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:
— By guest PMA Newsline reporter 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.
In a history-making vote, PMA – The Worldwide Community of Imaging Associations, elected Gabrielle Mullinax, owner of Fullerton Photographics in Fullerton, California, as president for 2015-2016, marking the first time in its 91-year history that PMA has elected a female president.
Fifteen years ago, as an entrepreneurial photographer and young mother, Mullinax bought a minilab and joined the ranks of the photo industry. At the cusp of the digital age, this was a analog film processing lab without so much as a computer onsite. With a deep, inherent understanding of her target market – women like herself – Mullinax devised creative, unique promotional campaigns and new product innovations that proceeded to turn Fullerton Photographics into one of the most successful specialty photo stores in the United States. Not only did Gaby spur remarkable growth in her business, but she also transformed the landscape of the retail photo world overall. As a leader at PMA and a speaker for imaging industry organizations such as IPI, PRO and FotoSource, Mullinax generously shares her ideas with others, many of whom have adopted them and achieved similar success.
“As the new President of PMA, Gaby is bringing not only her knowledge and experience of this industry, but also her endless imagination, her undaunted spirit and her absolute refusal to fail,” said John Segall, of Lifetouch, Inc. “Her passion for this industry and its success is unparalleled, and her leadership is exactly what the industry needs.”
Outgoing President Bill Eklund of Sharp Photo in Eau Claire, Wis., said, “Gaby is taking over leadership of PMA at the perfect moment, as we are committing to revitalizing PMA just like she revitalized her business. She is the right person at the right time. I can’t think of a more qualified leader for the job.”
In her acceptance speech, Mullinax noted, “We are taking a fresh look at the possibilities. We are envisioning what PMA would be if it was a brand new organization, coming into existence now for the first time. We are using that picture to restructure, to build something new that serves the current and evolving needs of our members today, and of our future members.
“This is your PMA, and we invite you to join with us in reinventing it. As a unified industry, we will be a powerful force for change, growth and development,” she continued. “Together, we can help consumers realize and embrace the fact that pictures matter. We can do this, because we believe in photos. We believe in this industry. We believe in PMA.”
On a related note, in December, the Board of Directors of PMA appointed longtime industry veteran Georgia McCabe as CEO and Executive Director – the first time a woman has ever held this role. Read more here.
The Professional School Photographers Association (PSPA), elected a new Board of Directors for 2015-2016 at a member meeting held Monday at the PSPA/SPAA 2015 Conference, part of the PMA 2015 Conferences, at Bally’s in Las Vegas, Nev.
Brian Fox of Foxmar Photography is the President of PSPA for the 2015-2016 term. Courtney Lutz of Visual Image Photography is President Elect. First Vice-President is Kevin Jardina of Lifetouch National School Studios, and Second Vice-President is Jake Mark of Dorian Studios. Treasurer is Joy L. Cahill, Cahill Studios of Photography.
The Directors are Ed Sanders, Inter-State Studio and Publishing Co., and Bill Freeman, Freeman Photography. Georgia McCabe, CEO and Executive Director of PMA, is Secretary. James W. Pool is the group’s Technical Advisor.
In Monday’s Official Business Session, held as part of the PMA 2015 Conferences, outgoing PMA President Bill Eklund spoke on the recent “bold moves” made by the PMA Board of Directors. He said:
I woke up last year, the morning of my acceptance speech as I was to be nominated President of the Photo Marketing Association International. I thought, Wow, what the heck have I done? Why did I step up to this awesome position at this difficult time in the photo imaging industry? What’s the future? A train of emotions hit me in the face.
The questions that struck me that day, 364 days ago, were, “Why am I a PMA member?” “Why is anyone a PMA member these days?” and “Ultimately, what makes PMA relevant to its members?”
Relevancy. Over the next few months, I asked and listened. Early on, I set up a Relevancy Committee on the Executive Board to study what relevancy PMA has to its members. The committee had difficulty coming up with answers, other than the convention, the great networking that happens here, and the trade show. But is this enough reason to be a PMA member? My struggle went on.
In the mean time, PMA struggled too. We cut costs. We downsized the staff several times. And it became difficult to run the old organization’s infrastructure with the smaller staff and deliver the services we once did. Your volunteer PMA Executive Board had run out of ideas, and we were lost in the wilderness of cost management. In a recent accounting review, PMA’s accountant issued a concern about PMA’s financial situation. On top of all that, we lost our vision — and our overworked staff had no time to work on it either.
