Reviews: The Great & The Less Than Great

Gain Inside Knowledge From Marketing Consultant Corinne Smith

Since we are in the midst of wedding season, I thought it would be a good time to share some thoughts about dealing with reviews.

 Did you know that 90% of millennial brides will check your reviews online before they commit to doing business with you? The number one determining factor in choosing a vendor is a referral from someone within their personal circle. The second determinant is positive reviews online. Like it or not, Google, Yelp, Wedding Wire, The Knot are all a necessary part of the business. And now, reviews get written on social media channels too.  

 The reason you want great reviews is that it is a persuasive tool in acquiring new business. If you’re rocking your game, you’re going to encourage great customers to write reviews for you. Notice I said great?! A great customer or bride is someone you connect with, who is in your corner and already loves you. You had a great time working with them in the process and in the end they were happy. Those are your ambassadors now. Make it easy for them to write you a kind review by providing the links to the sites that are going to be most helpful to you. You could send them a friendly “checking in – hope you’re off to a wonderful honeymoon” email (yes, a lot of reviews get written on honeymoons… kind of sad right?!). In other words, keep the relationship and connection going – they will spread the good word for you. Brides have friends that are brides or will be brides soon. Again, direct referral – #1 determining factor in vendor hiring decisions. 

 So, this begs the question, why not make every bride an ambassador? THAT should be the goal of every business. Not all brides are going to connect easily with you, some will take more effort, but if you got a direct referral from every bride you worked with – how would that increase your business? It’s in the realm of real possibility. Do what it takes to connect and understand what your brides are looking for and to the best of your ability, personalize your approach with each bride – meet them where they’re at. Understand their priorities and make those priorities yours. It will pay off. 

 Your response to a positive review is critical. A response equals validation. Everyone, especially the millennial market, wants, or should we say NEEDS, to be validated. These are the kids that received participation trophies. No, REALLY!! If you don’t respond, it will leave them thinking they made the wrong decision. Do it, it’s like saying thank you for liking us and telling your friends. It’s good business practice. 

Now, let’s talk about handling less than great reviews. You may know that the threshold of sharing bad news is very low. Inversely, the threshold of sharing good news is very high. That means that the motivation to write a bad review is very high. The motivation to write a good review is low. AND everyone is a critic. The way you handle a bad review is crucial and reflects even more on you then a great one. Here are some tips on responding to a less-than-awesome review.

 1)   VALIDATION. See above regarding the participation trophy. When people complain, their need is to be heard and understood. Acknowledgement is validation.  It’s important to acknowledge their specific concern. 

2)   EMPATHIZE. Have you ever been disappointed? It sucks. Being disappointed on your wedding day intensifies the disappointment by 100. Emotions are heightened to astronomical levels the day of and expectations are high. It is the perfect storm if expectations are not met. “It must have been terribly disappointing for you to not have gotten exactly what you expected.” This statement does not have you accepting blame, it has you putting yourself in their shoes – you are now a soft shoulder. The perception is that you are on their side. 

3)   RESPONSIBILITY. If you did something wrong or didn’t live up to your end of the agreement, own it. Don’t blame others, don’t run and hide because it’s uncomfortable – come clean and be honest.

4)   APOLOGIZE. Say the words. It matters more than you can imagine. Even if it wasn’t your responsibility, it mattered enough to them that they needed to let you know. Let them know you’re sorry that it didn’t go the way they wanted it to. 

5)   VALUE STATEMENT. Ding ding ding, opportunity to state how you do business. 

6)   IN THE FUTURE. This can be part of your value statement, or if you need to make amends in some way of value,  ask that they reach out to you directly so you can handle it. 

 Not only will your customer feel you took their review to heart, they now know you care about what happened. How many times have you gotten a recommendation from a friend with a story about something that happened and the end of the referral being, “and they took care of it”? We all want to work with people that care about what they are doing and who they are doing it for. So even if things didn’t go perfectly, what does matter at the end of the day, is that your customer and your potential customer knows YOU CARE. Anyone reading your response to a complaint will get that message if you handle it professionally and with empathy. 




