One of the nicest compliments I've heard a few times over the years is, "How do you come up with so many topics to write about?"
It's really easy. My best source is listening to all of you. I'm continually reading comments and questions in the various forums. I spend a considerable amount of time reading emails and physically talking to photographers as much as I can. It's also one of the best reasons to attend a convention - talking with photographers and vendors about what's going on in the industry.
I know I wrote about this at least once in the past...I was part of the marketing department at Polaroid, back in the days when it was a real manufacturing company. I was the manager for the Photo Specialty Dealers; the camera stores represented $125 million of Polaroid's business. I put together a few pretty good marketing programs, but in all honesty, none of them were my ideas.
All I had to do was listen to our retailers and the sales reps in the field. I'd ask, "What would it take to double your Polaroid sales next year?" The floodgates would open and idea after idea was shared with me. Whether a sales rep, a camera store manager or the sales clerk behind the counter, they'd open up.
The ideas were endless. I'd hear comments about packaging, pricing, billing terms, advertising and even suggestions about bundling with other Polaroid accessories and other manufacturers. The answers were all out there, but so few people ever asked and almost nobody ever listened.
Well, it's Marketing Monday and reminding you to use your ears and eyes more is a perfect topic this time of year. Here are some great resources for you:
Here's the point...everybody I ask about how business has been each year, if they answer anything positive, they always add, "But I've never worked so hard in my life!" I've heard that same answer for the last ten years. Business is out there, but you've got to pay attention to what's missing in your market. You've got to promote yourself, be involved in community projects and make sure people know who you are.
It's not easy, but if you genuinely listen and pay attention to what's hot and what's not, you just might find a few of the answers you've been searching for.