Many of us in the room have experienced a similar situation in the last several years. You are probably sitting here today because you changed your business model. You probably attended PMA last year and I’d bet you picked up an idea or two that helped you hang in there. Some of us are hanging on. But some of us are flourishing! Some of us have seen opportunities and have had the wherewithal to fight back and change and grow again. It’s time that PMA made some changes to its business model, too.
Still seeking answers on PMA’s viability, I was introduced to Georgia McCabe. Georgia has quite a resume in the digital photo industry. She has worked with IBM, Kodak, and served as FujiFilm’s first female Sr. Vice President and General Manager. Recently Georgia has been the digital imaging industry’s go-to social media marketing expert. She showed interest in helping PMA — and your PMA Board seized the opportunity to get her input.
Last October, just over two months ago, Georgia agreed to dig into PMA. She signed an NDA and we opened up our financials, our membership list, our struggles and our soul, so she could dissect them and help us find relevancy. Through this process, Georgia uncovered problems — but most importantly, she spotted opportunities. Not just opportunities,but ideas, paradigm shifts, and new markets that were not on my radar at all. In fact, she was so excited and eager to attack these opportunities that I was blown away.
Today, I am “stoked” about the future possibilities of PMA. By the end of her research, I knew we had to have Georgia on our PMA team. Your PMA Board quickly decided to make several bold moves and revitalize your PMA with new leadership and new ideas, led by Georgia McCabe. And should you decide to elect Gaby Mullinax as PMA’s next President at tomorrow’s election, we can deliver a one-two punch that should get the attention of the world of photography and imaging. Many of us in this room are second-, third- or even fourth-generation PMA members. But this is not your grandfather’s PMA anymore.
Bold move number one: Georgia McCabe was hired as PMA’s new CEO and Executive Director just few days ago. She has jumped into the fire and is busy changing things up. I think you’ll see some changes here during this conference. And I can’t wait to see your faces a year from now.
Bold move number two: PMA has hired Coulter, an association management company. Utilizing a highly skilled management team will help PMA deliver more services to the members, while cutting redundant costs. With Coulter’s manpower, we will have the depth of staff PMA once had, at a fraction of the cost. You’ll see a re-energized look, a new, useable website and member benefits only a large organization can supply. In addition, the management tools available to the Board to help manage the organization will be second to none. A management company also frees up our Executive Director to manage our vision, and not day to day operations.
Bold move number three: PMA needs to change our By-Laws. We need to be more inclusive and allow members from other sectors of the photo industry on our Boards. With input and leadership from experienced and connected Board members, we can see each other’s needs. A more diverse Board will have more have a say in governing their association. This is a motion we will be voting on tomorrow morning.
Bold move number four: The election of PMA’s first woman president, Gaby Mullinax, if you vote for her tomorrow morning. Personally, I don’t look at the sex of the leader. I look at the capability, the vision and the drive. At this point in time, I can’t think of a better candidate to lead the imaging industry into the next 90 years.
The easy thing to do would have been to maintain the status quo, downsize the staff again, reduce our services even more and eventually fade away. However, your PMA Board is making these bold moves to give this organization its best chance to not only survive, but flourish. And thank God, Georgia is willing to take a chance, with a fresh outlook on things, and revitalize PMA for the future.
Elected to his second term as President is Glenn Paul of dotPhoto. President Elect is Reiner Fageth of CeWe Color. Doug Rowan of Imaging Solutions is First Vice President, and Andrew Laffoon of Mixbook is Second Vice President.Treasurer is Fred Lerner of MailPix. Past President Director at Large is Rob Tolmie of R&C Consulting. The Directors are Mark Treadwell, C.R.I.S. Camera Services, Marco Perlman of Digipix and Randall Rothenberg of IAB.
At the PSPA/SPAA Welcome Reception held at the start of the PMA 2015 Conferences on Saturday evening, PSPA recognized two individuals who were honored for their contributions to the industry.
Paul Schulz of PhotoLynx presented the Lynx Award to Aric Snyder Sr. of Inter-State Studio and Publishing Co., who was unable to attend the event. The award was accepted on his behalf by his son, Aric Snyder Jr.
Mark Schoenrock of Lifetouch then recognized past PSPA President Bill Freeman of Freeman Photography, who was honored earlier this year with the 2014 IPC Professional Photographer Leadership Award from the International Photographic Council (IPC).
PMA Newsline is welcoming several guest reporters this week, who are helping the Newsline team cover events taking place at the PMA 2015 Conferences. Thanks to guest reporter Greg Dyro for this item on the AIE Future Imaging Summit Cameras & Capture session held yesterday morning.
