achievement and difference. If a competitor can clearly identify his or her achievements and demonstrate their difference and furthermore be appreciated by their clients for both attributes, then they are more likely to be successful when it comes to award ceremonies.
Serious competitors seek help
It comes as no surprise that people who seek expert help and assistance do better than those who are self-taught and believe they know everything they need to know. wedding DJs are no different. I have been looking through some of the results from wedding industry awards competitions for this year and I am pleased to report that many contestants have invested in training.
Way back in 2002 when I first started out seeking advice about wedding entertainment and marketing my Mobile DJ skills and talent there was virtually no resources available to me in the United Kingdom. Today it’s a totally different story. Thanks to Pro mobile Magazine, The BPM Show, Pro Mobile Conference, The National Association of Disc Jockeys, The South Eastern Discotheque Association, AMPDJ, MDJN and individual Industry trainers, things have never been better.
Personally I am humbled and excited by the extent of success and recognition being shown to wedding DJs that I have been associated with [to a lesser or greater extent] over recent years. Below is a gallery of some that have been finalists and/or winners. Apologies if i have omitted anyone.
If you are reading this blog and you would like to know more about how I can help you achieve your ambitions please drop me a line; I would be happy to help.
This year will see me hanging up my headphones as I withdraw from performing at weddings in Cyprus. My last event will be on November 30th. The thought of no longer being involved with the wedding industry is quite scary. Therefor I have decided to continue with my one to one coaching and mentor program and also to launch a new Photo Booth hire service based in Paphos.
Paphos Photo Booth will provide a Magic Mirror hire service to Brides and party people throughout the Republic of Cyprus. The very latest in Photo Booth technology brings a fun and crazy atmosphere to any party where people gather to have a memorable time.
Touch screen technology allows guests to sign their name, write a message and add an emoji or two to the final printed picture. How cool is that? The Paphos Photo Booth Magic Mirror is also supplied with a comprehensive array of props including party hats, outrageous glasses and inflatable instruments.
The photograph with a customized frame commemorating the event is delivered within ten seconds from the side of the booth. Double prints are also available so that the party host can have copies of all of the action from the party.
Full details of my new venture can be found by following this url
I’ll keep you posted as to how the new venture develops over the coming months. Meanwhile if you have any questions or would like to know more about obtaining a Magic Mirror and setting up a similar venture please contact me.
I’ve been buy adding more audio presentations and a brand new DVD “workshop” to my range of educational Tools for Mobile DJs.
In this, my first DVD, I concentrate on the words used when making an introduction. Not only are the words important, the way you say them is vital to the success of delivering the right meaning and emotion to your audience.
This one hour forty minute video demonstrates the methods, techniques and structure required to make outstanding Introductions whatever the occasion.
You can order a physical disc for £39 plus £3.20 shipping worldwide or you can get a download version in .wmv or .mp4 for only £30
Over 30 copies have been ordered in the first two weeks since launch and feedback has been most encouraging.
The content of the video is based on my very successful full day workshop of the same name which was very well received and enjoyed by the delegates who attended.
I have also updated all of the audio seminar presentations and rolled every one of them into a bundle offer for only £29. You even get a copy of my audio book for brides, worth £10, thrown in for FREE!
All of the audio presentations are provided in mp3 audio file format for download to your personal device. Please allow up to 24 hours after payment to receive your download links to the files.
For your convenience I have also added instant payment buttons to this website / Blogg which can be found on the Seminar, Audio Downloads and DVD page.
You would be crazy not to enter. This opportunity really is a once in a lifetime occasion. What have you got to lose compared to what you will gain by taking up the challenge?
Are you really happy and contented with the current mobile DJ Marketplace situation? Do you find yourself frustrated by other DJs under-cutting your fee? Customers should value your top-end gear, huge music selection and your ability to fill the dance-floor, not to mention your great customer service, so why do they always say they can get something cheaper elsewhere?
Can you change this situation alone, probably not? Can you break free from this ever-increasing downward spiral? Yes you can. What do you need to do to make a change and regain control of your business? The answer, like most things in life, is simple and sitting right under your nose – you just can’t see it. Don’t worry; it’s not your fault. You are suffering from a decease which is rife within Mobile Disc Jockeys. The illness is called apathy and it’s contagious.
