Since starting SCU in January of 2013, everything my good buddy Scott Bourne has written and shared continues to be relevant. I'm sharing this post from the archives, not because I needed something to post today, but because it's such an important concept.
Are you listening to your target audience? Are you offering the products and services they want? Are you making yourself habit-forming?
When Scott originally wrote this, Blockbuster was closing. It was a big deal, in fact, there are still empty Blockbuster stores around the country and easily recognized because of the marquee design of their buildings. Each one is a ghost town tribute to changes in technology, consumer trends and to a point, arrogance. In just the last couple of years, we've seen significant retailers scale down or many close entirely. Sports Authority, Radio Shack, Coldstone Creamery, JC Penney, Macy's, Sears and the list goes on and on hitting virtually every category of consumer products.
Scott's closing point hits on clients who wanted digital files and how he handled their demand at the time, but let's take it a step further and hit on what I consider his crucial point:
Many of you are holding on (with clenched fists) to old business models that no longer serve the needs of your customers.
It's holiday time, and you've got so many opportunities for new products and changing your business model to accommodate your target audience better. NOW is the time to be talking to your lab about the new products they offer. Sign up for ProShow Web Premium and create holiday greeting card videos for your clients. Build relationships with your customers, so you're more than just another retailer. Keep your blog content current and consistent and create excitement in your market.
And, if you're stuck trying to figure out how to make some changes, you know where to my find me. Sometimes you're just too close to your own business and need a fresh pair of eyes to give you a little help.
by Scott Bourne
The announcement was expected, but still shook me a bit. Blockbuster, once the largest video store in the world, is closing the remaining 300 Dish Network-owned stores. That leaves 50 small, mom and pop private franchises and I have no doubt, they will be next.
The Blockbuster business model was fungible. The customers found new/better/faster/more affordable ways to enjoy a similar product. Blockbuster tried to change with the times but was simply too slow. Now they are gone.
I remember having a discussion about this three years ago in Las Vegas with one of the Blockbuster managers. I asked him how long he thought the store could hold out. He bragged their location was one of the most profitable in the chain and that nothing could ever take the place of his store. Umm not so much.
What does all this have to do with the photography business?
Many of you are holding on (with clenched fists) to old business models that no longer serve the needs of your customers. If you aren’t considering digital products - if you aren’t considering offering images in an electronic format, etc., you will absolutely face the very real possibility that your customers will find the products they want somewhere else.
The bias against digital products used to be based in controlling Copyright. But frankly more than 15 years ago I started experimenting with offering my clients a perpetual electronic license to use my images in digital form. Now if you’re hearing the phrase “shoot and burn” photographer in your head you are only partially right. The “shoot and burn” concept is usually looked down upon because it is assumed that the payment is very low for these electronic rights. And that is simply not necessarily true. When I started offering digital products 15 years ago, I simply took my average print sale and multiplied times 10. The result was my licensing fee. My customers loved it. I made lots more money, and I was ahead of the curve.
You need to be considering something LIKE this (It doesn’t have to be exactly like this) because sooner or later, you could be standing next to the store manager from Blockbuster - in the unemployment line under a big fat sign that says - “DISINTERMEDIATED!”
P.S. Guy Kawasaki once told me a great story about this. He said that if a photographer’s business model didn’t match his BUYING model he’d go somewhere else. He wants electronic rights. I know for sure he found someone who could offer that to him. Ignore this at your own peril.
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.