In a Bally’s conference room full of PMA Conferences attendees, a diverse panel of camera equipment manufacturers spoke about the various aspects of image capture and new technology. The discussion started off with the observation that we are “The Connected Generation.”
Each of the speakers agreed that as cameras and technology moved forward a seamless connection to all devices would be required. There was some discussion that the industry is really already mobile, but disagreement on the best way to market (non-mobile phone) cameras. Some on the panel opted for ways to differentiate their products from mobile phone cameras, such as traditional dials and controls in a classic nod to analog cameras; others are investigating more modern, computer style interfaces with the devices they are building. Everyone agreed that the number of images being captured today is larger then anytime in history. One of the speakers dared to express the thought we all have: that cell phones really are cameras. That is how the public perceives them, and we must embrace this concept and work to maximize the amazing number of images being captured in today’s world, with features like quality optics, traditional controls, touch screens, copper metal sensors, EVF displays, fast lenses, 4K video. The industry has the ability to improve and provide incredible devices for this new Mobile Lifestyle.
The PSPA/SPAA 2015 Conferences began this morning with a keynote address by motivational speaker Charles Marshall on the subject of creating success with extraordinary customer service.
Marshall defined “success” as fulfilling your potential, and said your customer service ethic isn’t something you do, but something that “bleeds into who you are.”
He shared a story of someone who mentored him early in his career in the area of customer service. In his early 20s, Marshall worked in the men’s clothing area of a department store. Another salesman there, James O’Neal, had a remarkable gift for customer service that became a model for Marshall all throughout his life.
“James was the best salesman in the entire store. When you went in the store, James would meet you at the door, welcome you and ask, How can I help? We were on commission, but you never felt like he was trying to sell you anything. He would walk you to the men’s department, asking you questions and learning about you. By the time you got there, he had some suggestions for you. He was sensitive to what you wanted.”
Marshall added, “Everybody went to James. People would ask for him by name, and wait for him if he was not available, because their friends had told them, If you want to be taken care of, you go to James. Customer service was just who he was.”
James exemplified what Marshall has developed into an acrostic of the word “SERVE:”
- Surprise you customer with excellence — give them the “wow” experience.
- Evaluate their needs.
- Respond to their needs.
- Validate their experience, so they feel they have made the right decision in spending their money with you
- Express your thankfulness.
Marshall noted that when a customer walks though your door with a problem, you have a golden opportunity. “You have their whole attention and the opportunity for a dialog. They are listening and watching you and waiting for you to mess up,” Marshall said. “Instead, your response is, What can we do to make this right? That’s when true customer service happens. You have a mistake to fix; how do you respond? This is your chance to validate that customer’s choice of doing business with you.”
He added that “the shortest path to poverty is arguing with customers,” and advised against using “push” words, such as the word “no.” “Push stands for provoking unnecessary senseless hostility. Instead, offer options that don’t involve the word no. Remember, the customer is not always right; but they are always the boss.”
Marshall concluded, “Your job is not to create satisfied customers: it is to create customer advocates who will go out and promote you. Be the James O’Neal in your community. This is easy to do, because your competitors are satisfied with mediocrity – but you are not. People are not used to extraordinary customer service. This is why you can have an impact like never before.”
Sponsored by Mylio, and presented by the Association of Imaging Executives, the Visionary Awards Reception is Thursday, January 8, from 5–6 pm at the Las Vegas Convention Center, rooms S106-S107.
The reception promises to provide you with thought-provoking presentations, important industry recognition — and great networking opportunities to meet new friends and colleagues.
The evening’s agenda features:
• Photographer Joe McNally discussing the importance of preserving our pictures.
• HP Senior Architect Bob Taylor showing the latest in imaging interactivity.
The AIE will then present its Visionary Awards. The nominees are:
Cameras & Capture: Panasonic, Ricoh, DJI, and Instagram.
Sharing & Social Imaging: Snapchat, Facebook, Apple, and Google.
Software & Apps: Mylio, Athentech, Magisto, and Adobe.
Printing & Output: HP Indigo, Mixbook, MediaClip, and Artec Group,
Future Imaging Visionaries: Google, HP, Jaunt, Oculus Rift, Orbeus, and Samsung.
The Visionary Awards reception will be an excellent event for meeting industry leaders — and discovering new directions in imaging.
Attendance is free — but it’s limited to 150 imaging executives! So RSVP today.
The Association of Imaging Executives is a PMA member group that helps imaging executives and industry leaders make strategic connections to advance the profitable use of new imaging technologies.