Team Member Spotlight


This month we wanted to show some appreciation to one of our full time staff members, our Warehouse Tech Brian Howard! Brian keeps our warehouse up to date and organized so our events can function properly! With all the new inventory we have been introducing, Brian has managed to find a place for it all and do it with a smile. When Brian isn’t busy assisting Beau in the warehouse, designing lighting installations, and assisting our DJs in the field, you can find him surfing the Central Coast.

One of our Core Values here at Kramer Events is to be a Team Player,  and we’re lucky to have found someone who embodies that attitude. When under pressure,  Brian helps lead others to the finish line.  He truly understands that the show must go on, no matter the circumstance! 

We are so grateful to have Brian on board with us, and to see him grow!


Read more about our Core Values here

5 Creative Tips for Your 2019 Wedding

Here at Kramer Events we LOVE all things wedding, so today we’re revealing all of our best secrets! You’ll find decor moments we’re obsessed with, practices we want to steal (um, we mean politely borrow), and concepts we can’t wait to see couples execute. Basically, these are the ideas/tips that could take your wedding from “cool wedding” to “wedding of the year.”  

And not to brag, but we kinda know our stuff:  We look at wedding pictures  All! Year! Long!

  1. 1. The Last Dance- At the end of the night,  kick all the guests out and take one last swing,  just the two of you.  But don’t worry, this is not a rude move.  In fact, it has an added bonus as it gives everyone else time to get in place for your sure-to-be-perfect exit.

2. Wallpaper Accents – It’s no secret that wallpaper can transform a space at home—and it’s the same when used at a wedding. We’re seeing planners use prints on statement walls (behind the head table, as an escort card display) or even as the ceremony altar itself. It is sure to be a show stopper! 

3. A Mid-Ceremony Shot – No, we’re not talking about a squad pic. Instead take a fun posed shot during the ceremony. Talk about a great way to start the party—and a lifetime of adventure together. 

4. A Touch-Up Bar – There’s always a HUGE long line in the ladies room as girls (by nature) love to fix their hair and makeup mid-party. Thankfully, planner Tara Guérard gave us an idea for a solution: Hire some pros and have a few touch-up stations at the ready. We’re not talking full makeovers here, but a fresh gloss or curl can go a long way—especially when your guests know there’s a photo booth nearby!

5. Custom Illustrations – This often entails hiring a local artist to render some part of your big day.  This could include artwork that might first appear on a save-the-date telling the story of the couple’s relationship may reappear on the invitation, on linen napkins, or even on a band backdrop. 

We’ll be right here ready to swoon over your wedding pics when you do!

Have you done any of these tips/ideas at your wedding? 

New “Worry Free” Ceremony Sound System

When many people think of speakers and sound for a wedding, they think of the dancing, the entertainment, and the DJ.  And yes that’s a large part of it.  In fact, most DJ companies focus their main equipment around what’s needed for dancing. 
But the part that’s the most emotional, the most cherished, the most remembered is that moment where you are saying your lifetime vows to each other during the ceremony.  The reality is that most DJ companies don’t focus on making this ceremony sound system perfect
We’ve all been to wedding ceremonies where you can’t hear the officiant or the wedding couple.  Or the microphone keeps cutting in and out.  You’ve felt disconnected, distracted, and in some cases bored.  How would the couple feel if they knew that’s what their guests were experiencing?
Some of us have been to a wedding ceremony where you can hear every word, are on the edge of your seat, and you feel the emotion that the couple and the family are experiencing.  You feel part of something special and are sharing in the moment.  
The difference is the ceremony sound system that was used.  Most sound / DJ companies don’t invest in great microphones party because they are expensive and they’ve already invested so much in their main dancing system.  And most don’t come with 2 microphones.

At Kramer Events, we are changing this!

We now use crystal clear top of the line Shure QLX microphones that don’t cut out.  They are the microphones a touring band would use at a concert.  You’ll have 2 of them, one on your partner and one on your officiant.  You’ll also have 2 award winning QSC speakers.  Our sound tech / DJ will ensure every word, including your vows, is heard crystal clear.
We are so confident that your ceremony will be “Worry Free” from sound that we are now offering a money back guarantee.  
Let your guests enjoy and fully experience your wedding ceremony.


Beau Kramer
Team Leader

Team Behind The CWD Awards!

