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.

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:

mmie 585 cr

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.

A selfie stick for your, er, backside

belfiestick-750x553-680x501

belfiestick-750x553-680x501

Okay, it’s for your butt.

Yeah, kids today… For some reason, they’re obsessed not only with “selfies” but with their rear ends (and those of others, judging by how a Kardashian photo recently “broke the Internet.”)

So, selfie sticks with which you hold a camera a yard away while aiming it at yourself are big. What’s the logical evolution of that trend? Right, not this thing — but here it is.

The Belfie is specifically designed to take “rearview” shots. Business Insider reports developer On.com polled more than 10,000 selfie fans, and found many wanted to “highlight their assets from behind, but had difficulty maneuvering this type of shot with a traditional selfie stick.”

If for some reason you actually want one, they’re $80 (!) here. (But seriously, this could be high-margin impulse buy for camera stores to stock.)

Skydio’s smarter quadcopters see where they are going — funded $3 million

skydio

skydio

Start-up Skydio is making flying cameras that are almost impossible to crash — and the proof of concept has won them $3 million seed funding.

“Drones are poised to have a transformative impact on how we see our world,” the new firm says. “They’ll enable us to film the best moments of our lives with professional quality cinematography — and they’ll also change the way businesses think about monitoring their operations and infrastructure. This grand vision is starting to come into focus, but existing products are blind to the world around them. As a consequence, drones must fly high above the nearest structures or receive the constant attention of an expert operator. “Flyaways” and crashes abound. These problems must be solved for the industry to move forward.”

Skydio says it will offer “safe and intuitive” drones “for a much broader audience and a much broader set of applications.” Their flying camera will be “aware of its surroundings” and so be “far easier to control, safer to operate, and more capable.”

How will it work? By using it’s camera not just to record images, but to ‘see’ where it’s at. “Almost all the information a drone needs to be good at its job can be found in onboard video data; the challenge is extracting that information and making it useful for the task at hand. That challenge, and the incredible capabilities that are unlocked, are our focus.”

Here’s a cool video demonstration.

And TechCrunch has more on the company here.

 

Swarm of “incredibly cheap” camera drones

apex flyfrog

apex flyfrog

“A swarm of incredibly cheap camera drones is buzzing your way,” reports Quartz from the Hong Kong Toy and Games Fair. “2015 will be the year of the super-cheap camera-equipped drone, capable of traveling up to several hundred meters and priced so low that consumers could potentially buy them for $100 or less.”

The report notes the Flyfrog quadcopter will be sold by manufacturer Apex Toys in Shenzhen to distributors for just $27 — and it can fly up to 50 meters, controlled by a phone, and take 10 minutes of video.

“This flood of inexpensive, camera-carrying drones is sure to be welcomed by tech enthusiasts who don’t want to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a professional-grade aerial photography kit,” the report concludes.

The full story is here.

 

CNN gets FAA approval for UAV Research

mit drone light

mit drone lightThe Federal Aviation Administration is increasingly regulating the use of camera-equipped quadcopters — but news agency CNN reports it “has entered into a cooperative research and development agreement with the FAA to advance efforts to integrate unmanned aerial vehicles into newsgathering and reporting.”

The FAA will use data collected from this initiative to formulate a framework for various types of UAVs to be safely integrated into newsgathering operations, CNN adds.

“Our aim is to get beyond hobby-grade equipment and to establish what options are available and workable to produce high quality video journalism using various types of UAVs and camera setups,” CNN says. “Our hope is that these efforts contribute to the development of a vibrant ecosystem where operators of various types and sizes can safely operate in the US airspace.”

 

User-made video up 360 percent on Facebook

facebook logo

facebook logoPeople are posting 75% more videos to Facebook than they did a year ago, Advertising Age reports, and the number of videos in their feeds has grown 360 percent.

“In the past year Facebook has become widely considered YouTube’s biggest potential rival,” the report notes. “Not only are people watching a lot of video on Facebook, but they are uploading a lot of video.”

In the US, Facebook adds, people are posting 94 percent more videos to the social network.

“It seems that as Facebook transformed itself into a mobile-first company over the past few years, it is now being converted into a video-first property,” Ad Age concludes. It quotes FB CEO Mark Zuckerberg as saying that just as photos usurped text as the dominant content type shared on Facebook, in the future “a lot of the content that people share will be video.”

