I heard of one photographer , the other day, who to get a promotion going did, at the end of a portrait sitting, asks his customer if he'd like a $15.00 gift certificate to apply to his order.

He tells the customer that all they have to do is to take the form home, (a form with space on it for twelve names) , fill in the names and addresses of some of their friends who they think would like a family photograph done, bring the list back with their order, and they will receive a certificate for $15.00 that can be applied to any wall size portrait.

The photographer then turns around and sends, to everyone on the list, a gift certificate with an expiry date, with compliments of the person who gave the photographer their name.

He then telephones them about ten days later and makes the booking.

He says that it has a tremendous flow on effect, he has more work than he can handle, he can withdraw the offer at any time, and it is certainly a lot cheaper than running an advert in the local newspaper, and more effective.

Look at it yourself, next time you run an advert for a particular promotion, count the numbers that come in for that promotion, divide the numbers into the cost of the advert, and you will be surprised at the unit cost.

To the customers that come in with the $15 voucher they've been sent by their friends, he just gives them a different sheet that says they would like the photographer to send a portrait gift certificate to the following people.

He gives this out at the time of the proofs being presented, and receives it back at the time the order is placed.

When he telephones them to tell them that the order is finished, he reminds them not to forget to send the certificate in.  He does, also, give them a self addressed envelope, and 70% of them do get posted back.

He does keep a list of the people to whom he sent the gift certificate to in a separate book, so he makes sure he doesn't send two certificates to the same people.  He also marks them off with a date when they make the appointment, so he also has a list of people for future mailings.

What are the figures on these? Lets start off with one customer.  Lets assume that everybody gives you four names, lets assume there is a fifty percent return on those four names.

Look at these figures below.
1    2    14    8    16    32    614    128    256    512    10214    20148    14096

Now I'm sure you will call Uncle before you get up to that last figure.  But it does give you an idea how this thing can multiply.

If you average from a family group portrait sitting is $300, it represents a allocation of 5% to your advertising budget.

If your average is $150, it represents a 10% advertising budget.

If your average is $100, it represents 15% advertising budget.  Still 2.5% less than Paul Linwood Gittings was spending who says he spend 17% for procurement money.

It works.  It is simple to get going, and costs very little.


Fundamentals of Marketing Management This was an extremely interesting course.  It was of course orientated towards
D&P and retail but marketing is marketing no matter what the final product is.

The five 'rights' of marketing are   ...   to have the right product, in the right place, in the right quantity, at the right time, at the right price.

The theory of the marketing concept is that marketing is the satisfaction of customer needs and wants, integrated amongst all store personnel at a profit.

One particular concept I got out of this course was that you could do a survey of your town to get a list of the most influential people and then use them to build your business.  You of course probably know most of the influential people in your town so the concept of this was to photograph all these people, put them on display one at a time and then on the TV, radio, newspaper or whichever of the mediums suits you - get a personal recommendation from this person on what it was like to be photographed by you.  Now how one would work this?  It would require a lot more planning and thought before it could be put into practice but those are the bones of the idea.

Parental Responsibility - It was mentioned that most people consider that it is the parental responsibility to take photographs of their children and their family.  Most parents feel that this is a drag, the children won't perform, everything goes wrong when they try to take it so, therefore, this is a concept for promoting your services and I can see a TV advert on the screen now.  It is of a typical family trying to do photographs, of the individuals and the results then showing how simple it is to engage a professional and the results they will get.  Another reason that parents feel that photographs are necessary is because it aids in parental bonding ie. you can share the memories together.

Prove - In marketing you prove to your customers you can serve their needs better, therefore you must find your market dependant upon what your strength is ie. your strength may be volume, high quality, pets so whatever your strength is you go after that particular market.

18 Year Olds - 18 year olds spend almost all of their money on clothes.  This is a fact that could be incorporated in some sort of promotion to get these sort of people into your studio and some of the money they would normally spend on clothes into your business.

Your Customers
To be able to market properly to your customers you must first of all look at the life style of your typical customer   ...   find out what your customers perceive your studio to be and what do they perceive your studio to do.  How convenient is your studio for them in location ,time and other factors.

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In most cases your customer will take whatever you offer because they know no different, however, most times quality is the number one want but what do they perceive quality to be?  You must also find out how important to your customers are the other things that your competitors offer.  Of course your competitors are not only other photographers but the video people, the TV people etc. etc.