The Best of California Wedding Day Awards annually sets the Central Coast Wedding Industry abuzz when they announce their nominees for the title of “best of” each of our respective trades.  Wedding professionals across California light up their social media channels, send out emails to all of their most supportive advocates, and drop hints at networking events all to say “vote for us”!  We here at Kramer Events are no exception to this routine and every year that we’re nominated we are filled with appreciation at just being considered!

This year our local wedding community sent us home from the annual California Wedding Day Awards Gala at Vibiana in Los Angeles with two awards; Best Lighting and Best DJ!  The Central Coast Wedding Industry is ripe with talent, professionalism, and a genuine collective enthusiasm for what we are able to accomplish together as a community. We are filled with humble pride at having received this recognition from our peers, but nothing would make us happier than to shine a little light on the incredible people without whom a win would never be possible: our team.

To highlight some of their individual contributions, you could set a clock to Nick’s impeccable professionalism and his ability to light up a room and infuse every event with humor.  By the end of a wedding, Dustin will know the life stories of everyone in attendance, all of their favorite songs, and the bride and groom will, literally, become his best friends. To compliment his laid back demeanor, breadth of EDM knowledge, and his turntable skills, Miles’ attention to detail is the stuff of planners’ dreams.  Sam, a firefighter by day, DJ by night, with his Captain America good looks, will show you how country feels with a wide repertoire of country music knowledge and a reputation for inciting line dances. 

We have scientists and engineers-in-training; Conor who dominates the mixing board, and shreds on the guitar, while attending Cal Poly by day in pursuit of his aerospace engineering degree.  Janine with the voice of an angel and an unusual passion for instruments of scientific measurement, will be graduating next week with a BS in Biochemistry and singing behind her DJ booth a week later.  Chandler will also be graduating this summer with a degree in Political Science, and we’re pretty sure he might take over the world one day with his charisma, intelligence, and ability to fix almost anything. And, although he’ll soon be transitioning out of our ranks, we could not have accomplished many of our events this past year without our expert of all trades, Paul, who has excelled as a DJ/MC while building the foundation that will pave the way for our new techs to excel moving forward.

Lastly, our talented lighting and A/V techs, whose hard work and creativity transform so many of our stunning local venues, could not possibly go without mention.  With his straightforward mentality, his calming natural confidence, and his innate eye for design, the number of clients who have fallen completely in love-at-first install with our lead tech Leo is beyond our ability to track.  Our up-and-coming A/V tech, Logan, with his outgoing personality and his aptitude for lighting design, has already in his short time here, made tremendous improvements to our lighting program and contributed to the overall expansion of our A/V department.

To say that we are backed by a team of dedicated professionals would be an understatement and, just when we think we couldn’t possibly appreciate our front line more, they go and do a thing like this.  Every member of our team brings passion, creativity, and a keen eye for detail to each event while remaining true to their personal styles and work ethic. They individually value the relationships they form with our venue managers, fellow vendors, and clients and many of the improvements we make to our processes are a direct result of ideas our team members bring back to us from their events.  Not only are we beaming with pride at the extent to which we can rely on our team to produce amazing results event after event, we are beyond excited to see what they’ll do next.

As we welcome new team members, seek to improve our internal processes and nurture our relationships within the local wedding community, we walk beside our team confidently, recognizing that they are at the heart and soul of everything we do.


5 Steps To A Worry Free Ceremony – Officiant Paul Howell

Build, Trust, Enjoy
Your wedding will be one of the most joyful and memorable moments of your lives. It’s a milestone of hopes and dreams fulfilled as well as new ones created. In its essence, your wedding is about the two of you, yet it also includes many of your loved ones who have been there all along the way. It’s a day of happiness, unity and celebration. Making your wedding day came fully alive and having an optimal experience is both an art and a science.
The Big Picture
It’s important that you realize from the start that a wedding is a very complex event requiring a tremendous amount of planning and decision making. Deciding and executing the character, the setting, the colors, the sights and sounds, the foods and a thousand other details of your wedding will be required. And when you consider that you have a deeply emotional stake in it, you’ll soon find that the process can be a daunting task. And the culmination of all of your hard work will be the day when you’ll want (and need) to be completely free to enjoy your wedding day, unencumbered with responsibility or worry.

