Leverage channel strengths

July 6, 2010: There can only be one direction to take to strengthen the photo industry in a financial sense, writes Alan Small, and that is the formation of stronger trading partnerships between retailers and distributors.

The word ‘partnership’ implies mutual trust, shared responsibility, parallel marketing and the development of a passion for the brand or product line, at staff and management level, in order to build a greater in-depth appeal to customers.

To make all of this work, the marketing needs to be at two levels: mass merchants and the more specialised outlets, and unlike today, the two need to be viewed and dealt with in a totally separate manner. Bit like a hamburger joint and a restaurant really – there’s room for both and growth available to both if they are treated with different strategies. In fact, done correctly, instead of the rush-to-the-bottom syndrome we have in the marketplace today, we could see growth and profitability for both sectors.

‘Bit like a hamburger joint and a restaurant really – there’s room for both and growth available to both if they are treated with different strategies.’

The photo industry needs to mature; to have better marketing vision at distribution level and to have a far better understanding of the potential within the industry, so we can avoid having the unedifying example of a part-time washing machine salesperson with little experience and no passion, selling a 5DMk11 or a D700 purely at a cut price. You can only imagine the conversation and the disappointment when the client returns for some ‘expert’ help to that same salesperson.

Try and buy a BMW or a fine watch (for example) in that manner and it just won’t happen; BWW is a clever marketer who really knows what it is doing. The photo industry would have to be one of saddest examples of immature, cut-price-based marketing to a customer base who have the same emotional connection with high-end cameras in many cases as the BMW or Omega watch, and who could potentially double the national turnover with a better approach, resulting in fair and reasonable margins for all concerned – and certainly more smiles on the faces of everyone including the customer.

And dare it be said; the opposite approach to what has happened in image processing.

Try and buy a BMW or a fine watch (for example) in that manner and it just won’t happen; BWW is a mature and clever marketer who really know what it is doing. The photo industry would have to be one of saddest examples of immature, cut-price-based marketing to a customer base who could potentially double our national turnover with a more intelligent approach.

And dare it be said; the opposite approach to what has happened in image processing.


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