Change your circumstances by changing your thoughts, words, and behavior

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By Bill Freeman, M. Photog., CPP, Freeman Photography Group LLC

If you missed the 2013 PSPA Conference this year, you missed Dr. Linda Talley explain how we can change our circumstances by changing our thoughts, words, and behavior. She noted that we create either positive or negative neural pathways and these guide our thinking and behavior, rather than the economy or the internet. If our thoughts are negative, we don’t feel good and we focus on what we are feeling: bad. Guess what we get? Bad or worse.

She gave us four ways to change our neural pathways to create positive thoughts and feelings and focus on what we do want. By shifting our thought patterns, we can shift our words and our actions. Finally, she gave us a technique to motivate and empower ourselves and our staff to be more proactive and risk tolerant. The important aspect of her message was that this was not just something she thought up and told us; all her suggestions and applications were all based on empirical research.

Dr. Talley’s second program focused on sales presentations and posing. She described the best way to engage with a prospective client and the how to make a great first impression in the first 3-5 seconds. Her comments on posing noted positive and defensive positions and the perceptions both of these created for the viewer. She noted that research shows that defensive positions create negative perceptions while positive positions create positive perceptions on the part of the viewer. She wondered why photographers kept using defensive positions and barriers when posing clients?

This program was eye-opening and a wakeup call to remind us that the nonverbal aspect of photography is the key to improving our business, making our clients pleased with our results; and positioning us to engage our clients on a different level.

McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #444 – January 15, 2013

The McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange has published 443 issues weekly since 2002. More than a thousand marketing ideas are archived at http://www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas.

To give our readers a broader aggregation of ideas and perspectives, your McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange is expanding its reach by teaming up with PMA Newsline. The first idea of the new year comes from the incoming president of the Association of Imaging Executives (AIE), Glenn Paul. Glenn’s insightful perspective is just one example of the broader reach we’ll have for our readers now as part of Newsline.

Huge shout out to the selfless sacrifice of Chris Lydle. To thank him for his years of true devotion and service, we are anointing him with the permanent title of Editor Emeritus. The McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for Chris’ commitment to helping others. Chris is stepping back from his hands-on role, turning over the day-to-day editing to Don Long. Don’s years of service as a journalist to the imaging industry, including several years as a PMA senior editor, will serve us all well in his new role. Welcome Don and thank you Mr. Lydle.

If you’re new to the McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange you need to know that Bill McCurry’s musings are not the opinion of any other organization nor any rational human . . . they are McCurry’s own. If you have a question or comment, he’d love to hear from you at wmccurry@mccurryassoc.com.

Here’s his first musing of the new year. Warning – the following is not PC:

McCurry’s Musings . . .

Hey, it’s a new year and everyone wants togive awards for The Best of 2012 . . . First, a “worst idea of 2012.” Target ran a full color insert (FSI) on December 20. That insert had zero cameras in it. Not a single photo product. Millions of consumers were not reminded to give cameras for Christmas. They were instead encouraged to put their disposable dollars into tablets, games, furnishings, toys – anything but cameras. Target won’t publicly discuss product placement. Industry pundits conclude it was lack of demand that caused Target to reconsider allocation of resources to photo. When the margin return on investment was calculated, Target likely reached the conclusion there was no benefit to their shareholders to take manufacturer ad money to promote cameras. Why should they divert disposable consumer dollars into no margin product when they had a store full of higher margin product they could direct the customer to? The decline in camera sales is only partly caused by technology. The slide could be reduced if retailers like Target had a profit incentive to stay in the business. In a no profit category those not wed to imaging are abandoning it. What a tragedy for us all.

