About Jennifer Kruger

Jennifer Barr Kruger is Director of Communications for Photo Marketing Association International and Publisher of PMA magazine. In addition, Kruger is editor of PMA Newsline and PMA Newsline Weekly, and was previously the editor of several other industry publications. She is a contributor to both the DIMAcast (www.DIMAcast.com) and the Imaging Executive Podcast (www.imagingexecutive.com). Kruger is a 2010 ADDY Award winner for podcasting. She joined PMA in 1994.

MAC Group purchases HP Marketing, adds new product lines

MAC Group Logo

MAC Group Logo

MAC Group announced today that it has purchased HP Marketing, expanding its offerings to photographers and filmmakers.

The company will take over the distribution of the Gepe, Novoflex, Heliopan and Kaiser product lines effective February 1, 2015.

Photosolutions.pro launches hybrid video system for event/souvenir photographers

PhotoSol_LOGO_300

PhotoSol_LOGO_300Three well-known names in the imaging industry, Will Crockett, Dan Foster, and my own former colleague at PMA, Jeff Frazine, have launched a cool new company in the hybrid photography space, Photosolutions.pro. The startup provides a remote auto-editing and auto-uploading video system for high volume photography applications. The final product is a combination of a pre-roll video, graphics, music, and post-roll video, wrapped around an individualized 10 to 45 second video clip — delivered in a texted or emailed URL, in 720HD, in less than 4 minutes.

“We are committed to growth in the souvenir and event photography business through the delivery of a value added personalized video product,” Jeff said. “The millennials expect a more dynamic, personalized and easily shared memory of their life moments. By combining the action of video with the crystal clear audio that the  system enables, our customers have a more desired product to offer at their high volume venues.”

Launched at the iconic SkyDeck in the Willis Tower in Chicago in early December 2014, Photosolutions.pro grew out of the founders’ vision to develop a system that would create a short video, fully expressing the excitement and emotions experienced while visiting a memorable location or event — then quickly share that with friends and family via text or through social media channels.

“Photosolutions.pro is sharply focused on bringing hybrid photography and the automated production of eProducts into photo mainstream — as we believe that the electronic, moving, talking photo will one day replace the still printed photo product as the moneymaker for almost all of photography,” Jeff added. “What was once thought of as ‘impossible’ in the photo world, is now working well and creating happy customers for hybrid photographers.”

MMIE 585: Tell, don’t sell

MIME Logo PMAN

MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #585 – January 27, 2015

Now that the flurry of activity surrounding Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and Boxing Day has subsided, it’s a good time to take stock of what went down, and how the store’s marketing efforts panned out. This was driven home to us by the news that in-store 2014 Black Friday sales were down, while online sales were up. It was also highlighted by a flood of emails we received for all manner of sales; some of those emails we even opened.

One such email carried the subject line “Cyber Monday – Our BIGGEST SALE of the year – Up to 90% OFF + BONUS Items.” A follow-up email continued the theme: “[Last Chance] Up to 90% OFF+ Get FREE Bonus Items Valued from $60 to $175.” While each email’s “From” did show the company’s name, the subject line didn’t. Worse still, our email settings had “remote content” in the off position, which meant we didn’t see the graphics. Imagine receiving an email on Dec. 4 which tells you the sale ended Nov. 26; check out the screen capture we’ve included here to see what we mean; this screen capture is of the second email we received from the company on the same subject:

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An “incomplete pass”? More like “intentional grounding” (which the NFL says is “when a passer, facing an imminent loss of yardage due to pressure from the defense, throws a forward pass without a realistic chance of completion”).

The author of this email, under pressure of the season (and likely some boss breathing down his/her neck) gave minimal thought to how it would be received by the potential reader. The sender did not consider how emails are viewed and how consumers decide which of their scads of emails to open and read. The sender likely created this email on a large screen, and it probably was not previewed on various iPhones, Galaxies, etc., etc.

It is understanding how the reader sees the message that causes email to be so effective for a few merchants and so ineffective for most others . . . and that doesn’t even begin to cover the #1 crime, a subject line virtually identical to at least a dozen others in this morning’s emails . . .

We recommend having a quick read of this site for help in writing email subject lines.

The takeaway: “When it comes to subject lines, don’t sell what’s inside. Tell what’s inside.”

So what’s your idea?

We’ve given you hundreds and hundreds of marketing ideas, now it’s your turn.

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

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

• Send your ideas to editor@McCurryAssoc.com.

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

• And if you want to take a look at the more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource: www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas

More to worry about from Washington…

Bill McCurry
Bill McCurry

Bill McCurry

If you’re a U.S. business and made a major repair last year, or are planning one for 2015, our good friend Bill McCurry wants to warn you of some not-so-great news from the IRS. Bill writes:

As companies are trying to understand the economic implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), another curve ball is coming from the IRS. The America Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) tried to tell the IRS that “proposed regulations for capitalization and deduction of tangible property expenditures are unnecessarily complex and burdensome.” The IRS charged ahead with the regulations that gave large firms who had Audited Financial Statements a “safe harbor,” leaving small and medium size businesses to wade through the complex new labyrinth of tax law.

