Last weekend I attended an engagement party for a good friend of mine. It had already been a long day of traveling to shoot engagement photos and pre-bridals for another friend of mine so I was pretty tired by 10 p.m. As I am sitting there drinking my water with lemon, I began to zone out listening to the music. As I sat, I started thinking about the DJ. I thought to myself, “what does a DJ do to stay ‘on top’? “If I were a DJ, how would I appeal to people?”
Let’s say that I am the DJ. First thing I want to think about is picking my target audience. I’ve got to think about a couple of things: what type of music do I want to/can (if I am performing personally) offer, what type of music should I be playing, or what type of music is not offered in my areas of reach and can I make it a niche market? Of course then my next step is to acquire all the music that I need. However, music is ever changing, and taste in music is as well. What may be a popular song now, may not be in a year or two and so I may have to revamp my collection to stay with the times. This even applies with classical music or older tunes (one year the 40′s may be hot, and the next year 60′s may be the thing).
Then I decide that I have to market to the people. I need to decide what the best method for marketing to my audience is. Maybe I create a MySpace or Facebook page and showcase my offerings there. Maybe paper flyers to distribute and hang up in places. Maybe a bilboard or two, etc. My goal is to reach the greatest amount of people whom I feel would be more willing to hire me.
I also have to contend with other DJ’s that may offer similar services and options to me. So what do I do in this circumstance? Maybe buy some cool clothes, whether it be a suit or tux or maybe some Elvis threads, and dress up. I can have my portrait professionally taken so that people may take me more seriously. I might consider buying some flashy spotlights and one of those rotating light balls. Perhaps a strobe light or two. Basically, I need to have things that make myself more presentable overall.
Then I snapped back to reality. I thought, “Wow, being a DJ is like being a one man university recruitment team.” The two fields really are not that different. I thought being a DJ wouldn’t be that difficult. Afterall, I can make my own mixes in GarageBand, put them on my iPod and hook it up to some speakers and voila, I’m a DJ. Of course if I want people to take me for real I have to present myself as a professional.
I bring this up for a couple of reasons; one, my fiance and I are trying to decide whether or not we want a DJ for our wedding, and two, how do students feel about your university? When your counselors attend college fairs, are you putting on a good show? How do you differentiate yourself from all the other colleges (DJ’s)? At what point do you cross over from being taken seriously to being a flashy light show?