Contrast this to my nomination for “Imaging Industry Leader Of The Year Award.” Ready for a shock? Think of one company that made a cool product and charged a whole lot more than needed based on traditional industry margins. You’d guess Apple first, right? Number two is Fujifilm. Yes, the company that brought you the X-series cameras. The leadership at Fuji took a huge risk. Could Fuji create a cool product and raise the average selling price because people wanted to own it? Could Fuji reverse the decline in average selling price? Could they put more money in retailers’ pockets and their own treasury? Fuji gambled. They hit the jackpot. The X-series cameras were a hit with those retailers who embraced them for what they were. Sure they were a niche product. Yes, they aren’t for every consumer. Neither is Apple for every consumer.

Target is not a situation of what brand cameras they’ll sell. The question is if Target will offer any cameras to their customer at all. Maybe the creative thinking from Fuji will spread to other camera companies and Target will come back to promoting cameras to its millions of dedicated Target customers

A big shout out goes to Fuji and Fuji leadership for trying something daring, something creative, something outside the lockstep thinking of the CE world. We challenge each camera manufacturer to do something meaningful to bring margin growth to our industry.

Warmest wishes for a joyous, healthy and prosperous 2013.

– Bill

Today’s idea – simplicity sells

Glenn Paul, Textler

The president-elect of the Association of Imaging Executives, and CEO of Textler, a cloud-to-mobile software company, suggests you need a pitch “a consumer can wrap his mind around.”

His thought: simplicity sells.

“My mentor always said that every great salesperson has one great pitch. He knows the product, the objections, and the possible outcomes so well he may even leave information out of the pitch to give prospects an opportunity to ask the question that closes the deal.

“The pitch vividly illustrates why the idea [product, service] is important, how it differs from the what the competition is offering, and how the prospect will benefit by acting right now.”

Glenn notes that, while this seems ridiculously simple, many people figure what they’re selling is very complicated.

“I was once on a discussion panel to talk about raising money. I had scratched together a few million dollars, but one guy on the panel had raised $70 million. His secret: ‘The fewer slides in my PowerPoint presentation, the more money I raised.’ Simplicity sells.”

Consumers have millions of messages coming at them, Glenn points out, “so they only pay attention to the grabbers. Consumers must understand the message, and they won’t read something that sounds like marketing.

“The Obama campaign famously learned that the uglier their emails, the more money they raised.  Casual subject lines like ‘Hey,’ ‘Wow,’ and ‘Join me for dinner’ were opened far more frequently than ‘Support the Obama Campaign now!’

“I’ve written a lot of beautiful emails over the years, and it’s eye-opening to me to learn that most were deleted because they were too polite!”

Glenn suggests that, once you think you know your pitch, test, refine and teach. Glenn says that by testing your pitch and refining the parts of your business that interact with customers (your website, perhaps?) you can optimize your pitch and your business’ entire user interface.

“Keep testing and listening, but, once you’ve got something that works, teach it to your employees. The real fun starts when an informal army of happy customers begin to parrot the simple message that you have carefully fed into your marketplace. And, since marketing can be one of your biggest costs, your business becomes much more profitable when word-of-mouth drives incremental customers to your door.”

Keep those ideas comin’

• Send your ideas to editor@McCurryAssoc.com. Your ideas are what power this exchange.

• Got a promotion that worked? Tell us about it. Got one that didn’t? Tell us about that, too, especially if you can tell us why it fizzled, what you learned from it, how it can be fixed.

• Got an idea generated by a staffer? Got something that’s exciting and/or motivating the crew? Doing something that’s bringing customers in, got customers buzzing, got them buying? Tell us.

• Don’t worry if you’re not the best writer; we’ll be happy to tidy things up for you.

• We’d appreciate getting pictures to help illustrate the ideas.

• Twice a week you’ll be seeing marketing ideas in PMA Newsline that will expand your horizons and grow your business.

• They’ll be coming through the McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange that is now distributed with Newsline. Most issues will be ideas shared by you, our loyal readers.

• Occasionally Bill McCurry will blog about a subject of industry significance.

• To make this work, you need to share a marketing idea.

• There are 443 archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange, with more than 1,000 marketing ideas as a resource for you, at http://www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas.