What WEVA needs to fix for Expo 2010! Part 2

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I received a lot of great feedback on my Part one of the my list of things WEVA needs to fix for Expo 2010 – thanks everyone for sharing your insights.

I did get a few comments from presenters who had A/V issues during their presentations wondering if it would make my list – it won’t. That kind of stuff is pretty obvious (or at least I would hope it is) and seems to be more isolated than a pattern. I’m trying to focus on bigger picture items. Part one was largely inspired by my own change in perception of the quality of the Awards Gala. I remember my first few and how impressed I was with the show back in the Las Vegas days at Bally’s. The content isn’t remarkably different and the food was excellent this time around but it is the small things – I remember getting my photo taken with an Elvis impersonator, some pretty fancy stage backdrop props, and coloured lighting. All these impressed me, to say the least, and made me feel like I was a part of an exciting and great organization.

Ok – now onto Part 2 of What WEVA needs to fix for Expo 2010!

I decided to focus my attention on a pretty big item for number two. The letter “E”. And specifically the letter “E” in “WEVA”. Although at one point wedding videos accounted for 50% of my annual revenues (way back in 2003), they now account for less than 2% of my revenues. My shift has been a dramatic one but I know I am not alone in my portfolio that lacks exposure in the wedding markets. One of the speakers and I were joking around that we were the “E’s” in “WEVA” as we were amongst the few speakers who were chosen to represent topics related to Event Video Production (and technically my topic was business strategy for event video producers).

In my local Professional Videographers Association, the BCPVA, our founders started the association as a wedding video group but around the time I joined in 2003, it started shifting to include more corporate and event. The result is that now weddings account for less than 1/3 of the business our members report they generate and we have adjusted our meeting content accordingly.

Now I know the history of WEVA, the Wedding and Event Videographers Association, is wedding videos. For the past 19 years WEVA has been at the forefront of raising the bar on this market segment and have done an amazing job at it. But with all the competition from other groups who are focusing exclusively on wedding video conferences and forums, competing with WEVA’s own Expo and forums, maybe it is time for WEVA to consider expanding their marketing mix. Here is where it currently sits – I took all the seminars, including the pre-convention power sessions, from this most recent Expo and did my best to put them into categories (that’s me at the bottom – I’m the lone business one):

wedding 31
system/camera specific 11
technical 10
other 8
event/biography 6
marketing 6
audio 4
corporate 2
business 1

As you can clearly see, wedding topics absolutely dominated. They accounted for more than the next three largest categories combined, which even includes a category I called “other” so that I could group the randoms together. A look down the list reveals that more importance was given to system/camera specific topics (there were three Final Cut and three Canon 5DMk2 seminars) than to the corporate and event market seminars.

So I would like to see this mix become a bit more balanced and certainly more representative than where it currently is. When I speak with speakers and attendees alike, they all tell me that they do corporate and event work and would like to grow those areas of their business, but every year WEVA selects only a few Event and Corporate topics. As a speaker, I find that if I am the only one representing a specific niche then I need to cover a lot of territory and give a broad overview, rather than getting into some pretty high level topics. I would like to see more topics within the event and corporate categories – much like the wedding video guys have.

If WEVA wants to grow (and I know Chairman Roy Chapman does), then I think the easiest way is to reach-out to the event and corporate video producers, who currently have no conference to call their own. How is that for easy pickings?

4 replies
  1. Kenneth Stillman says:

    This is a tough call for me. I know WEVA did a survey when I registered and asked what kind of work I did. I would think they would try and create the programming to match the attendance. If hard to say which comes first – the chicken on the egg? If more event videographers showed up maybe they would have more seminars. Of if they have more seminars will more event videographers show up? Roy has to cater to who is showing up.

    And you have to admit that some of the seminars are for everybody. You could benefit from the audio, marketing and technical classes as well.

    I do get discouraged by all the shooting seminars. Everybody goes and then they don’t go to the marketing seminars and come on VU complaining they have no work. DUH! Its because you can make great videos but you can’t sell.

    Great blog. Hopefully WEVA will read it.

  2. Scott Brooks says:

    I totally agree, Shawn.

    I haven’t been to an expo in years, but would seriously consider returning if there were more event seminars … and not just a token one or two … so it’s worth the trip.

    I’ve moved more towards photography in the last four years and only tape a few weddings a year. I don’t even promote video at bridal shows, but I do continue to shoot stage productions and would be interested in seeing more event seminars to see how I could grow that part of the business as well as improve the quality.

    Hopefully you can get about four event type seminars on the schedule next year. That would be a start.

  3. Lee Hopper says:

    I stopped going to weva expo due to the lack of “event” related clinics. Maybe I just know more about event video then the other folks since I have been doing this for 13 years
    I stopped my membershiop due to the BS here in Phoenix, and the ready available info on the NET

  4. Keith Kelly says:

    I myself was encouraged by the large number of attendees who were in the audience for my “sales” presentation. Sales and marketing are not sexy items-but they are essential. I was glad to see that my seminar was accepted as a timely topic, and also that I didn’t lose my audience to the “sexier” live streaming event down the hall. WEVA does listen, and I think my seminar is a prime example.

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