If you want to experience your wedding day happy, carefree and fully present, you’ll need to have people in place who will be able to carry out every step without you having to do anything else except enjoy your wedding day. Building a team of trusted allies working with you and for you is your best strategy. 
Wedding professionals have lots of experience with every imaginable wedding situation. They can help draw out what you want in your wedding and make it unfold in a practical, seamless way. Choose vendors who you feel confident with, those who listen to you and want you to have a perfect experience. Then let them draw on their professional experience to give you advice, make suggestions and work with you to help them to do the best possible job for you. 
As a professional wedding officiant who has officiated over 600 weddings, I’ve stood face to face with many couples at the very moment of the culmination of long planning. The couples who have let go with confidence in their planning and their vendors are the ones who are fully present for their vows and who are fully engaged in what is happening. All of the details are left behind to be taken care of by those they trust.
I’m writing this because I’ve worked with Kramer many, many times over the last 12 years and have the utmost confidence in them each time I step up to the altar. I know the members of the Kramer team and the dedication, experience, and passion that they bring to each wedding. 
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of officiating a ceremony with Kramer’s new sound system and was quite impressed. The sound was remarkable and I knew I could devote all of my attention to the couple and their ceremony with no thought about possible microphone handling strategies. An investment like that is for the sole purpose of delivering a perfect experience for a couple’s most important moment instead of risking it to wind or poor sound. This sound system is a great example of going the extra distance to ensure the best possible wedding for a couple and their guests. It’s Kramer’s dedication to providing the best for you that has made them stand out among the rest. 
So build a team that you can have confidence in, let go with and enjoy your wedding day!


Paul Howell, Officiant
Marriage With Meaning

Corinne’s Corner | Maximizing Your Paid Promotional Channels For Bottom Line Results!!


Demystifying Marketing 101.6


Here we are – the last of the Marketing basics – the last of the Ps of marketing! Last time we addressed PROMOTION – the free side of promotion. So let’s talk about Paid Promotion here.

For a marketer – promotion is the realm of delectable possibilities! Visions of clever print ads in glossy magazines, waves of targeted traffic to your website driven by pay-per-click, cool contests in social media to gain followers, hip networking groups to be a part of, wedding fairs to participate in, pie-in-my-eyes kind of options! 

But remember all that groundwork we laid? The defining of target markets, pricing considerations and research, placement, product attributes – NOW, they really come into play. Before going out and spending a couple K on a beautiful advertisement in a heavy hitter magazine, consider the information you have at hand. You’d be surprised how many people I know that have done this with sky-high goals, to be proud of their glossy ad but little return for the investment. And I’m not going to knock print ads in beautiful magazines, they have their place (even in the world of digital everything), but that’s not where you’ll reap immediate impact. You may know that one of my clients in recent years was an up and coming local wedding venue. At my recommendation, we did spring for a big beautiful add in a well-known glossy magazine. I knew from the get-go we would not directly sell the venue to potential brides by doing it. We did it because part of our target market was high-end planners and designers in the state of California, who advise their clients looking to have a destination wedding weekend. How did I know that? I had data, from the magazine, that showed their analytics. Side note: any print or digital channel worth investing in, should be able to provide this information to you. We did it for exposure, knowing that when said magazine comes out, planners and designers flip through the pages and ponder them. Coupled with some additional targeted tools to reinforce the consistent messaging, it worked. We gained brand awareness, we made appointments with planners and their clients, we booked weddings. Did any bride call or email to view the property saying that she saw our big beautiful ad? One or two, but there were no waves of brides coming our way specifically because of the ad. It might be a good place for me to remind you that marketing research and science shows that your name brand needs to be presented to a potential buyer 7-8 times before they take ANY action. Before they go to your website before they pick up the phone or write an email. This begs the question – HOW are your potential buyers hearing about you, WHERE are they seeing you and learning about you? Successful marketing is a perfect storm, multi-layered efforts, not only one or two gusts of wind.

OK, so on that premise, I’m going to tell you that information is your best friend. For most of us, our website is our brick and mortar interface with customers. Your website is also a wealth of critical information that can be used to make important marketing decisions. How often do you read your analytics? Do you know how many site visits you have each month? Do you know how visitors got to your site? Do you know what words they searched for in Google to find you? When you gain a new client do you ask them how they found you and keep track of the data provided? I will wholeheartedly tell you that if you don’t have this information, you’re spinning. Spinning means you’re putting in the effort and most likely not getting results. Sure, you’re busy working hard. I would challenge you to work smarter, not harder. Put the information to work for you. Maximize your efforts without working harder. How does that translate?

