Monthly Archives: May 2011

How wide of a market do you need to reach?

Hey All, take a look at the Being out there post and the comment to that post.  Here is an interesting comment from

Andrew’s comment about saturating a market so that “every time someone turns around” they see your name goes back to what I commented the other day: that brand name building to the extent of trying to reach everyone in a market requires a huge expenditure. Goodyear and Coke know that. They still spend millions annually purely on brand name recognition, all the same. Sure, small businesses such as our photo studios aren’t looking to speak to that large a population but yet to effectively be seen that much, that often, by that many in our own marketplace still requires spending vast amounts on various channels to reach the majority. Most of whom will never do business with you.

Shane MacMurray over at the Wedding Report says you have to know your total market even if you only book 25 people. I think he’s mistaken. I think you only need to pretty much know about those 25 people (and others who are similar to those 25) and know what message they need to be hearing.

G.E. Masana

It is a tricky issue to navigate.  On the one hand I tend to agree that, for a small studio anyway, it is very difficult to saturate the market to that extent, so it almost seems foolish to try.  Having said that, I sometimes wonder if we can only focus on those 25 (so to speak).  If you want to leverage the impressiveness of hiring you, for example, then people other than your clients need to know about you in order for that value to be a benefit to your clients.  Luxury companies can’t just market their message to the people who are buying their products, but they are also communicating their message to the rest of the market so that they understand the significance of owning that product.

So, in a way, depending on the value of the brand you are creating you might need to market further than your clients.  Then again, you might build a brand where you are completely hidden to the market and only people who are “in the know” can find you or want your work.  So it depends quite a bit on the value you’re staking your claim on.

- trr

Thanks, and what to give vendors

I wanted to thank everyone who stopped by and checked out the interview with Michael from MUSEA.  It was a good time and I have received an enormous amount of positive feedback.  I’m glad you guys seemed to like it, because I’m planning a ton more audio/video content going forward.  Also, doing interviews and connecting with other sites is great for growing this site, so if you know of any people that you’d like to see interviewed here (or places that might be apt to interview little old me) please feel free to drop me a line.

I wanted to address a comment from our “getting your name out there” threads from last week.

So I have a question for you in reference to giving out images to other vendors. The wedding I photographed this past weekend had amazing vendors working for this couple and they are all on the same playing field as the other vendors at that wedding. My questions comes in to play that while at the wedding taking imgaes, I had all the other vendors ask for images of their services which I gladly responded that I would offer to them. Now my reasoning behind this is its a brand new market (geographically) than where I’m currently located so just getting my name out there I feel would be beneficial in starting a vendor relationship. Am I wrong to have said yes so willingly or is it simply a matter of having that “gut” feeling that what they need will somehow benefit your photography business as well. And if that gut feeling is good, then how exactly do you give images away to other vendors? Do you only give them watermarked images and give the option to buy prints if they want that, or just give them a cd of high resolution images to do with as they please in hopes to receive a photo credit with the image and referrals in the future?

Kristy, IVK Photography

I’m not against working with vendors.  It is generally a good idea to work together and to try and be as mutually beneficial as possible.  I do think that in most cases it is a good idea to try and build relatinoships with vendors who are working in the way that you want to work, so if they as (kindly!) for images I don’t think it is necessarily a bad idea to provide them.  If this is a new relationship, and one that you would like to cultivate then I would make it a point to try and deliver them the images as soon as you can after the wedding while they are still excited about it.  In cases like this I would provide the images that show their work well, but also that represent your brand.

I think this is where the wedding industry sort of went off the rails with detail shots.  It is cool if that is your thing, but honestly it seems like many wedding photographers now view their job as product photography for the wedding with a little pesky portraiture mixed in.  So if you are going to provide images to vendors try and find a way to do it in your style.  It doesn’t have to be a traditional detail shot if that isn’t consistent to your brand – show an image of the product being used in the environment, or in the moment.  Show it in the course of your typical work.

The reason being you are trying to build a relationship and cultivate a new fan of your brand.  SO don’t just hand over images, make a statement about who you are and what you do.  While we all like being nice people, the fact is their remains a Machiavellian exchange here – you are providing them something and hoping they provide you something going forward.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that – it is totally expected and welcomed in the business world.  But providing images isn’t enough.  Like I said, we are trying to create fans of our brand.  So follow up the images with a meting/lunch/whatever.  Ask them about the work that they do and the work they want to do – after all, you can’t refer the perfect business to them if you don’t understand what they view as perfect.  And they have to understand your reason for being, so they can help to provide you the right clients.

