As the song says, "love makes the world go 'round," which means there should be plenty of people who will need your services, right? In theory, yes. But you'll be much more successful if you study the demographics of the area you wish to do business in, then tailor your services to a specific group within that market.
Demographics are defined as the characteristics of the people in your target audience that make them more likely to use your services or products. These characteristics may include age, education and income levels, gender, type of residence and geographical location.
Probably the most significant demographic for wedding consultants to consider is age. According to The Knot, an online source of wedding information, the average age of today's bride is 26, while the average age of the groom is 28. So while you certainly can serve people of any age group, you'll probably have the best success and garner the most business if you target brides in their mid-20s. This means that if the population base in your business's area doesn't have brides in this age group, you must either reconsider your market or adjust your marketing strategy.
Case in point: Brides may be the ultimate consumer for your services, but who often foots the bills for those dream weddings? Mom and Dad, of course. So a viable way to adjust your strategy if you aren't based where twentysomething consumers live is to target their parents instead. That's what Julia K. of suburban Dallas did when her market research showed that the communities around her were populated by couples that were long-time residents and were likely to have children of marriageable age. As a result, she concentrates her advertising efforts in those communities and now coordinates an average of 30 weddings per year.
This is not to say there's no market for your services among older brides. According to the Stepfamily Association of America, 43 percent of all marriages are remarriages for at least one of the adults. These brides are usually older (early 30s and up) and also are prime candidates for your services given the demands of their careers--and their children.
Yet another factor to consider is where your prospective clients live versus where they work. Julia says that brides may look for information, use bridal registries or purchase their invitations in the area where they work, but they'll go home to get married. That means the wedding consultant may have to travel if he or she wishes to serve the brides who work in the local business community.
Targeting Professional Women
One demographic segment which many wedding consultants serve successfully is professional women. These corporate executives or business owners often hold advanced college degrees and have high incomes. Because they don't have time to plan their own weddings, they're more likely to favor full-service packages that make it possible for them to turn all the details over to an experienced planner. Since full-service packages are usually a consultant's highest priced offering, this can translate into significant profits.
Marsha F. and Jenny C., Dallas-based wedding consultants, found their niche by targeting professional women. Originally, they intended to coordinate high profile and celebrity weddings, but found the market was very difficult to break into. By refocusing their efforts on serving professional women, they now book weddings for fees averaging $30,000.
Before we move on, there's one more very important factor to consider in your market research efforts. That's the economic base in your prospective market area.
Obviously, a wedding consultant is not an absolute necessity when it comes to coordinating a wedding. People get married all the time without ever using consultants' services. What you offer is experience, convenience, and the ability to step in when the details become too time-consuming or overwhelming for a busy bride to manage. So your task not only becomes making your services irresistible to brides, but making sure the people who will pay the bills are financially able to afford your services.