I Twittered a few days ago that I am on a mission to wipe the word "Package" from the vocabulary of every creative business. Add to that list "Inventory", "Offerings" or any other descriptor that denotes a standard grouping or bundle of services.
I understand the impulse and desire to create an easily identifiable structure for clients. I am sure your thinking goes that if they know what you offer, then the better chance you will land the right client. Couldn't be further from the truth.
At Engage '09, Carly Roney, Editor-in-Chief of The Knot, Inc., discussed The Knot's study on wedding industry trends during the economic downturn and which vendor group was hardest hit as wedding budgets shrank. Wedding planners were far and away the worst off category. Carley did not go into detail as to why, but did say that brides felt the planner was most dispensible (as opposed to photographers who they felt were not). In seeing so many planners sites with similarly bundled services (i.e., day-of, middle-tier and full-service), I understood what the statistics bore out -- the sea of sameness reduced THE most subjective, high touch creative business out there to a function of price. All else being equal, who the client goes with is who will give them the best deal.
Just so sad to me. In America, we do not have royalty and, therefore, no ultimate standard to which we can aspire. Major life events, weddings in particular, are meant to set our own standard for our lives. Essentially, those in the wedding business are tasked with making that vision a reality, hopefully BEYOND the couple's own vision for themselves. When you talk about what you do in terms of "Packages", "Services", etc., you debase the connection you as an artist need to establish with your client and make it all about your ability to accomplish tasks.
Will it take more work to explain all that you do to every potential client? Yes. But the point is to communicate directly with them and establish a connection. Will you waste a lot of breath on the wrong clients? That is up to you. If you don't define who you are and what your art is truly about, then yes. Go all the way there, without apology or concern for your competition, then no. Be an Eventiste.
Industry standard offerings belong where the underlying product and/or service is the same: your cable TV provider, utility or cell phone service. They have no place in creative businesses.