Apathy is spread by contact. You can catch Apathy by talking on the telephone, posting on forums and in social media networks. You can also be exposed to apathy by chatting to other DJs who agree with your views while downing a pint in the local pub. Apathy is dangerous. It is difficult to control and spreads like wildfire. Do not despair just yet for there is an antidote. However this medicine should not be self-administered. It is strongly recommended that you should seek help and partake in the cure among people who have been through what you have experienced as they are best qualified to help you through the recovery process.
This is where your challenge comes in.
Your challenge, should you wish to accept it, is to stop mixing with negative people who constantly tell you things like the following statements;
“I wouldn’t pay £xxx for a Disco”
“You can’t earn more than £xxx in this area.”
“There is no way Dave Doubledecks is worth that kind of money.”
“I’d rather earn a few quid than be sat at home doing nothing”
The news gets even better. Remember I said that there is a once in a lifetime opportunity available to you? Well there is, and it’s only going to be available on one day this year. It will not be repeated in the UK so you have a decision to make which is literally life-changing. How do I know this; simple answer is I have been in the same situation and was lucky enough to be offered the cure.
Clear your diary for Saturday 26th of April and Sunday 27th. If you have a booking for any of theses dates do everything in your power to get out of it if you can. Pass the booking on to local DJs and tell them you have something vitally important to do instead. Do whatever it takes to get yourself to London for a meeting which will change your whole perspective on mobile DJing in the UK.
You will probably need to make travel arrangements that require you to stay in London overnight as getting to and from the event in one day may be unrealistic. You also owe it to yourself to be relaxed, refreshed and ready for what the day will reveal.
At this point I wouldn’t blame you for thinking you can smell the strong aroma of BS.
Yet I can’t stress strongly enough that I am deadly serious. Over the years I have written many words and delivered many seminars and workshops to mobile DJs. This advice is without doubt the most serious, and important advice, I have ever uttered.
Clear your mind, open your eyes, leave all of that negativity at home and get yourself in front of MR Mark Ferrell on Sunday April 27th at 11.00am. The venue is Dukes Meadows, Chiswick. The event is being sponsored by The National Association of Disc Jockeys but you don’t have to be a member to attend.
“Getting what you are worth” by Mark Ferrell is an updated presentation for British DJs based on the phenomenal presentation, which I attended in Las Vegas in 2002, to a room of over 800 DJs. The atmosphere was electric. It was standing room only and the standing ovation he received had to be seen to be believed.To my knowledge, for the first time ever, Mark will be presenting three one-hour seminars which will cover the entire spectrum of:
- Getting what you are worth.
- Believing and communicating what you are worth.
- Being what you are worth.
All of this knowledge, experience and expertise is available to you for the princely sum of £15 while NADJ members get in for FREE! Yes, that’s correct, free, gratis, no charge, nothing, zilch!
Warning – this event will be sold out, make no mistake about that.
Guarantee your place TODAY by registering your attendance, don’t fall at the first hurdle and let apathy tell you that you can just turn up on the day or wait until nearer the day!
Don’t think to yourself “I’ll try and get along to this event,” we all know that really means you won’t be there. Tell yourself, “I’m going to be there”. “I need to be there”.
Book it now, its simple and painless – just follow the link below. I’ll be checking later with my colleagues to see if you did – big brother is watching you!
Love from Sunny Cyprus. I’ll see you there, we’ll take the cure together, or in my case, get my booster Jab which should protect me for another 12 years.
Don’t you just love it when you receive a playlist from a bride and you just know it’s either too long or too structured.
As you may be aware, dear reader, I reside in Cyprus for most of the year and my clients are visiting the island to be married. Usually there are no more than thirty guests at the evening reception with a maximum so far of fifty on one occasion.
usually the wedding takes place between four and six in the afternoon and is followed by a drinks reception and the inevitable photographs including final shots taken as the sun sets which is around eight o’clock in the evening.
Dinner will be served anytime from six o’clock onward and speeches and those sunset photos will be intermixed within the time-line according to the venue and event coordinator’s agreed instructions from the bride.
Cypriot meals have a tendency to take far longer than those in the UK. Traditionally a meal is the time for relaxation, conversation and no one is watching the clock. This can come as a big surprise to visiting families from the UK. Inevitably this time factor eats into the allocated time for dancing. Believe me I’ve been present when the first dance scheduled for 8pm has not taken place much before 10 o’clock.
