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.

MMIE 589: Add some humor

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MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #589 – February 24, 2015

Dale Farkas, Dale Laboratories, Hollywood, Fla.MMIE_589_humor_feb_24_2015

Playing the humor card can be tricky – and dangerous – ‘cause one person’s funny can be another’s offensive.

Dale Farkas found the sweet spot with an email promotion to his existing customer base, almost evenly divided between pro photographers and advanced amateurs.

He offers these suggestions about using humor in your marketing:

1) Be sure references to religion are always in the most positive light.

2) Stay away from politics. It doesn’t mix well with marketing. Even a really good image of the President will get some people’s hackles up.

3) Keep sexual references mild and relevant.

His email “newsletter” is a regular thing, designed to keep his lab top of mind and offering content and/or tips.

As he says, “these newsletters give me a bully platform and I honestly enjoy the positive feedback I receive by hawking benefit rather than just discount sales.”

Dale says he tries to project in the email newsletter who he and his staff are. “Our commonality is that we are people who love photography and who will do whatever is necessary to make photographers’ pictures and buying experience better.” This newsletter is written in that tone.

The idea of the email focusing on humor “was to project to readers around the country the enjoyable experience that hundreds of our local fans get when they are in our lab’s store.”

You can see from the image here that Dale offers some tips to getting humorous images, but the last paragraph is the clincher: “What does humor have to do with a photo lab? My technical team and I personally correct each of your images. We get a kick out of good photography and, quite honestly, we enjoy our jobs. You’ll find that our joy and love of photography will show on your prints. On this point, I’m not kidding.”

Dale expanded on that thought when we talked with him: “We believe photography should be fun. Humor is at the center of how people enjoy life. So mixing humor and photography was a no brainer (read low risk). Letting people know that we will do our best to make their experience enjoyable was the natural and logical marketing link.”

Dale finds that, with a mid-week publishing time for the newsletter, he’ll see the sales benefits in about 10 days, i.e. by about the following weekend, but the long-term benefit is cumulative.

And that’s no joke.

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 more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource: www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas

 

MMIE 588: Leverage your contacts

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MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #588 – February 17, 2015

Michelle Dean, Midwest Photo Exchange, Columbus, Ohio

Moishe Appelbaum and his crew at Midwest Photo Exchange saw an advertising opportunity when a couple of Columbus, Ohio, TV stations decided to launch a new program, Good Day Marketplace, one that was in direct competition with an existing marketing program produced by a different station. The existing program was seen by viewers as nothing much more than advertorial; companies paid to get their products talked about on the program. mmie 588 A

Midwest, and its marketing manager Michelle Dean, figured the retailer should be able to (and did) swing a price break on the new program, leveraging the fact the store has been a regular advertiser on the two stations.

The key for Midwest was the new program was not hard sell and would let the store personnel “star” and let their personalities come across. The program would be more fun, educational, allowing more of the store’s character to come through.

The first of four segments appeared on the Monday before Black Friday and promoted a couple of different kinds of cameras, and a camera drone.

mmie 588 BStaff back at the store live-streamed the program on their PCs and were absolutely blown away by the instant response, 20 calls within minutes.

There’s no doubt the timing was good. Three more segments ran, one on Dec. 4, one on Dec. 11, and one on Dec. 24.

While there is a cost to be on the program, there are no production costs for the store; all Midwest has to do is supply the products and a staffer or two to talk about them. In one case, the program was shot in the store, in the store’s classroom. Dean says that program created a “slow burn” for classes; everyone waited until after Christmas and then a trickle turned into a rush as they began to sign up for the store’s classes.

“We’re certainly going to be looking at doing more of this content marketing. We can show viewers what they can do [with the products], not just hammer on pricing.”

Editor’s question – how many consumers notice the misspelling in the text on the bottom of the screen? Even the big TV stations don’t use spell check . . . did it detract from the ad’s effectiveness? Unlikely – but it might be a topic to discuss to get a lower rate next flight . . .