The “guidance regarding deduction and capitalization of expenditures related to tangible property,” as the IRS phrases it, basically spreads out the length of time you can amortize a repair that could extend the life of the asset or have value past one year. That’s a layman’s quick interpretation of an “unnecessarily complex and burdensome” set of regulations that took effect with tax years that started January 1, 2014 or after. For accounting wonks and insomniacs, we refer you to the 58-page bestseller by the IRS, Internal Revenue Bulletin:  2013-43, available at  http://www.irs.gov/irb/2013-43_IRB/ar05.html. If you are not inclined to wade through this formidable text, ask your accountant or professional tax-preparer how the new “repair and maintenance amortize or deduct” rules will impact your business.

On the PMA Podcast: PMA President Gaby Mullinax on the new PMA

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PMApodcast_icon_sqIn January, during the PMA 2015 Conferences, Gabrielle Mullinax of Fullerton Photo became president of PMA – where in the past month, a new CEO has been installed and a new management company has been hired to help create fresh growth and opportunities for PMA and its members.  In this episode of the PMA Podcast, Gaby talks about the recent developments, and all the changes yet to come, in creating the new PMA. Listen or download at www.pmapodcast.org, or use the player below.

MMIE 584: Make a calendar

MIME Logo PMAN

McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #583 – January 20, 2015

MIME Logo PMANA new year, a new calendar. What’s going to grace the office/kitchen this year? Kittens? Paris? Locomotives? Memorable events in racing’s history? The historical West?

Here’s an idea: Why not promote a year-long search for the 12 (or 13) best customer-made photos, to illustrate your store’s 2016 calendar?

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A sampling of picture calendars.

You’ve got two things going here. The first is a year-long promotional opportunity. (Okay, actually less than a year, because the calendar has to be printed before the end of this year.) Which customer’s photo will be chosen? Tout it on Facebook. Tweet it. Stuff it in bags. The second is in-your-customer’s-face advertising for all of 2016.

Our financial advisor has been doing this for years, choosing a calendar format with nice pictures, and his corporate name and contact info on every page. Use the calendar and there’s a constant reminder of him in front of you, every day.

A local real estate agent has just jumped on the bandwagon and delivered to us an absolutely gorgeous calendar, illustrated with to-die-for home interiors. Want to buy or sell? His name’s right in front of you, every day.

You get the idea. If your customer wants camera gear, finishing, framing, classes, who does she turn to? If your calendar’s there in front of her, every day . . .

So what’s your idea?

We’ve given you hundreds and hundreds of marketing ideas, now it’s your turn.

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

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

• Send your ideas to editor@McCurryAssoc.com.

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

• And if you want to take a look at the more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource: www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas

MMIE 583: Make lemonade

McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #583 – January 13, 2015

Tim Jones, Perfect Prints, Hobart, Tasmania

It was at a PMA Conference, during a Marketing Idea Exchange, that I first remember thinking Tim Jones was some kind of a “wacko.” He was way out there . . . not content to do what others did. Tim wrote the book on being unique. My first “idea explosion” from Tim came in the form of “fall ambiance” . . . which deserves an explanation:

Do you remember as a kid walking through fall leaves on the way home from school kicking the leaves and hearing them crunch under your feet? Tim told a PMA conference audience how he gathered up fall leaves from all his neighbors and put them on the floor of his lab. It caused huge traffic to come visit his Hobart, Tasmania lab just to kick the leaves around. It was a great promotion, Tim told the audience, except for the leaf dust which started almost instantly and took a year to totally clean up.

Then Tim came up with the Film Amnesty idea. Within a year that idea spread from Australia to Europe, North America, South America and Africa (that we know about). The McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange tabulated more than 20,000 rolls of film processed by readers using that promotion.

Yes, Tim Jones had a fertile mind and was always willing to share. Tragically, he lost his life while photographing the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Races last month. The small plane in which he was a passenger crashed, killing Tim and his long time pilot friend. The industry and the world lost a great friend.

For those who didn’t know Tim, he was the classic “Make Lemonade” personality. Tim’s store was engulfed in a huge fire not long ago. Tim crafted a simple but creative video to illustrate his real “fire sale,” a video which generated hundreds of views:

Tim was scheduled to give the McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange Editor an interview this week . . . Alas, we won’t ever get from Tim the rest of the story about the success of the fire sale. Tim also hinted at how he was able to work a beneficial deal for both his store and the owners of a billboard with bottom “ticker tape” electronic sign, dirt cheap advertising for his store. Even if you didn’t know him, you may well have benefited from one of his ideas. These and many other brilliant ideas unfortunately crashed into the sea with Tim. Rest in peace, great friend.

Watch a tribute to Tim here:


Got an idea?

The McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange has given you hundreds and hundreds of marketing ideas, now it’s your turn:

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

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

• Send your ideas to editor@McCurryAssoc.com.

