Help... I just want to
get my pictures!
By Frank Baillargeon
With that out of the way I have to sound off about the early efforts to communicate newly-enabled products, services, and value—especially in the mass channels. Let's bear-in-mind that it's in these environments that our target customer, "mom," is left to independently interpret our communications of product, service and value. Let's also consider how complex we've collectively made the simple film processing decision in recent years (one-hour? Same-day on-site? Retailer-branded? Want a CD with that? What, in God's name, is APS?).
Remember the Rules
There are a number of wise rules of service marketing. Two that are universally applicable are:
• "Nothing works more powerfully than simplicity."
• "Ask who is setting your marketing standards—your industry, your ego, or your customer?"
With those in mind, it appears we have a challenge that includes both a serious reconsideration of our core film processing communications as well as effective and sensitive ways to communicate that rich menu of products, services and value that are in our hands. Difficult? Indeed. Possible? Come on this is the digital era. Necessary? Absolutely vital.
How to begin? A good place to start is to understand consumer expectations and habits as they currently exist and to begin to anticipate and accommodate the evolution of "digital mom." To the lower left is a graphic showing current mass market behavior.
As our customer moves further into the digital adoption cycle (right graphic), we have a great opportunity to enable that transformation.
1. Take a hard look at your imaging service communications and cross-reference the aforementioned two Rules of Marketing.
2. Stop your dependence on manufacturing and/or service partners to craft your critical customer communications.
3. Clean up your develop and print value proposition (make your central value proposition stand out). Create "white space" to define your emerging digital value proposition.
4. Use digital technology to inform, educate, stimulate and enable your customers to access the boundless possibilities of a new imaging business (CDs can be a powerful and familiar resource for more than archiving and sharing images).
5. Categorize your output options and customize support materials that feature exciting products that enhance life's photo-related experiences (i.e. birthdays, new baby, wedding, pets, home business, holidays, celebrations, etc.).
6. Kill the fear by creating the first experience—don't tell them—show them how easy and satisfying digital imaging is.
In the post-central lab consolidation and Qualex OSP era, mass retailers have largely lost the "art of communication." Kodak (Qualex) assumed the responsibility for developing and maintaining photofinishing communication at mass retail and Fujicolor has been largely content to "follow the leader."