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 more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource: www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas

Catch PMA 2015 Conferences speaker Heino Hilbig’s session on Youtube

Heino Hilbig

Heino HilbigHeino Hilbig of Mayflower Concepts presented a very compelling look at the real reasons behind declining camera sales — and how the industry should respond — at the PMA 2015 Conferences in January. If you missed it, you can join thousands of others and watch it on Youtube. Also, be sure to listen to an interview with Heino about selling cameras on the PMA Podcast.

MMIE 587: Say thanks

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MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #587 – February 10, 2015

Paul Boniface, Scone Digital Imaging, Scone, New South Wales, Australia

Here’s a simple little idea that has worked really well for Paul Boniface of Scone Digital Imaging. He hands out “thank you” vouchers to customers.

Here’s an example of a “thank you” voucher Scone Digital gives to its customers.

Here’s an example of a “thank you” voucher Scone Digital gives to its customers.

The vouchers are “given to customers as a thank you after the sale to spend when back in the store. The return visits have been fantastic.”

For example, “one customer phoned and told us a frame she had purchased had a small scratch on it. We asked her to return it, swapped the frame, gave her a $10 thank you voucher. She came back and ordered a $160 canvas.”

The vouchers are pre-printed in $5, $10, $20, and $50 values. “We determine the value given as a percentage of the sale.”

Paul notes the value of the voucher given also depends on what the customer has purchased. Items with higher markup will get a higher value voucher, he notes.

He’s done store dollars before, but “these thank you vouchers have been more successful than the store dollars, often being redeemed within a week.”

This is a classic example of perception over reality. Paul noted the “thank you” voucher made the customer think of it differently from just another $$ off coupon. This has personal significance to the customer and likely caused it’s immediate usage. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

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 more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource: www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas

On the PMA Podcast: Meet Georgia McCabe, new CEO of PMA

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favoriteIn December, the PMA Board of Directors hired long-time industry leader Georgia McCabe as the organization’s new CEO and Executive Director. In this episode of the PMA Podcast, Georgia tells the story of her extensive career in the imaging world, the unique marketing resources she can offer to members, and how she and new PMA President Gaby Mullinax will revitalize PMA by bringing long-time industry members together with new players in the imaging space — to the benefit of all.

MMIE 586: Try newspaper advertising, part 2

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MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #586 – Feb 3, 2015

Chris Lydle, Chris’ Camera Center, Aiken, S.C.

Boy did that work! Back in November, we told you about a newspaper ad MMIE Editor Emeritus Chris Lydle created.

Chris has now tallied up the results of the promo, and it delivered. Big time.

While he did put a coupon in a Facebook posting, the biggest response he got was from a newspaper ad (pictured here), and that included one $1,600 order. mmie 586

Overall, the results were “just about 15 times” bigger than his previous year’s revenue from a similar promo.

“So I’d have to say it’s the single most effective promo I’ve ever run, and people are still showing up even though the coupon expired a month ago,” he says.

That’s a newspaper/social media one-two. Note Chris asked his customers where they’d seen the ad, so he wouldn’t be making assumptions about what worked and what didn’t.

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 more than 1,000 marketing ideas, the archived editions of the McCurry Marketing Ideas Exchange are your resource: www.TinyURL.com/McCurryIdeas

On the PMA Podcast: David Parkinson of Wilkinson Camera on the future of retail

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MIME Logo PMAN“I still believe there’s going to be a future in retail. Retail will change, and we have to change with that,” says David Parkinson, Managing Director of Wilkinson Camera. David manages ten locations in northwest England, and garnered international attention when he opened his first store in a major metropolitan city, Liverpool. He took over a four-story facility that had been occupied by Jessop’s before their bankruptcy. It won’t be business as usual in the location, as David and his team remerchandise the retail area and add a “whole new business model through the Learning Suite.” In this episode of the PMA Podcast, David tells Bill McCurry about the history of his business and how it has grown and succeeded through many changes. Listen in and access the written transcript with pictures at www.PMAPodcast.org, or listen using the player below.

MAC Group purchases HP Marketing, adds new product lines

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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

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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

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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