I guess we could lay the blame for this on the wedding event planners and the venues for not advising the bride or sometimes on the waiting staff for not being organised. However none of this prepares the DJ for the frustrated bride who simply wants to do her first dance and get the party started, especially when she has supplied you with a playlist running to four hours or more of music.
Communication is vital to avoid such situations alas very often the DJ has no or very little contact with the bride before the day of the wedding. All communication is with the tour operator or the venue and the DJ is only given the playlist and expected to fit a quart into a pint pot![ or whatever the metric equivalent may be]
My first reaction to this list was that it contained far too much music. It had a running time of seven and a half hours. I was also concerned about the bride’s allocation of times when music selections should be played. Apart from the early music for dinner I was concerned that her choice would be too much to her taste and not that of her guests. I doubted very much I could stick to this list and provide entertainment for all of her fifty guests. The reception was to be outdoors by a pool and music volume would have to be reduced significantly after 11 o’clock with the party finishing at 12 midnight.
Anticipating not being able to play all of the music I asked the bride to highlight in bold her “must plays” and then proceeded to refresh my memory by listening to the selected tracks and graded them by scoring each track as a 1 = great tune, 2 = definite maybe or 3 = doubtful to be well received.
On the day we juggled the photographs and the speeches by starting with the father of the bride’s speech and then taking the first course of the meal while the bride and groom went for their sunset photos. We then carried on with the other two speeches and toasts prior to the main course being served.
The mood was lively and it became apparent that i would not need to add much more to the older music selections. In fact I opted to introduce her “Other special requests” during the meal and was amazed when people started dancing at their tables and in front of my DJ booth. Before I knew it we had a party on our hands before desert had been served or any of the three spotlight dances had taken place.
We had to put the brake on, call a halt to the open dance and introduce the three spotlight dances. I suggested we start with the father daughter dance so that dad could hand his daughter to her new husband for their first dance. This worked really well. Finally we took the brake off and invite everyone back onto the floor for the third spotlight dance and sure enough our party was back on track.
It turned out that this bride did indeed know her family and friend’s taste in music very well. She was up for a party and so where all of her guests. My challenge was to keep to the time line. I managed this by editing her playlist with brutality. I stuck to her “Must Haves” and then selected according to my own scoring system. I removed over three hours of her music selections while retaining the order of her music choice rearranged into a more acceptable structure which maintained the energy and delivered a packed dance area throughout the night.
Indeed the night was so successful that they asked me to relocate to a room indoors where we continued to party on for another two hours. So I am delighted to say that my apprehension and doubts were unfounded and on this occasion my bride had proved to be the exception to the rule. She really did know better than me. I however used my experience and knowledge to take her idea and programme a playlist which evolved in real-time on the night. Together we produced a fantastic party which I am sure everyone will remember for many years to come.
The first thing I noticed about this playlist is that it had three and a half hours running time and that most of the tracks were popular choices which would work fine. Then I realised my bride wanted them playing in decade order starting with the sixties and working toward the present day. She later added another six current chart hits to the list.
I have previously encountered such lists with a similar structure and was aware that this may not be an ideal way of presenting this music for maximum effect. I had also noticed that the start time was 5.30pm. Upon arrival i was told that was the time of the wedding ceremony and that dinner would not be served until 7.30pm. Fine.
Once again the issue of speeches and time taken to serve and eat the meal were of concern. My bride was very demanding and was keen to squeeze in as much music as possible however she did not appreciate how long the meal would take. She had arranged for a videographer to come back at 9pm to film her first dance. When he returned some guests where still eating their main course which was the third item on the menu that night. Deserts where still to follow and so too were the speeches.
Eventually it was decided to hold the speeches once everyone had finished the main course. Desert would be relegated to after the first dance. I arranged with the bride and the videographer to insert a second dance into the scenario as the first dance was to be a special routine created by the B & G.
It was gone 9.30 before we introduced the B & G onto the dance floor and then invited the rest of the guests [only 24 in all] to join in to “My Girl” by the temptations. The instruction was to carry on with the playlist which i did. Once again I had to be brutal with removing tracks I believed would not work and also rearrange the running order to get best results. I removed one and a half hour’s worth of music yet kept the floor steadily occupied throughout the night. We had planned some slower quieter music for the final twenty minutes and finally finished on a high with “500 miles”
A good time was had by all and we finished on time which was essential as by law in Cyprus you can can not go on after midnight. All outside music has to be off or else you risk your equipment being confiscated and a hefty fine.
