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Warning: Information Overload Kills

Warning: Information Overload Kills

Toxic MarketingBack in the 90’s when I was working in the photo business we talked about the digital tsunami.  It felt like a giant wave of technology that changed the way we communicate.  The growth of cable TV, the internet, mobile phones and digital imaging held a world of possibilities.  It was exciting.

And then, with social media, we were encouraged to be part of that giant communication network.  No longer were we mere content consumers, we were content providers.  And as the pace and volume of messages increased, meaning and veracity suffered.   Bottom line is that we’re sure getting a lot of information… but does it help or hinder our lives?

In fact, UC San Diego researchers estimate that global information consumption exceeds 9,570,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes (or 9.57 zettabytes) per year… if this information were a stack of books, it would measure 5.6 billion miles and would stretch from Earth to Neptune 20 times over.  Keep in mind that this information is from 2008. I can’t even imagine how high it is today.

In a recent article by Ron Imminik of Book Buzz, he questions “How to Cope in a World that’s Gone Beyond Information Overload“.

This volume of information is apparent every day, in our bulging inboxes, our enormous choice of TV channels and an endless list of results on Google.

It’s no longer information overload. It’s filter failure.

There is chaos on the information superhighway. We can’t see the wood from the trees. Facts do not exist any more, because every fact has an anti-fact on the web.

We create our own belief bubbles, our brains are mush and we are driven by what the smart phone tells us. It’s a cocktail for disaster. Or is it?

What comes next is up to us.  If we can’t filter or tune out or turn off, we’re doomed.  If we don’t have the will to sift through deep piles of pundits to find the truth, we’re toast.  If we continue to litter the airwaves with meaningless drivel, half truths and bold lies, we’re done.

Don’t succumb to a world where speed, wit and brevity are valued more than truth, justice and the American way.  Think before you tweet!

Photography: Exponential Growth of A Dying Industry.

Photography: Exponential Growth of A Dying Industry.

marketing photography

 Ever heard the phrase “Grow or Die”?  Ever heard about an industry doing both.  It’s a fuzzy image.  Read on.  It’ll get clearer.

For the first time in a decade, sales of digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) have fallen, following the trend of other standalone point-and-shoot cameras, which have long fallen prey to improving smartphone cameras.

You’re talking about a 10-15% decline [inDSLR shipments] all over the world. Which is kind of shocking because that market’s been growing double digits for almost ten years,” says Christopher Chute, market intelligence firm IDC’s research director of worldwide digital imaging. 

These folks must need a sharper lens,  improved resolution or less compression on their image because this is a bit misleading.   It’s true that camera sales are decreasing and DSLR sales are definitely down.  But it’s really not shocking.  And it’s not just because of smartphones.  Do you really think that someone’s going to replace their 18MP DSLR outfit with a smartphone camera?  Perhaps some of that downward sloping sales curve of DSLR’s is being taken up with sales of ILC’s (or Interchangeable Lens Cameras or those compact cameras with interchangeable lenses that don’t have a mirror).

Nonetheless, it is true that the camera business is in decline.  And we certainly know that smartphones are fulfilling the prophecy that “the best camera is the one you have with you”.  Perhaps the folks in the camera business need to think about why sales are down and bring to market the type of immediacy, connectivity and transportability that smartphone cameras offer.

The big story is that the photo business is alive and well…. but the camera business is definitely down with a flesh eating virus.  Years ago we could equate the photo business with the camera business.  But no longer.  While the photo industry continues their enchantment in using camera sales as the bell cow, they’re missing the bigger story living between the lines. Maybe it’s a depth of field thing.

The photo business has never been bigger, impacted more people, or been as much a part of day to day life as it is today.  Think about the sales of photo apps, online printing, at home printing, online photo sharing, photo reproduction on just about anything you might imagine.  The real story of the photo business is that it’s death is widely exaggerated.   In fact, the death of the photo business is just a big fat lie.  The business is changing and future success in this market depends on clearly identifying the market.  It is a business of imaging and not just cameras.  The important news is not that DSLR’s are declining.  The important news would be the reasons why.  The blockbuster news would the the development of new products that addressed those needs.  

That is how markets evolve.  Success is driven by those people and those companies who evolve with those markets.

Picture this:

Source: BuzzFeed & Pop Photo

Is Social Media Driven by the Cool Factor?

Is Social Media Driven by the Cool Factor?

