MMIE 611: See the world with Paul’s Photo

McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #611 – August 7, 2015

McCurryIdea_200x139Typical reason why photo retailers got into the business? Because they liked cameras and taking pictures. Mark Comon of Paul’s Photo has nailed it. Not only does he run a successful photo store, but he also gets to go on these fabulous trips all over the U.S. and the world, leading a small group of picture-takers who have shelled out big bucks for the opportunity. Better yet, he gets to help them improve their photography. Even better, they buy all sorts of stuff from his store in preparation for the trip. And the pièce de résistance, he has opened the bookings to other retailers.

Mark was just back from an Alaska safari with seven students when we caught up with him. He was tickled because half of the students had already started posting pictures to their Facebook pages. “They’re selling next year’s trip.” He was even happier because “everyone bought a new lens for the trip, most bought a new bag, four bought a new tripod, and all bought memory cards and batteries. And all from us.”

This web page for The Creative Photo Academy of Paul’s Photo notes the store has been offering photo adventures for 30 years.

This web page for The Creative Photo Academy of Paul’s Photo notes the store has been offering photo adventures for 30 years.

Those purchases are “the whole reason for doing the trips.” While the enrollment cost to go is high, it’s not enough, says Mark. The whole reason for the trips “is to bring customers into the store and give them a reason to spend money. And it keeps them shooting.”

The store has opened the trips up to other members of PRO. “We encourage other members to link to our trips.” The benefit to them is they don’t have to organize the trips themselves, “and we commission the sales. On top of that, the other retailer gets the revenue from the sale of the accessories the student purchases at their store.

Mark notes each trip has an equipment list, items each participant is recommended to have, “and most of the time we sell what’s on the list to them.”

For participating retailers, it’s a turnkey deal. They don’t have to assemble the expertise or do all the arrangements, and that includes some “pretty stringent requirements,” including permits. Paul’s has it all taken care of.

We have our eye on the trip to Japan that’s coming up in February. Or maybe Tanzania in March. Oh, the choices!

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: Changes in the interchangeable lens camera market

infotrends study

The distinction between SLRs and competing compact interchangeable lens cameras is disappearing, reports research firm InfoTrends, “given recent camera introductions and their positioning in the market.”

“2014 represented a year of change in the digital camera market, with significant decreases in unit shipments and sales across multiple global regions,” the company says. “Nevertheless, InfoTrends expects the ILC market to remain profitable for innovative imaging companies that continue to introduce new products and respond to consumers’ needs.”

Ed Lee, Infotrends

For more on this report, we interview InfoTrends Group Director Ed Lee. “Opportunities still exist in this market,” he says. “Smartphone owners are now the breeding ground for first-time DILC camera owners. There is a segment of smartphone owners who are graduating from casual photographers to photography enthusiasts and are beginning to seek out education opportunities to learn more about the art of photography.”

You can download the audio episode or subscribe to the podcast here.

Or you can tune in now with the player below.

MMIE 607: Give it away

MIME Logo PMANMcCurry Marketing Idea Exchange #607 – July 7, 2015

Gabe Cano, Color Services, Santa Barbara, Calif.

The headline probably made you ask: “What the heck have those McCurry guys been smokin’?” Rest easy, we’re not suggesting you give away the store. No, but how about your Instagram account? Check out what Gabe Cano has to say about Color Services’ idea:

For one week at a time we invite a photographer to take over our Instagram account. We’re calling this the Photograph Your Love Instagram Takeover. Basically we give them the login information for our account and they post on our behalf for the entire week. Each takeover starts on Monday morning and ends on Sunday night. We want to spotlight and feature a series of photographers who we’re inspired by and we feel embrace the meaning behind our tagline, ‘Photograph Your Love.’ Because we’re a company that processes and prints photographs, we believe it’s our job to encourage our community to create and share meaningful photos. mmie 607 (2)

Although my business partner Glen Hodges and the rest of our staff may highlight individuals they think I should consider, I’m the only person deciding. The criteria? 1. Are they a customer? 2. Are they creating work I think our community would be interested in? 3. Photographically speaking, do they have a voice and are they passionate about taking pictures? 4. Could they inspire our customer base to take their picture taking to a higher level? 5. Does their work serve as an example of what it means to ‘Photograph Your Love’?

The photographer gets exposed to the rest of our followers, but more than that, the way we’ve crafted this, its validation for them. We get an opportunity to connect with our customers in a very cool way. Asking them to become a participant has really transformed our relationship with many of our clients. Also it helps with the constant need for content. They’re providing it and we get to sit back for the week and enjoy it along with everyone else. It’s truly been a wonderful community building project.

In addition to that we make it a point to create a blog post for each takeover participant once their week is over. Usually it’s a quick recap of their takeover week. We’ll then share that blog post on the various social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+. Again more exposure for all.

We all know by now that every company has to be it’s own media company as well, and this helps create a steady stream of content that’s needed for that. We are far away from reaching that goal of being our own media company however we feel this helps our the entire marketing ecosystem. Of course we follow up with a nice thank you card which includes a gift certificate for Color Services.

Have we gotten any new customers from this? Yes. We’ve had a few new faces show up in our lobby and may have found us because of our Instagram takeover. Online it’s so important to establish some credibility as a legit company. What each participant is actually doing is giving us that credibility and needless to say, in a way they’re endorsing us.

I think we started this in the late part of January. So it’s been about six months now. It was actually one of employees that came up with the idea. I thought it was a great idea, so we ran with it.

We started off with 186 followers and now we’re at about 560. We’ve seen some other business accounts grow at much quicker pace than ours but for us, this seemed like the right approach for us. We don’t see this project as any sort of growth hack. It feels honest to us and what we represent as a company.

[Editor’s note: Gabe and Glen are always breaking new ground building community. Unless you know your customers like they do, if you try something like this your best bet is to have log-ins which are random number/letter combinations that no one could guess, and you may want to change your log-in ID/password each time you pass it from one customer to the next. Never know when someone with your log-in information might decide to do something beyond what you expected.]

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

Photoflex bought by Promark

photoflex

Lighting manufacturer Photoflex reports it’s been acquired by Promark International.

Photoflex had all-but gone out of business earlier this year. (See previous coverage here.)

“Together, Promark and Photoflex will focus on delivering high quality, industry-defining lighting solutions for photographers of all skill levels,” the two companies announced.

Photoflex says “business will go on as usual” now, as it develops photographic lighting tools.

 

Printicular prints instantly in German retail

printicular

Mobile photo printing service Printicular launched in Germany, saying customers can now send photos from phones to kiosks in 1,600 stores.

The company says it’s working as part of the Kodak Photo Service program to broaden its distribution.

Printicular adds that it’s already printed more than six million photos in the United States at thousands of retail locations.

Here’s more information.