Networking Groups vs. Consumer Resources
In today’s DJ wedding market, many DJ companies boast of all their ‘professional affiliations’ as a way to establish credibility within the marketplace. As an engaged couple, determining which affiliations warrant respect is a difficult task. In this blog, we will simplify your DJ selection process by helping you sort through and understand the difference between a ‘Networking Group’ and a real ‘Consumer Resource’.
As you search for your DJ, you will notice that many DJs have logos on their website that represent all of their affiliations. Each affiliation can be sorted into two main groups; Networking Groups and Consumer Resources.
Networking groups (trade associations) are simply a group of wedding vendors that have scheduled meetings to discuss, learn, and collaborate with each other. There are no ‘standards’ or barriers to entry. Being a member does not guarantee the customer anything at all. When wedding vendors advertise that they are a member, customers may feel the company has more credibility because more than one vendor displays a logo on a website. Eventually, potential customers feel a sense of comfort when they see the logo.
For example, The ADJA (American Disc Jockey Association) is a networking group that thousands of DJs have embraced. Many DJ companies proudly advertise the ADJA logo on their websites because many customers like to see professional affiliations. Yet, the organization itself does not have any credible standards for membership. To become a member, all you have to do is pay their membership fee. The ADJA is not a credible resource for an engaged couple to distinguish the quality of one DJ from another. It is only a resource for the customer to learn what questions to ask and the DJ to learn about new products and marketing techniques. The ADJA does not have any credible membership standards or barriers to entry. We actually know of two existing members of the ADJA that are banned from local area banquet facilities for inappropriate behavior. A reputable affiliation or ‘consumer resource’ will either dismiss members that are not ‘up to par’ or grade members based on some type of scale. The ADJA does nothing to guarantee the quality of members to potential bride and grooms.
For dedicated members of networking groups, their overall awareness and customer service should improve over time. Many members of networking groups do receive high levels of customer satisfaction. However, it is important to be aware that being a member of a networking group does not distinguish the quality of one member from another.
Other well known networking groups include: N.A.M.E. (The National Association of Mobile Entertainers); N.A.C.E. (National Association of Catering Executives); ISES (International Special Events Society).
A consumer resource is an organization that exists to protect and inform consumers about the legitimacy/professionalism of a business. Ratings and customer feedback are generally the platform used to evaluate each business. Engaged couples can learn a lot about wedding vendors from an organization like the BBB (Better Business Bureau). It is not that easy to become a member and their system of ‘reliability reports’ is very effective. The BBB assigns grades from A to F with pluses and minuses. A+ is the highest grade and F is the lowest. The grade represents BBB’s degree of confidence that the business is operating in a trustworthy manner and will make a good faith effort to resolve any customer concerns filed with BBB. They also have a platform to investigate customer complaints and post those issues online for the general public.
Other well known consumer resources include: The Bureau of Consumer Protection and The CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
In addition, searching for online reviews is a great way to view the legitimacy/quality of your wedding vendors. Wedding Wire and The Knot are two great resources for online testimonials.