After that it is simply an issue of whether that person believes in you or not.  If they don’t. no amount of giveaways is likely to change that.  So be clear about what you are doing in giving images away – it is the potential beginning of a mutually interested relationship where both sides help the other achieve their goals.  If that isn’t happening, it isn’t a relationship

As far as deliverables I personally provide unmarked images for them to use for promotion.  If they use them respectfully I know they are buying in and trying to support me.  If they don’t it is a great indication that they aren’t on board.  That’s just my way.  I wouldn’t ask for a vendor to pay for small prints, nor would I watermark because that might compromise the use of the images.  I’m trying to help, and hoping they will help me.  I don’t really believe that a watermarked image of a bouquet (or whatever) is going to get me business – it is that vendor who believes in me and wants to see me succeed that is going to support me.

If been in situations where I gave away a ton of images, provided a lot of support, and referred a ton of business to a vendor and seen them consistently refer other studios for the work I wanted – studios who provided nothing.  I’ve also worked with vendors who asked for nothing and promoted me all day long.  Remember that the images are not the point – the mutually supportive relationship is.

Thoughts?

- trr

Interview with MUSEA

It is live!

Head on over to MUSEA and check out the interview.  Be sure to leave Michael a comment and let him know what you think.  Then head on back over here and we’ll talk.  How did I do?  What did you think about what we discussed?  What are your feelings about the issues we addressed?  Would you like to see more of this type of content (video interviews, discussions, etc) posted here?

Check it out here – http://blog.mymusea.com/post/5766890529

I look forward to hearing from you!

- trr

A Little Saturday Sweetener

Hey everyone,

I tend to play it cool on the weekends and leave the posting to the weekdays but for anyone stopping by this weekend I wanted to prime you for my video interview with Michael of MUSEA that should be dropping on Monday.  Head over here for the link Monday morning.

Still to come this week – more comments and responses from the “Getting your name out there” discussion that we’ve been having this week.  Make sure to send any questions or comments in the links below and be sure to stop back on Monday and block out an hour or so to listen to the interview.

Many thanks.

- trr

Being Out There

Good dialogue from Andrew on Getting your name out there -

A thought for you TRR… is not “getting your name out there” a valid branding approach? Have your name “out there” every time someone turns around, or every time they think about photography- oh look, there’s so-and-so- could definitely work. It certainly is a busier approach than focused marketing, but if your DVD is on the top of the pile, and in the middle and along the edges of the bin, someone is sure to notice and choose it.

Of course, that comes at the cost of getting clients who chose you because they simply saw you– your photography becomes a commodity- and this is not the ideal approach for me. But is it not still a valid business model? Isn’t this how McDonalds and Burger King do it? No one would argue they have the best burgers…

Andrew – Andrew Welsh Photography

Hey Andrew!

It is definitely a valid approach.  Whether or not it achieves your particular goals is the question.  I like to eat.  I prefer to do it at restaurants.  Now, I’ll lose every shread of foodie cred when I admit this, but I’ll eat at a McDonalds or Burger King.  I’ll eat McDonalds for breakfast on the way home from a wedding if I can’t find anything else.  I’ll eat at a 24/7 Burger King at 2 in the morning or on the way home from a wedding if I’m starving and there isn’t anything else open.

Ubiquity is a tricky thing.  If you are everywhere and seen all the time you become less interesting.  You become less referable.  I’ve touched on this a bit here but I’ve done a lot of research into what triggers a client to pass on a referral.  In many ways it is a very subtle and tricky transaction, but at its heart there is a great deal of social currency being exchanged.  There is no social currency to be gained in referring something that everyone already knows about.  So while you can expend an enormous amount of time, effort and money being ubiquitous, you eventually lose some credibility as trusted sources stop referring you.

Beyond that, being everywhere is fine if your target market wants the most popular thing.  Depending on where you are in the market this might be exactly what you want, or it might be the kiss of death.  If you are selling “custom” and “attention” and “high quality” you can’t do it for everyone.  So, like everything else, it is really dictated by your brand value and what you want to communicate about that.

Thoughts?

- trr