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

• And if you want to take a look at more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource: www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas

http://youtu.be/qA8n4Rs-ZtA

PMA President Gabrielle Mullinax receives PMDA Visionary Award

PMDA Dinner Gaby and Joellyn GM
PMDA Dinner Gaby and Joellyn GM

Joellyn Gray of PMDA presents PMA President Gaby Mullinax (right) with the PMDA Visionary Award.

The PhotoImaging Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMDA) honored PMA President Gabrielle Mullinax with its Visionary Award at the 2015 PMDA International Awards Dinner on January 5, held at the XS Nightclub at Encore in Las Vegas, Nev.

One of the highest honors awarded in the imaging industry, the PMDA Visionary Award is bestowed on individuals whose work helps shape the photo business space and blaze a trail for others to follow.

“We are delighted that PMDA has chosen to recognize and honor our newly elected president of PMA with the Visionary Award. Gaby’s leadership has been vital to setting PMA’s path into the future, just as it has been in redefining the entire concept of the photo retail business,” said PMA CEO Georgia McCabe. “Now, as she takes on her most important role yet in leading PMA as President, it’s wonderful for her to be recognized as the true visionary she is. Gaby is so richly deserving of this award.”

“We’re proud to acknowledge Gaby as a true visionary in our industry,” said Jerry Grossman, Executive Director of PMDA. “Her creativity and spirit bring a certain spark that is admired by her peers, and her enthusiasm for innovation is something that we all should emulate. The PMDA is thrilled to recognize her contributions with our 2015 Visionary Award.”

Other PMDA honorees include Person of the Year Go Miyazaki, President and CEO of Fujifilm North America Corp.; Technical Achievement Award, Wataru Otani, Ricoh Co.; Lifetime Achievement, John Clouse, Nikon Inc.; Professional Photographer Award, Joe McNally.

Official Business Sessions: Elections, awards, and looking ahead

Special honors: Outgoing PMA President Bill Eklund (center) presented the Distinguished Service Award Nigel McNaught, Scott Brownstein, and Bob Hanson. Kirk Sidley was honored with the PMA Hall of Fame Award. (Distinguished Service Award recipient Brian Wood was unable to attend.)

Several exciting things took place during the Official Business Sessions held Monday and Tuesday at the PMA 2015 Conferences. Here’s a look at few of the special moments:

Special honors: Outgoing PMA President Bill Eklund (center) presented the Distinguished Service Award Nigel McNaught, Scott Brownstein, and Bob Hanson. Kirk Sidley was honored with the PMA Hall of Fame Award. (Distinguished Service Award recipient Brian Wood was unable to attend.)

Special honors: Outgoing PMA President Bill Eklund (center) presented the Distinguished Service Award to Nigel McNaught, Scott Brownstein, and Bob Hanson. Kirk Sidley was honored with the PMA Hall of Fame Award. (Distinguished Service Award recipient Brian Wood was unable to attend.)

New PMA President Gaby Mullinax receives the gavel from outgoing President Bill Eklund

New PMA President Gaby Mullinax receives the presidential gavel from outgoing President Bill Eklund

PMA President Gaby Mullinax delivers an inspirational speech.

PMA President Gaby Mullinax delivers an inspirational speech.

New PMA CEO Georgia McCabe talks about big changes to enable new growth for the organization.

New PMA CEO Georgia McCabe talks about big changes to enable new growth for the organization.

A group of current and past PMA board members pause for a picture. Left to right: Lisa Otto, Ken Strawbridge, John Segall, Rainer Schorcht, Gaby Mullinax, Don Spring, Kirk Sidley, Mark Klostermeyer, Jerry Sullivan, Allen Showalter, and Bill Eklund.

A group of current and past PMA board members pause for a picture. Left to right: Lisa Otto, Ken Strawbridge, John Segall, Rainer Schorcht, Gaby Mullinax, Don Spring, Kirk Sidley, Mark Klostermeyer, Jerry Sullivan, Allen Showalter, and Bill Eklund.

Communication failure: The real reason for declining camera sales

Heino Hilbig said a lack of communication is what's really behind declining camera sales.

– By guest PMA Newsline reporter Greg Dyro.

Heino Hilbig said a lack of communication is what's really behind declining camera sales.

Heino Hilbig said a lack of communication is what’s really behind declining camera sales. Photo by Greg Dyro.

Early Tuesday morning in a Bally’s Conference room was one of the most important discussions of the PMA 2015 Conferences. Speaker Heino Hilbig asked: Where do we stand today in the photo market? What are the reasons for this situation? Who can change the situation? Hilbig said applying mathematical formulas to extensive market research data, we can get a clear picture as to what is really going on.

We are all feeling helpless about the camera industry, Hilbig said.  Compact camera sales have plunged and DSLR sales plunged right behind them. But looking at these steep declines in sales against known sales models shows us that it’s not the two major things we feared. It’s not market saturation. It’s not smart phones. Therefore, it must be another reason.

The primary reason for these steep declines is “communication.” Look at photos of camera store windows and displays from the 1980s as compared to today. Nothing has changed in those windows. The market underwent an incredible destructive reorganization with digital and smart phones, yet we still are selling and making cameras in styles they way we did in 1980.  Its just one thing: “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.“  An eye opening presentation for sure.