The full story is here.

 

PMA announces new CEO Georgia McCabe

PMA CEO and ED Georgia McCabe
PMA CEO and ED Georgia McCabe

PMA CEO and ED Georgia McCabe

The Board of Directors of PMA announces longtime industry veteran Georgia McCabe has been appointed Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director. Georgia is a well-known visionary and industry leader who will be bringing in a new and exciting era for PMA and its members.

“There has never been a more thrilling time in imaging, yet the industry faces a lot of challenges. There is such a need for a guiding force to pull it together and lead the charge into a future filled with opportunity, and that’s what we’re going to do. Welcome to a new PMA,” said McCabe.

PMA has been serving those in the imaging industry for close to a century – but over the past 20 years, the photo business has evolved into a very different field. “The imaging industry is a whole new world from what it once was, and PMA is transforming along with it. Our purpose as an organization is to provide for our members in new ways, creating new value and new avenues to success. To do that, we are rebuilding PMA from the ground up.” McCabe said. “We are dedicated to communication – actively seeking the input of our current members, and our future members, so we can create the new PMA together. We invite the people who comprise this amazing industry to join with us as we build a bright, thrilling future for us all.”

“Georgia brings a wide-ranging, unique background and skill set to PMA, including business, technology and marketing, along with a remarkable depth of knowledge of the industry and how to connect with today’s consumers. She is also something of a legend in the imaging field,” said PMA President Bill Eklund of Sharp Photo in Eau Claire, Wis. “Her creative vision and innovative thinking led to an array of exceptional achievements in her previous positions at IBM, Kodak and Fujifilm; as well as in her own business, as an entrepreneur. We are happy to welcome Georgia to the helm of PMA, and so very excited to work with her as we develop a vibrant and strong organization that will bring the industry together and meet the needs of our members today and tomorrow.”

“I am thrilled to see Georgia McCabe appointed as the new CEO of Photo Marketing Association,” said Manny Almeida, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Electronic Imaging Division, Fujifilm North America Corp. “Georgia brings a deep understanding of our industry and most importantly the passion to bring the necessary innovation and collaboration to the Association, the supplier community and the dealers. Congratulations, Georgia, I am looking forward to supporting your efforts.”

Tom Curley, Business Development Manager, Panasonic North America, stated, ”In this amazing age of digital transformation that is affecting all aspects of our lives, Georgia McCabe has the leadership skills and industry experience to guide the Photo Marketing Association into the future, and make imaging relevant once again.”

Rick Smolan, #1 New York Times best selling author, photojournalist and co-creator of the acclaimed “Day in the Life,” America 24/7 and Human Face of Big Data projects said, “There is only one Georgia McCabe. An early pioneer in the digital photography world, Georgia helped shape the industry as it transitioned (much more quickly than the pundits excited) from analog to digital. Georgia’s passion for photography (and photographers!) has won her the respect and admiration of the industry’s leaders and PMA is fortunate to have her as the new President.”

In Memoriam: Tim Jones

tim jones

tim jonesSad news has been confirmed: photographer and retailer Tim Jones died Monday while pursuing his passion of aerial photography.

Covering the Sydney-to-Hobart Yacht Race, Jones was shooting from a Cessna 172 plane that crashed into Storm Bay, Hobart, in Tasmania. The 61-year-old photographer was the sole passenger of pilot Sam Langford, 29. No trace has been found of the two men, reports today indicate. An oil slick has been found in the area, and debris from the plane has been picked up. There was no distress call from the plane before it crashed. “It was flying at around mast level and plunged nose-first into the water,” one witness reportedly said.

Jones was “one of Australia’s most-respected yacht photographers,” according to the Mercury.au news report. “He was a well-known figure in Tasmanian photography circles as owner-operator of Perfect Prints Hobart for 32 years.”

Colleague Wolfgang Glowacki says Jones was “a fantastic guy — very, very friendly, a good business partner, and very well known in the Hobart photography industry.” Photographer John Swainston knew Jones for 25 years and says “He was generous to a T, thoughtful. He was just a thoroughly good bloke. He had become very adept as an aerial photographer.”

Jones was the father of two sons and a daughter.
Our thoughts also go out to the family of pilot Sam Langford.