First, be honest with yourself. Sure, you’re a part of a fun networking group that you lay out funds for every year, but how is that actually contributing to your bottom line? Don’t get me wrong, networking, having fun and making friends in the industry is actually invaluable, but if that’s your marketing plan, you’re going to be disappointed in the results. So be honest. Is that website you’re paying to be listed on bringing you qualified inquiries that you can convert into sales? Could those funds be funnelled more effectively to a pay-per-click campaign engaging keywords that people already are using to find your website? Hey, I’m just asking the question – it’s your money.

Second, before spending hard-earned dollars, answer these questions: 1) What is my desired outcome from this expenditure (purpose), 2) What effort am I willing to make to maximize the impact, 3) Does this expense get me closer to my desired overall goal or am I experiencing a case of FOMO and 4) Does this channel align with my market.

Here’s a biggie for me. If I know that my target market is 70-80% out of town brides, why would I spend money advertising and marketing locally? How do I know this information? I (YOU) keep track of my existing customers, I know where they’re from, their attributes. I invest my resources in taking advantage of the channels where they are engaged and looking for me. I only encourage you to learn what factually works for you by getting acquainted with the information readily available to you. When I was first out of college, I worked for a community revitalization non-profit as the Marketing Director. Our overall goal was to get people to come to our historic Downtown to shop, eat, do business and see first-hand the revitalization projects underway. I was the board of directors liaison to several committees and we would often use the phrase “shoot while the geese are flying” as we planned out our promotional calendar. Meaning, you don’t go goose hunting WHEN there are no geese, or WHERE there are no geese. It is much easier to take advantage of situations, or markets, where there is already availability – it takes less effort and considerably fewer resources. For our particular efforts, there was a definite lag in shoppers coming Downtown in February and March, but we already had great inherent traction during the summer months and holiday months. You know – the first quarter blues. Rather than planning promotions and activities in all the months of the year, we concentrated our resources to focus on summer months and holidays when we knew we had an audience, with the goal to grow our organic audience during those times. In all honesty, there was spill over – getting people to enjoy their downtown exposed them to how fun it was to be downtown in general and they wanted to be there more – including in the “off” months.

The wedding industry is not a great mystery. There is a season of planning, there is a season of research and kicking tires, there is a season of producing. There is also information available to you that can be coordinated to maximize your efforts on the limited resources that you have. So, if you came here looking for a clear road map of where you should be paying to promote your business – I can’t give that to you, and I apologize for your disappointment. But what I can do, is challenge you to ask yourself the questions that will create the road map for yourself. I can lead you in the direction of the questions you should be asking yourself. Take the time to go through your unique information, be honest and make a small plan. A marketing plan that gets the seeds germinating for bigger things. Seeing your brand gain traction and your sales increase by a growing margin is exhilarating! It’s a process – and I’ll speak more to the process next month. Once you see small results from your efforts, you’ll become motivated to dive further in, get more technical and hone your efforts. Your business and bottom line WILL grow.

On a personal note, I just want to say thanks for reading Corinne’s corner. Those of you that reach out and tell me that you read these words encourage and inspire me – I’m appreciative. You may know I’m a bit of a geek about things I’m passionate about – Marketing is something I’m passionate about. If you have questions or have feedback, I’d be honored to hear from you! Please email me –  I’d love to share a Q & A in one of these posts sometime.


Be well, be inspired and be prosperous!

Tobin James Summer Solstice Celebration BBQ

Exciting new event happening later this month!!

Its that time of year again, Summer Solstice Celebration. Saturday, June 22, 2019, from 7pm-11pm at the beautiful Tobin James Cellars in Paso Robles.

Join in for their first Summer Series event as DJ Kramer rocks the dance floor. Chef Marc’s Gourmet Pizza will be BBQ’ing some tasty eats. 

There will be 5 different BBQ pits each cooking 5 different meal options all to be enjoyed with award-winning Tobin James Wines. You can end the night at the ice cream bar to truly experience all this exciting event has to offer. 

In the past, this event has garnered much attention from all over the county. This is a yearly event that is always a huge hit.

