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What Professional Photographers Can Learn From the Happy Meal™

Album packages

Anyone who has tried giving kids 12 different meal options in a drive-thru has quickly learned their lesson. One quickly discovers that just giving an option A or option B to a child makes everyone much happier. The same is true for professional photography! Giving clients a long list of a la carte items to choose from is doing a disservice to your customer, and also your business. Find out what professional photographers can learn from the Happy Meal!

The genius behind the meal

Scenario: You have a car full of hangry kiddos and decide to do the drive-thru for the first time. You tell yourself it will be easy. Everyone stays in the car, seatbelts are on, and Kidz Bop 2021 is blaring – simple! You get up to the window and give the kids 3 different options for entrees, 3 options for sides, 3 options for drinks, and 2 options for dessert. Kids are screaming, changing their minds, and crying because McDonald’s doesn’t have hotdogs.

Later, as you sip your sweet tea, you review in your head how all the tears and frustration could have been avoided if you gave them just the options you knew they liked and needed.

This is exactly why McDonald’s™ came up with the Happy Meal™ – to provide a better dining experience for families with kids. They looked at what items kids liked best – hamburgers and chicken nuggets, gave healthy or savory options for the sides, and then included a drink.

The kicker was the toy and the secret weapon was the packaging. This made the meal different than just a bunch of options on a menu. The toys and packaging made it special and created a buzz that has lasted since 1980.  

The genius behind the bundle

The answer lies inside the red cardboard box your kids can’t live without every time they see the big yellow arches. 

Instead of giving a giant menu of options for everyone, give a few bundles that make the most sense for your client.

What Professional Photographers Can Learn From the Happy Meal™, What Professional Photographers Can Learn From the Happy Meal™, Zookbinders
Make your wedding photography packages and pricing easy to understand and convenient to choose from – just like a kid choosing a Happy Meal!

 

First, think about what items are the most popular. What are the “burger and nuggets” of your a la carte options? Most wedding couples want at least an 8-hour package and digital images. The 8-hour option is the burger, the digital images are the golden french fries. Let’s add the engagement session as the drink, as we consider it a must-have!

Now we have our base – so let’s give them some options that your clients want, and are also profitable to you!

Add in the online gallery as the side option you know they need (the “apples” or “yogurt” of the meal), and an album as the big differentiator (the “toy” or “treat” of the meal). However, don’t forget the “red signature box” that makes you stand out – the packaging!

What Professional Photographers Can Learn From the Happy Meal™, What Professional Photographers Can Learn From the Happy Meal™, Zookbinders
At Zookbinders, we realize the importance of beautiful packaging! It will make a big difference with your clients too!

Easier photography options make happier customers

McDonald’s knew that parents don’t have a lot of time and patience, so they created an easy bundle with what kids wanted, what parents needed, and also what made them a good profit in the end. Not to mention the marketing partnership with companies, such as Disney, is a pretty sweet deal for both sides!

Take a page out of their playbook and create bundles that make sense for your brides, and also give you a great profit! McDonald’s offers regular pricing for their Happy Meals and Combo Meals, and also offers higher pricing if you want to “supersize” it. Therefore, take your favorite package and make it your middle package. Then “supersize” it and make that a new package at a higher price. Throw in a “basic” package (think “daily deal” on the dollar menu), and now you have a great lineup of packages.

For instance:

Basic Package: 8 hours photography with 1 photographer, online gallery with professionally edited images, an engagement shoot, 8×8 Lustre Book, and beautiful packaging

Favorite Package: 12 hours photography with 2 photographers,  online gallery with professionally edited images, an engagement shoot and 8×8 sign-in/keepsake album, 10×10 Lustre Book with Acrylic cover, 8×8 Parent Album, and beautiful packaging.

What Professional Photographers Can Learn From the Happy Meal™, What Professional Photographers Can Learn From the Happy Meal™, Zookbinders
Don’t forget to include an engagement session and sign-in album with your wedding photography packages! They are a must-have!

 

Supersized Package: All-Day photography (no limits!) with 2 photographers, online gallery with professionally edited images, USB with all edited images, an engagement shoot and 10×10 sign-in/keepsake album, 10×10 Zook Book or Bon a Vie with Acrylic cover, (2) 8×8 Parent Album, and beautiful packaging.

What Professional Photographers Can Learn From the Happy Meal™, What Professional Photographers Can Learn From the Happy Meal™, Zookbinders
“Supersize” your client’s orders by offering upgraded album choices, like the Zook Book, or upgrade options like Acrylic covers or premium leather choices.

Add on that apple pie!

Give them everything they want, and more! Show them the savings versus getting everything a la carte, show them that these are the most wanted photography items from brides, and show off that YOU are the professional and they can rely on you to create them a great experience!

If they want to add on that USB drive with all edited images, supersize them to a bigger package! If they want to exchange the album for a canvas, let them know that the packages are created for what brides need most, but you can add that canvas to the “Favorite Package” for only $xxx.

Notice that McDonald’s doesn’t have Happy Meal that comes with a dessert? Those are add ons and they make a ton of extra money! Don’t exchange or compromise what you know brides need, and what also brings in the profits. Have you ever tried exchanging something for french fries – if they even let you, it’s an additional charge! Use that business strategy for your benefit to either keep a bride in an ideal package or bump her up to a larger one.

McDonald’s created the Happy Meal because they knew what parents ordered the most, they knew what would attract the kids, and also what would give them the best bottom line at the end of the day. As the professional, you know what couples need the most, what attracts the brides to your business, and what gives you the most profit. Create packages that reflect this and don’t be afraid to “supersize” your business! Don’t forget what professional photographers can learn from the Happy Meal™ when you’re creating your next price list.

Melissa Genson

Melissa Genson

Specialist in the Photographer Experience Dept at Zookbinders. Photographer since 110-format film cameras. Salesperson since lemonade & painted rocks. I now combine these passions, along with my compulsive need for customers to achieve success, every day.

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