In 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.
McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #583 – January 20, 2015
A 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?
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
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.
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.
As the market evolves, is your company ahead or behind where your customers want you to be? The Atkins family of Adelaide, South Australia has been taking and making pictures since 1936. They did not like the trends of their business. Paul Atkins shares the how and why of their company being “unwrapped and repacked” in response to customers’ shifting demands in the first PMA Podcast of 2015. This McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange is available in audio download, as well as pdf transcript with images and links. Start your new year off right by listening to how one lab totally reinvented themselves — yet stayed the course of their historical roots.
Chuck Wolf is back, and he’s a few months shy of a year into a new retail concept which will either make you wonder what he’s been smoking, or, more likely, wonder why no one else has embraced it so enthusiastically. It’s called Chuck Wolf’s Photo Design Bar, and it’s located in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s unabashedly aimed at getting people to print their digital images, and there’s little equipment on sale. Can it work? Listen in to this week’s episode of the PMA Podcast to find out.
Sixteen percent of those surveyed report they store all their photos in the cloud.
Half the respondents store at least some photos in the cloud… which of course means that half do not store any there.
Researcher Hans Hartman at Suite 48 Analytics is offering a new white paper based on a study for which 1212 North Americans between the ages of 25-44 were surveyed.
“For many smartphone photographers, the cloud is becoming the most important photo storage location,” the report says. “General cloud storage or syncing services are increasingly adding features and interfaces targeting photo enthusiasts because their freemium business model – free starter packages plus tiered pricing based on storage volume – benefits from (typically large) photo and video file sizes. Since photos sell storage subscriptions, many cloud services have begun adding features like timeline, photo discovery based on metadata, visual browsing, and unified photo viewing independent of file or folder structure.”
Hartman adds that many cloud photo services now “leverage various photo metadata through user-friendly interfaces, e.g. by letting users rediscover photos that correspond with today’s date in previous years. Going forward, we expect them to also start leveraging image recognition technologies, which have made tremendous progress in the last two years as deep-learning technologies are developed and marshaled to solve the image recognition needs of deep-pocket advertising and e-commerce vendors.”
In addition, Hartman believes that the number one factor that could drive further adoption of photo cloud storage services is for these services to more transparently address mobile photographers’ most pressing photo storage need: secure backup. “Our respondents were clear: backup is the most important reason why they use these services. Many are confused as to whether their photo cloud services offer secure backup, as well as whether they would provide full recovery of their original photo collections in the event their devices break down or are stolen. Some services need to better deliver the desired backup and restore features, others need to better explain how their features work.”
The Photos and the Cloud white paper is based on a study Suite 48 Analytics conducted for PhotoGurus and addresses the following questions:
• Do mobile photographers store any of their photos in the cloud?
• Why do they store photos in the cloud?
• If they do store photos in the cloud, why not all their photos?
• Which cloud service do they use most?
• Why do some not store any photos in the cloud?
• Are they concerned about not backing up all their photos in the cloud?
The free white paper can be downloaded at http://www.suite48a.com/cloud.
Which photo retailer exhibited leadership, innovation and exemplary customer service in the digital imaging industry? Digital Imaging Reporter named National Camera Exchange as this year’s winner.
The industry trade publication says the 2014 Dealer of the Year “is a true success story, that has… transformed itself to become one of the leading retailers of the industry.” The Golden Valley, Minn., company is celebrating it’s 100th anniversary this year, and has also “stayed true to it’s roots — the legacy of the Liss family continues to impress the photo world, and we’re proud to bestow this honor upon them.”
National Camera Exchange began as a camera store willing to exchange almost anything for a camera, from guns and gems to a St. Bernard dog, Digital Imaging Reporter adds. “But their true genius was in innovation and customer service.” It is now a 5-store chain.
In her three decades in the photo industry, Judi Weber has found that while some things have changed, much remains the same: “People love taking pictures to create memories,” she says. “Of course the methods have changed from film cameras to digital cameras, and now cell phone cameras are most popular. But the main thing I’ve seen change is what is done with those images: Physical photos are not as popular, but I do see people still wanting to do something with their images – sharing on social media, but also creating photo gifts and photo books.”
Judi and her husband Mike co-own Quality Plus Photo Design Center in the Greater Chicago area. Married for 35 years, they started their business more than 30 years ago. “My husband had the photographic interest, working in a camera store at the age of 15 as well as taking photo classes in high school. I owned a 126 camera and probably shot about two rolls per year,” she says. “We decided two years into marriage that we would open a photo lab in 1982. I quickly learned the biz, and to love every aspect of photo printing.”
Quality Photo Plus began bulk scanning 5 years ago, when Kodak introduced bulk photo scanners. The business now owns two Kodak i1220 scanners, as well as a Kodak flatbed for portable scanning jobs. Slide scans were done for 14 years with a DLab 2 Agfa photo printer. In 2013, Quality Photo added a bulk slide scanner – the Slide Snap Pro – in anticipation of increasing and streamlining its slide scanning business. They offer prepaid bulk photo scanning boxes as a method of savings for customers.
The store also transfers VHS, Beta, Pal and all camcorder tapes to DVD, as well as cassette or LP Audio tapes to CD; and transfers 8mm movies to DVD or external hard drives.
The most popular services today are VHS and camcorder tapes transferred to DVD, photos and slides scanned and presented in slideshows, and gallery wrapped canvasses. “We feature hundreds of photo gifts,” she says, “from mouse pads, mugs and metal ornaments to hand-stretched gallery wrapped canvas, and create most items in house with the dye sublimation process.”
• Quality Photo Plus has been a member of PMA for about 30 years. Weber finds particular benefit in online resources provided by PMA, and has also found the annual PMA shows to be a boon. “The shows are great for viewing all the offerings of the many different vendors,” she says. “It’s especially beneficial when searching for new and the latest equipment.”
The store has also been an IPI member for 18 years, and of APPO for four years. Weber became a Certified Personal Photo Organizer through APPO, and the store joined the “Save Your Photos Alliance.”
• A native of the South Suburbs of Chicago, Weber still lives in the area, close to her six brothers and one sister. She and Mike are parents to Michael, 26, and Tracey, 31; Tracey and her husband Bill have presented the Webers with a granddaughter, Sedona, with another grandchild on the way next June.
Weber serves as a Eucharistic Minister on Sundays at her church, where she and Mike sing in the church choir.
In her leisure time, her hobbies are mostly photo related. “I speak at libraries about DIY photo organizing and getting your images back into your life,” she says. “I also display at vendor shows, networking Quality Plus Photo on weekends.”
In the store, Judi enjoys reminiscing with her customers about photo memories. “I also love to make them smile, and make them cry with happiness,” she says.