Get your summer started in the best possible way here on the Central Coast, with tickets at $109 per person, this is a summer must! 

For more info & to purchase tickets, call Tobin James Cellars at  805 – 239 – 2204


Corinne’s Corner | Promoting Your Product

Yeah! If you’ve been following along with this little blurb each month, you know we’ve reached the final P – PROMOTION. It’s a big one!

If you’ve done the previous work on defining your product, the price, it’s placement and its’ position within the market – you’re ready to take on promotion. How will you best get your message out? 

We live in a time when there are literally unlimited avenues of promoting. Pay per click ad words, Facebook, Print, digital sites and blogs, promised SEO – many places to spend many dollars. It is a whole industry on to itself and it is the monetized part of marketing. 

Because I have a serious rebel side, I’m going to start with FREE promotion options first and save the monetized ones for next month. There are some really good free promotional resources that are vastly under-utilized. Here are my favorites:

  • 1. GOOGLE Business Pages. Whether you know it or not – if you’re in business, you have a google business page. I recommend you claim it and pump it up in a big way! You can add messaging, images and more here. It is literally, like turning the lights on. Google rewards businesses for using their tools (like it or not), so take advantage of that! It will drive traffic to your site, thereby bringing business to you. Post your best images, the ones that represent what you’re amazing at. Tag them to your website and use key words about your service or business. Just do it!
  • 2. Partake in any site that has free listings. If you’re a venue, Kramer Events, has a great one. (that was a cross-promotional plug…) Make sure your information and images are current and represent you well. There are other listings – don’t discount them. EVERY TIME you are mentioned in the world wide web – it provides another link to your website and business. This is like compounding interest over time.
  • 3. Your website is the best promotional tool available to you. When your potential clients go there – are they engaged, do they want to see more of what you have to offer or does it indicate that you’re out of touch? You have about 6 seconds to convince someone looking at your site, either to stay or go. Make sure you have a phone number on the landing page. Make sure you have an email (not just a form to fill out) so they can easily contact you with questions. If you don’t have your email address on your site and only have a RFP form – YOU ARE LOSING BUISINESS!

Do you have links within your site to other vendors, editorial features, events you’ve been part of? This is another incredible way to drive traffic and raise your own site in the google rankings algorithm organically (without spending $$).

  • 4. Social Media is FREE. The opportunity for business is truly incredible. The key to making it work for you is posting amazing images and information CONSISTENTLY. Definition of consistently: 3-6 times each week for Instagram and 2-4 times for Facebook. Know that Instagram and Facebook serve very different purposes. Facebook is informational and Instagram is Inspirational. I’m going to come back to these concepts in subsequent blurbs. 90% of brides have checked you out on social media BEFORE they get in touch with you. YOU are in control of what they’re seeing.

So, that’s a wrap for this month. Next month we’ll chat about paid promotion. In coming months, I’d like to share helpful information about practical things such as tips for responding to a bad review, best practices for social media and networking, so be sure to tune in. Have a question for me? Email me at or through @mktgsmith on insta.

Just in case you missed it, here is last months article on Placing Your Product. 

Get Creative! (Exciting New Photo Booth Features)

Never Satisfied, its one of our core values and it speaks volumes to how we innovate within our company. We are always looking for ways to enhance our customer experience, and the new features on our Photo Booths are just one of the ways we are doing just that! 

Our Lead Photo Booth Gal, Sarah has been working diligently to create a more interactive and fun Photo Booth experience for you and your guests, and so she has come up with three amazing features to offer

1. ARFX – it’s like Snapchat for photo booths! Stick your tongue out and watch those cute puppy ears appear on your head! Get silly with several different features of this kind. 

2. Green screen backgrounds – Step on up in front of our green screen, and the background of your photo can become anything you want it to be – no seriously, anything! We have a series of backgrounds to choose from, or we can design a custom one for you. The possibilities are endless. 

3. Filters- now you can add colorful filters over your photos, or give them an old fashioned feel with a black and white filter. Having the ability to choose the colors of your photo on the spot is pretty awesome! 

In addition to these three brand new features, we have added to our booths, we have also begun routinely offering GIF creations! You can send these directly to your inbox on the spot and have those memories for years to come! 

Learn more about our Photo Booths today!