Try not to satisfy everybody.  You have limited resources so you must go after one segment only.  Why must you do this?  To do otherwise your resources must be vast to serve them all.

The Limited
The Limited is a ladies store in America.  They started with their first store in 1966.  It was aimed at the 18-30 year old woman.  They now have a lot of shops spread throughout America.  In most cases they are located in large shopping malls.  Because of where they are located in these shopping malls and because they are in prime space they have found that they have not had to spend any money on advertising for the last six years.  Their location was their advertisement and there were sufficient passing public to give them all the custom they were wanting.

They found in 1975 that their clientele was getting older and they had the option of looking for a new flock of young people to start using their services or alternatively changing their style.  In 1975 they decided to cater for the 24-30 age group.

They opened another range of stores called the Limited Express for the under 24's and they purchased a large chain of mature women's stores called Lane and Bryant so they catered for the complete market with their three range of stores.

They now have an import/export company, offices in the Orient, their own distribution center, and trucks that travel throughout America shifting their stock.  None of their trucks are marked with Limited, therefore, it means that if they are sending stock from Chicago to Denver with dresses on the return trip from Denver to Chicago they can pick up somebody else’s merchandise and take it as the truck is unmarked.  All of their warehouses have their stock sorted and recorded by computer.

Okay so what?

  • Here is a Company that first of all located in the right area ie. shopping malls.  

  • They paid premium dollar but by paying this they did not have to spend as much money on advertising.

  • They had targeted their market.

  • As they found their market getting older they moved with it and they opened stores to cater for people outside their market.

They are a medium priced store, however, every 25th item in their stock is highly priced.  In other words if their normal price is $100, every 25th item is $300.  This psychologically tells the customer who is shopping when they see all these $300 items that this is a high priced store.  Nobody likes shopping from a bargain basement and this maneuver has overcome this particular problem.  They may walk out with a $100 dress but they have the choice of dresses that were 3 times the price and so nobody could accuse them of shopping in a bargain basement.

So I think you have to take a leaf out of the Limited's notebook, look at your location, what is the image of your store?  It must look right to your customer.  That means you must keep changing the look of your premises to keep pace with their living style.

If you have premises which were last decorated in the 70's ...  I mean seriously decorated there is a pretty good chance that the style does not reflect today's living style and so, therefore, your premises will look old fashioned.  This also means that if you last decorated your premises 3 years ago you may be moving out of style and also be considered to be slightly behind it rather than with it.

Sears of Sears Robuck, probably the largest range of department stores in the States that works with mail order - in fact their catalogue has become one of the original mail order catalogues   ...   they have a guarantee policy which is 100% - it is company policy and can not be changed by managers at any level.

This means you buy a bed from Sears and 3 years later you take it back and say I am not satisfied, there is no argument, there is a complete refund.  It is an interesting philosophy.  It is one that fascinates me.  All one has to do is have sufficient guts to put it into practice.

Whatever you do make sure your competitor can not do it fast.  This means if you are introducing a new original style make sure that your competitors can not do that by simply buying a filter like you did and then he is in the same business as you.

Store design is very hard to copy which means that the layout of your store, the look of your store is one of the original things that you can keep.

The crux of marketing is the consumer. Why should you customers buy from you?

Advertising gets them into the store, after that the sales force is supposed to take over.

Large international chains are the only ones that can really afford TV promotion.

At some point in time, to get more business you may have to spend 20% to move your graph up another 10% on your turnover.  In other words just like a characteristic curve of film things can peak.

  • Odd prices are perceived to be lower.

  • Lost leaders lower the image of the store.

  • High price gives a high image as long as your clients do not know better. 

  • Front door parking is normally number one importance.

  • If you give good service but service is not important you will have poor sales. 

  • If you give good service and service is important you will get good sales and so forth.

The final gem from this seminar was 'you might be on the right track, but if you sit there you might get run over

Selling by Communicating
Another extremely good seminar.  Of all of them I would probably have to rate this the least good of them all but by itself it would of been worth every penny it cost.  The key factor from this course was that people buy benefits, nothing else, so therefore you must tell about the features and convert them into the benefits that people get by buying your product.