I don’t always know best despite my thirty odd years playing music at weddings. Brides sometimes do know better than us. Even with the best of planning time-lines slip. My job as the DJ is to make the music fit. I need to use my programming skills to ensure that the right music is selected and organised into the best order with the most chance of delivering a full dance floor to the satisfaction of my client. On both of these occasions I can honestly say Job Done!
A seminar is usually a taster. It is an introduction or an overview of an idea, a technique, a system, a service or a product The seminar is often given in the form of a lecture and will include the opportunity for questions to be asked of the presenter either during the event or as it is drawing to a close.This structure enables a large number of people to attend and evaluate whether the topic is worth pursuing or not as the case may be. Most seminars are of a duration of an hour or two or less.
Workshops are more interactive and practical. The presenter needs to engage with the delegates as individuals. Therefore usually the number of attendees is strictly limited. Much of the content is designed to be one on one or delivered to small “breakout” groups. People who attend workshops should be prepared to get involved. Delegates will be expected to do some practical stuff related to the workshop theme. A workshop will also include some style of critique. The presenter and the other attendees will be expected to pass opinion on exercises undertaken by the group. A workshop can often be a half day or full day duration.
Conferences can take many forms. Some will consist entirely of seminars while others are a mixture of seminars and workshops. In order for a conference to be viable they tend to be held on a much larger scale. In many instances conferences take place in dedicated venues which are equipped to handle large numbers of people. The venue will also be equipped with state of the art audio and visual equipment and have catering facilities on hand to feed the visitors. conferences can be a one day event or anything up to a week.
Why should I attend?
People learn and evaluate new ideas in different ways. Some people can read an article on-line or in a book and translate the written word into a process. Others are not so fortunate. They need to be shown how something works. Many of us need to be “Hands On” in order to comprehend an idea or method. Seminars, workshops and conferences gives the attendee a chance to ask questions, see for him or her self and seek clarification and support from presenters and fellow delegates. Often other people in the room will share their experiences and knowledge of the subject so that others can reason and evaluate the topic under discussion “in the moment” rather than having to reflect or review what had been presented at a later date.
Cost verses value.
Generally the cost of attending an event is considered to be a legitimate business expense and is therefore a tax-deductible investment in your business. So one way of looking at it is that such education is free and that the real cost to a business owner is his time. Time invested in a business is precious so one would expect an educational event to result in added value to your knowledge and skills. Attending a seminar, workshop or conference will not in its self improve what you do in your business. Implementing new ideas, methods and systems will!
Networking – the added bonus.
A spin-off from attending educational events is the networking. Meeting and talking to people in your profession can be very therapeutic. You will be surprised at how many others are in a similar situation or who have similar issues and challenges in their line of work. Often solutions are shared in an informal environment over a cup of coffee or a drink in the bar. Simply knowing that you are not alone and that others are facing the same situations can be inspirational and will prompt you to see things in a new light.
Education can be fun.Take off your blinkers, step out of your comfort zone and S-T-R-E-T-C-H. You’ll be glad you did.
Many independent mobile disco operators & DJs aspire to landing a residency but is this really a good thing for the client?
[This refers to private parties and not bars or night clubs]
Traditionally the very term “mobile disco” relates to a DJ who transports himself and his equipment to a venue where he recreates the discotheque atmosphere in a room which would otherwise be devoid of professional sound systems, flashing lights and non-stop dance music. He or she delivers everything needed, including an extensive music library, and the ability to read an audience while keeping the dance floor packed all night long. In return he receives a fee which reflects the fact that this is no easy feat, one which few people can achieve and is therefore financially rewarding.
The mobile DJ needs to find his own work. He is independent and therefore seeks out his clients by marketing his services via word of mouth, flyers, business cards and web sites as well as referrals from satisfied clients. Very often third parties such as venues are impressed with the standard of performance and they offer to take contact details and pass them on to people interested in hiring their venue for a party. This is good news. Venues are keen to recommend service providers who do a good job. They are also happy to refer DJs who work well with the staff and “fit in” with the logistics involved in hosting a party for their mutual customer.
Some venues go one step further and are happy to offer a single DJ to become their “Resident DJ / Disco”. The venue knows who will be playing the music and the customer gets an entertainer who is recommended and is guaranteed to do a good job [theoretically]. The mobile DJ likes the idea of regular work at the venue which means he or she will not need to spend as much time and money on advertising his DJ service and finding his own clients. It looks like an ideal partnership. A win-win situation – but is it?