Social Media Cool

In order for social media to work, plain ol’ people need to latch on to a story and spread it to a group of plain ol’ people… and then they spread that storyto their network of people…and so on and so on.  Many stories cease spreading early in the process.  But, some stories go on until the story has been relayed millions of times.  The mechanism is pretty simply.  The magic lies at the core.

The core question: Why do people want to spread these stories?

My answer:  They want to be cool, important, interesting and/or helpful.

 

Graham Robertson at Beloved Brands claims that most brand leaders don’t get social media.  They just don’t understand it. 

For generations, they talked AT the consumer, but now they have to talk WITH the consumer.  In the old school, Brand Leaders were trained to try to INTERRUPT the consumer in a busy part of their day and then YELL at them over and over again.  It was all about AWARENESS-PURCHASE-LOYALTY where Awareness leads to conversion to Purchase which then the brand experience leads to Loyalty.  The new school of marketing is all about LOYALTY-AWARENESS-PURCHASE where the most loyal users will be the ones driving Awareness and the influence of the conversion to purchase.  It’s no longer about yelling at strangers on TV.  Instead, you have to engage your most loyal consumers, and they become the medium for reaching new users as they WHISPER advice to their friends.

He goes on to say that the social media machine is fueled by loyal customers (aka ‘loved brands’).   While he makes some important points in this article, much of social media is fueled by people who aren’t customers at all!

We’ve all seen the rocket fuel of viral messaging where people want to be the carrier of interesting, weird, quirky, important, insightful, funny, runny news.  We, the plain ol’ people in the world, are driving social media.  We’re relatively simple creatures.  We want to be the experts, the fonts of knowledge, the pillars of support.  Some might say that social media helps us to meet the self-actualization level in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

More directly…social media is fueled by the fact that it’s cool to be cool.  

 

 

Are You Really A Professional?

Are You Really A Professional?

Marketing Professional

I recently read a post on Elizabeth Halford‘s blog.

 “I want to start a photography business, but I’m not a photographer.”

Elizabeth had some great advice and suggested the folly of trying to start an artistic business without knowing the art or the business.  My first thought was how demeaning this comment was to the profession.

Do people think that anyone can pick up a camera and figure it out?

Do people think that creativity is inborn in everyone?

Do they think that creativity, innovation and that mastery of the technology is within each of us?

Creative Guidelines

We mere mortals are in love with creativity.  There’s a romance quality to that creative world that most of us want to be part of.  And many of us believe that we’re qualified to do just that.  But like many things in life, there are guidelines.  There are guidelines to what makes a great photo… a great painting… a great work of art.

Marketing Guidelines

As we know there are also guidelines in the business world.  We all willingly accept legal, accounting and financial guidelines.  But when it comes to marketing, advertising and sales, everyone thinks they know best.  Forget about ‘best practices’.  Forget about years of experience and experimentation that have proven the efficacy of certain protocols.

“I want to make marketing decisions, but I don’t have marketing experience.”

“I want to re-write that ad, but I’m not a copywriter.”

“I want to create a guerilla marketing event in Grand Central Station with about 1,200 people and a High School Band on my $3,000 budget.”

The title of “professional” is backed up with a great deal of time and energy – training, hard work, experimentation, learning, honing, polishing and on and on.  Feel free to challenge any professional when something is not the way you believe it should be.  But, remember to have a bit of respect for everything that went into building their professionalism.

Sharing creative insights is wonderful.  You never know where the next great idea is going to come from and people should be open to expressing and listening to those insights.  One great photo, doesn’t make you a professional photographer.  And one amazing marketing idea does not make you a professional marketer.

 

 

Are You Smart Enough To Hire the Best?

Are You Smart Enough To Hire the Best?

Hire Marketing StaffOne service that Market Inc offers is helping clients hire the right people.  Most of the time we work on hiring marketing staff.  And when I look at the laundry list of skills, experience and education used in the hiring hunt,  I’m gobsmacked.

Consider why most people are fired, let go and pink-slipped.  It’s more often due to their inability to fit into the company’s culture rather than their skills, education or accomplishments. Why not find out:

(1) is this individual capable and willing to learn?

(2) do they fit into our team?

Sir Richard Branson, founder of The Virgin Group, agrees.  He hires for cultural fit, personality and versatility.  “Find people with transferable skills–you need team players who can pitch in and try their hand at all sorts of different jobs….While specialists are sometimes necessary, versatility should not be underestimated.”

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

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We recently engaged Susan to help with a new product line launch.  Her strategic approach to the project, combined with her project management skills, led us to a great launch.  We would certainly not have been as successful (or as profitable) with this new product line without Susan’s help.

C.E. Accessories Company

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