Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Who You're Serving vs. Who You Should Be Serving

It's impossible to make a square peg fit into a round hole. We all know this to be a fact and recognize this to be true. Yet we continually try to 'prove' this wrong and force that square peg into a stubborn round hole. We twist and turn that peg and try with our might to shave those sides off in an effort to make it fit. Often, we're able to make the two come together through our pushing and prodding. But, it's never the good and proper fit it should be.

Most of us in the wedding industry have spent much time thinking about the type of client we want to serve but not enough time thinking about the client we do and should serve. Too little time has been spent asking ourselves if our skill set matches the clients we're striving for. It's like making a square peg fit into a round hole. We may want to serve a certain client but we may be ill equipped to do so. Hence, the lack of that good and proper fit mentioned above. And the risk of having a frustrated and disappointed client in the end.

I am a luxury wedding and social event planner. I know that about myself and my business. I'm not a non-profit planner nor am I a meeting planner. It's not what I'm good at or passionate about. I am definitely not the right fit for everyone. In fact, I'm a bad fit for most. I freely admit I could not properly serve a DIY bride, for example. It's not the type of bride that I would be comfortable working with.

I want to challenge you to look closely at who you are and where your skills lie before you write your next proposal or accept that next job. It's easy to talk about who you want serve but harder to recognize and accept who you should be serving. Be true to who you are and intimately know and understand where your gifts and talents lie. By doing so, you'll be a perfect fit for your clients and their needs. And you won't be that square peg trying to fit into a round hole.



Alicia said...

It's like the difference between a logo and a brand- our brands represent our discerning clients tastes, likes and dislikes. Just as our services are an extension of our brand so are our clients whereas the logo is a marker, a mere graphic. Something might look pretty, shiny and "high end" from the outside but once you sit down, experience the place it's all just smoke and mirrors. A house built on sand will never last and our clients would never be satisfied with anything less than stone. Never compromising and staying the course... thank you for your full disclosure and honesty.

Lindsey Nartker said...

As one grows their wedding business I think it's natural to assume that your clientele will (and should!) evolve and change. I really believe that slow organic growth is key to longevity in this industry. Clients from year one as compared to clients from year three or four are likely going to be different - everything from their budget to their personal style, wedding style and beyond. I think its near impossible to write a business plan defining who your target market is on day one and stick to that exactly throughout the years. I know from personal experience that over the past few years my clientele has changed drastically - from that lovely DIY bride to a bride who more appropriately fits into the luxury market. If this evolution hadn't happened I think it would be a disservice to my clients. I've grown and changed right alongside my clientele, which in my opinion, has provided me with countless opportunities to grow my business, create relationships and wake up every morning still loving my job.

I know a lot of planners who would love to service the luxury market (and quite a few who want nothing to do with it). If that is their goal, how else will they ever get there without learning how to make that square peg fit into the round hole? As with any profession, you don't become the best and service the best without experiencing ups and downs, successes and failures, and growth and recession.

If serving the luxury market is someone's goal, I'd encourage them to reach for it and make it happen. Just because you service the DIY bride today doesn't mean you can't service the luxury bride in a few years.

Now, all that being said, I would always highly encourage planners to gain the proper education and experience before jumping feet first into a new venture... but once that is established, go for it.

Preston Bailey, Sasha Souza, David Tutera... although I obviously don't know them personally, I bet they had plenty of clients who weren't celebrities or part of the luxury market when they first started their business.

Jodi said...


I sincerely appreciate your comments and your feedback. And I do agree with a lot of the points that you make. However, I think what you're talking about has more to do with natural evolution within one's target market vs. the point of this post which is having a clear understanding of who you are, where your skills lie and how that translates into the type of clients you attract and work with.

For example, I started out doing $100,000 events almost 5 years ago and I have progressed to million dollar functions {this, in my opinion, is all still within the range of 'luxury.'} There has been clear growth and evolution within my target market. My abilities have developed and my knowledge has grown. My market hasn't change though. It has remained the same.

I had a clear vision for the business I wanted and I continue today to stick to the original plan I put in place almost five years ago. I wasn't a bride that loved planning her wedding and decided to open a business. Rather, I earned a bachelors degree in public relations and event planning, went on to work as a copywriter/project manager for an ad agency, become the event planner to the president of a college and then opened my own business. I took steps prior to opening In Any Event that would position me to work with and attract a certain clientele.

Though I, too, do not know Preston, Sasha, or David, I would assume they traveled a similar path as I. They worked in many different career capacities before they opened a business that targeted a luxury client.

Again, the point of this post wasn't to debate wheter or not one target audience is better than another. That's not at all what I wanted to protray in writing the post. Rather, I wanted to encourage event professionals to hone in on their skills sets and determine if the audience they serve or want to serve is right for them.