For my Dissertation Proposal I would like to explore Creative Marketing.
What it means, how it works, why it is so important and how I can use it to expand and grow my photography business.
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To do this I first wanted to break it down to try and understand the basic building blocks of marketing before expanding on this to find out what makes Creative Marketing different.
What is marketing?
Marketing is something I really struggle with, I know I want to provide amazing heirloom photographs for families to treasure forever … but apart from sharing my work on social media I don’t know how else to market my service in way that really reflects what I do.
I began my research on Google and found extremely in-depth analogies of what marketing is, like this DNA strand:
And I also found information that made much more sense to me like this:
There is an interesting blog on this subject with lots of different variations of the definition.
“..the act of connecting customers to products”
“..the building of a relationship between a company, a product, and a consumer by understanding the value of their needs.”
“..the art of inspiring desire that leads to action”
“..influencing the actions of others.”
“..The art of getting known, liked and trusted”
Jeremiah Owyang. (March 1st 2008). A Definition Of Marketing In Nine Words. Available: http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/2008/03/01/my-definition-of-marketing/. Last accessed 4th April 2017.
From the research I have done my understanding is that Marketing is an umbrella term for all of the above. It is about identifying customers needs / wants, and providing the desirable product / service whilst building a lasting relationship.
Marketing focuses more on the data, using demographics, surveys, customer feedback etc it is a formula that companies use to attract and keep hold of their customers. If they know who is buying, who isn’t, which areas they are popular in and which they aren’t they are able to build up a clear picture of which areas they need to work on.
When marketing products, these are tangible because customers have the opportunity to see / touch / try / use them.
So when you are selling a product the client can make up their mind from that experience if they want to use or buy them.
But services are intangible, you are asking a client to buy into something that they haven’t yet experienced for themselves and won’t know if they like it until after you have provided the service.
So in relation to my Photography Business this is where I need to put the groundwork in:
- Speak to them in person, good customer service skills, explain everything to them, invite them to the studio to have a look around and get a feel for what I do. By doing this I would be building a relationship with them which is important, especially when I am selling a service because they are basically investing their money in me.
- Online presence – professional & easy to navigate website with portfolio images and information that works well across all platforms.
- Client Feedback & Reviews, get as much online feedback / testimonials as possible. This is the most important factor, when people want to try out a new restaurant or shop on Argos or Amazon they can’t try before they buy so the only thing they have to go off is the online reviews that are left by previous buyers….this alone can sell the product.
To show an example of this, if I was buying a razor on Amazon for my husband, obviously I have no experience of mens razors so I would go by customers feedback. I have a comparison below with the Gillette Mach3 Razor and the Dorco Pace 6+ Razor.
The Gillette is the more well known brand because i’ve watched adverts on the television and is actually cheaper than the Dorco but the Dorco has hundreds more 4 Star plus reviews and so that would be the one that I would buy.
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What is creative marketing?
Whereas Marketing is the whole foundation of finding what clients want, need etc and building up the backbone of a good company, Creative marketing is basically the visual pull to snare your customers. It is more about the initial eye-catching signal which engages peoples attention, advertising your product or service in a way that hasn’t been seen before is going to really stick in their minds.
Every company has competition, there is always going to be similar products available so you need to think outside the box and really let loose your creative mind.
The images above are examples of Guerilla Marketing, which is Creative Marketing but for smaller businesses with less money to spend on advertising. It’s about finding ways for them to get their business noticed or messages across in weird and wonderful low cost ways by introducing them into people’s everyday life in a quirky way that will be memorable.
We live in a very visual digital world where almost everyone has a smartphone that they carry everywhere,
“Smartphones have become as vital as a kidney or a lung.” http://www.argyllfreepress.com/2015/04/04/survey-shows-that-smartphones-are-in-charge-of-our-lives/
And everyone wants to share their lives with friends and family through their social media platforms. Taking photos of every aspect of their day from what they had for breakfast to what new things they have bought or what they seen on their way to work that made them happy, sad etc. Everything gets flushed onto Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, pinterest.. the list goes on and it is one vast advertising platform that your prospective ‘clients’ will advertise for you if you can engage with them in a way that relates to them.
Here is the link to one of the videos I watched about Creative Marketing on Youtube which I found useful – Paul Potratz. Think Tank Tuesday. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51ZQ8WDogaE&t=307s. Last Accessed 21st April 2017
In this, Paul explained that if your marketing message is only ever focused on what you are selling and the price then you are only ever going to reach a tiny percent of your possible market.
