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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM AUGUST 2010
I was shopping in Bed, Bath and Beyond recently, looking for new ways to decorate my office when I noticed something on one of the shelves. It was a DJ mixing console called the ION Discover DJ with DJ mixing software from a company known as MixVibes. The price for the entire product including the software was $99.
I found it very interesting that you could buy inexpensive DJ equipment from a bedroom and bathroom store. What’s the strategy of ION to market to households? Are they giving the average consumer a way to save money in a difficult economy where they can supply their own in-house entertainment for their events? Is this part of a trend that we’ve seen happening where regular everyday people are bypassing our services more and more by providing music for their own dance parties?
Am I just being paranoid? Fellow business owner Jason Jani of Sound Connection Entertainment would probably say, “Yes.” As Jani states in his seminar to “Stop talking about the economy,” it’s been his personal experience that consumers such as brides and grooms are beginning to spend more for their events than last year. The economy, in his opinion should no longer be a barrier to spending. Even eWedNews recently reported that wedding spending is up but “brides are not splurging as they did before 2008,” states Paul Pannone, an eWedNews columnist.
Despite the promising news, could it be that consumers are spending but more carefully? After all, this “Do-It-Yourself (DIY) vs. Buy” controversy over hiring a DJ has been a hot topic in the past year and a half. Web sites like Wedding Wire and The Knot have hundreds of forum posts and thousands of comments debating endlessly about what’s the better choice. In many of the postings I’ve observed the biggest reasons observed for choosing not to hire a DJ is cost. Brides and grooms have stated that they can really stay under budget if they provide their own music. They also like the idea that they can create playlists of the music that they really like.
These may sound like valid advantages but experience will tell another story. For instance, something I personally experienced at a friend’s party when his brother-in-law insisted upon playing music directly from his iPod into the sound system. It was a consistent break in the energy as he took 10 to 20 seconds to get to the next song. He also ended up stressing himself out while he was constantly bending over the iPod for every single song. He never got to enjoy dancing to the songs he played. I’m also sure he wasn’t prepared to deal with the angry crowd of people shouting at him to keep the music going.
Consumers that consider the DIY option need to be made aware of the risk of these types of experiences but chances are you may not even have the opportunity of pleading your case. If they’re considering an iPod or other DIY method they’re likely not to call you for information in the first place. Should you however get the opportunity to consult with a potential client that might be considering a DIY option, demonstrate to them what to expect if they were to choose an iPod or other type of equipment over an actual DJ. The American DJ Association has an excellent video footage of an actual wedding where an iPod was used. The delays and technical difficulties that occurred really demonstrated the lack of preparation and knowledge that went into planning formalities such as introductions and dances.
Other forms of respected authorities may also be helpful. In my Disc Jockey News article last month, I mentioned a west coast DJ’s concern about advertising with The Knot due to articles and features covering the use of iPods for weddings. Carley Roney, The Knot’s editor-in –chief personally stated in a phone conversation, “We do not promote iPod weddings.” The article in question came from a quote made by an event planner during $10,000 wedding budget challenge conducted by the nation’s leading wedding publication. Many event planners advise against a DIY option. Those that have seen people use this option have reported that the events that turn out disorganized and chaotic due to lack or experience and knowledge of an event timeline and formalities.
You may also want to look at a few forums discussing this highly controversial topic. For instance, reading other peoples’ thoughts on Wedding Wire benefits me in several ways. First, it helps me understand how other people feel about this topic. Second, it helps me estimate a success-to-failure ratio. Third, it gives me insight on what to tell others when they consider using an iPod or any other tool that leads them to consider eliminating the DJ. Often I find a key point that I may not have considered.
If these reasons are totally acceptable, you can always hit them where it hurts. If cost is the greatest factor anyway, why not ask them what they’re spending to rent audio equipment or how much time they’re investing into preparing playlists or downloading songs? This might shed the greatest light on their actual cost savings.
Getting back to what started this topic; I looked further into the marketing strategy of ION’s Discover DJ. I was not able to contact Ion for comment but according to the message on their web site, ION states that the Discover DJ is about learning to DJ and having fun as you do it. They also state that the Discover DJ is rated as perfect for beginners, so stocking the product in a non-audio store might be a positive strategy to appeal to people who may not have considered DJing before. They also claim that the product is perfect for experienced DJs that need a backup device. After all, it’s always good to be prepared.