In an ideal world it probably is but this is not an ideal world. Firstly we need to consider the end-user by which I mean the person whose party it is. Is it possible for one DJ to be sufficiently talented, skilled and experienced enough to cover every type of party offered to him? Is it conceivable that he can deliver the same standards night in night out to the diverse eclectic clientele offered by the venue. Is it likely that the resident DJ would ever refuse to host a party because he admits he is not proficient with a music genre or a type of client?
Secondly we need to appreciate the venue’s position. They are looking to please as many people as possible. If they perceive the entertainment as “Music and Lights” and are looking for a predetermined level of service from their DJ it may well be the case that a “Jack of all trades and Master of Non” is what they value.
In other words the whole idea of resident DJs in venues works for the venue more so than the DJ or their client for that matter.
As in all walks of life there are exceptions to the rule. There are I’m sure Resident DJs who have the wealth of knowledge, skill, talent and experience to provide excellent performances for varied clients. Unfortunately they are difficult to find and their residencies are under threat. They are under pressure from venues and accountants who are keen to take advantage of the DJ’s vulnerability.
Venues are being constantly approached by DJs who want a slice of the action. You can guarantee that a venue will receive requests for meetings or offers of low-priced fees for regular work from dozens of DJs each and every month. These DJs are eager to get regular work, many have full-time day jobs and are therefore not able to spend time seeking work from individual clients. A residency is seen as easy money and they will be happy to undercut the existing fees attributed to the current resident.
All too often the accountants rule the roost and the pressure to reduce costs is too great to ignore. Quality is subjective and as long as none of the end-user clients complain then where is the harm in opting for a more competitive price? Unfortunately once a venue takes this stance the whole situation becomes desperate. More mobile DJs are keen to offer their services and the price keeps being driven down as is the standard of service offered. So what started out as a good idea quickly becomes a bad idea especially for the DJs and the end-user clients. The venues are left with mediocre talent and parties which at best may only be described as average.
Ironically the mobile DJ has become his own worst enemy. In chasing what seemed a pot of gold he has helped devalue the pricing structure and played into the hands of the accountants. Clients are suffering as standards fall and all DJs are being tarred with the same brush.
Good news. All is not lost. There is an emerging breed of DJ who is carving a new path through the doom and gloom. The new thinking is based on individual personalised marketing. Some DJs are now opting to offer their services as preferred suppliers to a venue. They are looking for referrals based on a client’s needs. They are prepared to offer their services directly to the end-user client but not to be held to ransom by the venue. Developing this relationship also means that the venue would be encouraged to offer a selection of preferred supplier DJs to their clients. This would create competition based on talent, service and professionalism. It means customers have a choice. They can make an informed decision based on their needs and not the needs of the venue.
Overcoming the accountants may well be a stumbling block. In order to become a preferred supplier the DJ may well have to offer a commission or finders fee to the venue. This is not uncommon in the industry and if all is above-board and transparent then it is an acceptable cost of doing business.
If I were planning a birthday party, corporate event or a wedding I’d be suspicious of a venue offering me a resident DJ. Who are they to tell me who will entertain at my party. They don’t know me or have any idea what my tastes are. Choice is what I want. Let the venue recommend by all means but please leave the final decision to me.
Let me apologise in advance if this blog has offended any of my fellow DJs. It was not my intention to offend anyone. My aim is for all of us to reflect on the state of the market as it is today. We need to be honest with ourselves. We need to know our limitations. I write from experience.
Think of me as poacher turned gamekeeper. I have held residencies in venues. I admit to becoming complacent. It’s so easy to think I can play the same music on Saturday for a wedding that I played on Friday for a birthday party, How difficult can it be – play the current chart music and throw in a few requests if I happen to have them, right?
I have been a multi-operator / agent. I’ve been shafted by DJs who worked for me and screwed by venues who wanted to reduce my fees.I’ve booked DJs who have proved inconsistent and unreliable. I’ve worked with some fantastic talented DJs who are much better than I could ever hope to be.
The debate will continue of that I am certain. However the question still remains. Are residencies all they are cracked up to be. Whose interests do they best serve – the DJ, the client or the venue?
Answers on a postcard please – or you can leave your comment below.