Because when people see an advertisement the majority aren’t looking to buy / spend at that time.
You need to engage the audience with something that resonates with them and then that becomes a talking point for them.
When you create an advert that engages the audience and entertains them or evokes an emotion then you are reaching them on a personal level. This can be done through love, humour, ethics, guilt etc, anything that taps into whats real to them in their lives.
There is so many clever advertisements, I found this one particularly powerful because it’s different to many of the others which show what smoking can do to the smoker themselves – the tarred lungs, and physical decay it creates. This one really pulls at your heart strings for several reasons, seeing a crying child alone is bad enough but when they are engulfed with a suffocating ‘smoke bag’ which is causing them such distress it’s really upsetting. And very cleverly this has been designed to rock peoples emotions in an upsetting but memorable way to make them think about what they are doing to others….forget themselves and do it for their children.
Marketing has always seemed the most scary and daunting part of running my Photography business but after researching all the different ways that companies have used Creative Marketing to get their products / messages across I feel it has opened my eyes to the possibilities. You can be as wild and wonderful as you want when it comes to Creative Marketing and as a creative person and the nature of my business I am really looking forward to planning new and fun ways to advertise.
I was inspired whilst researching this topic and I had an idea to advertise my newborn photography that I might develop which would be a funny option to advertise locally:
- Dress up as a stork / baby / midwife and hand out nappies to pregnant ladies, mums in the street, inside the nappies could have my business card and newborn session information. This would be more memorable option than just handing out leaflets which people tend to put in their pocket and forget about.
- With the growing popularity of video on social media I plan to record a series of Vines, 6 second videos with funny photography related content.
- I would like to get graphics printed on the back of my car so that I am constantly advertising wherever I go. I like this Nikon Advertisement –
Something like this would look really good across the back of my car, whoever was driving behind me would feel like they were having their picture taken. It’s a little bit too much like papparazzi but I like the idea and could maybe do something that suits my style of photography.
These are just some basic ideas and I look forward to really developing these and more to expand my research, knowledge and experience in Creative Marketing.
Death to the starving Artist – Nikolas Allen
Connecting With Your Customers | Steve Morris & Graham Willcocks 199
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General notes & ideas
- Advertising in a creative way
Attending a Nearly New Sale, full of mums selling their unwanted clothes / toys etc and there will be lots of mums coming to buy the unwanted items. I will be having a table with my albums, price & package info, offers, Big Banner showing some of my images etc.
- New Products that are aimed towards a growing market
Baby Shower Gift Boxes, These can be purchased for any amount and given to the Mum To Be and she can then decide on how she wants to spend it.
- Blogging – Its so important, its one of the things that has rocketed my website onto page 1 of google when you type in: NEWBORN, BABY, CHILD, FAMILY, WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER WREXHM
Do a questionnaire – find out what people would be happy to spend on newborn photos / what would they rather have – digital images or USB & print packages / would they prefer taking their baby to a newborn studio or rather a shoot in their home /
How do I reach pregnant women / people linked to pregnant women / where do pregnant ladies go (classes treatments etc)
What makes me different / what can I offer that stands out
What other newborn photographers is there locally?
What do newborn photographers do on their websites / social media to make them successful. How can I make my website visually appealing …what would a client want to look at first….images or prices….is my site easy to navigate on phones / ipads as well?
Are there any Baby events locally that I could attend or advertise at.
What areas should I target – within a 45 minute drive of wrexham, what is already available to them in these areas.
Could I do a Newborn Open Day at the studio for pregnant mums to come in and meet me, see the studio / props etc. Possibly hand out vouchers / goody bags etc. Advertise on social media….contact Evening Leader?
Enter more competitions, try and win an award which would look good in my bio & website
Creating Visually Appealling Content
I have been working on my website to make it much more user friendly, clearer menus, better explanations of my package options & how to book.
I have also done the same on my Business Facebook Page and these both link to my Bigcartel online shop and this is where clients can book their sessions and pay via paypal. So all my text for everything and images are all the same for each site so that it is easy for clients to recognise and decide what they want.
Pinterest – I have started pinning all my images from my website to my pinterest account.
– Get some info about Pinterest and its growing popularity