by Skip cohen
Last week, I had a conversation with a photographer that left me feeling like it was time to bring back the story about the hot dog vendor. There's a lot of fun history in this story.
My good buddy, Jim Morton, found it years ago. We were both at Hasselblad then, and in a tough economy, our parent company was suggesting cutbacks to save money on things that were MAKING money. So there was an anecdotal story in circulation by the advertising community in the early '90s. Jim showed it to me, and while it might be thirty years old, it's still so valid.
It's the perfect reminder to help everyone stay focused on the big picture, pun intended! So here's the short version:
A very successful hot dog vendor is hitting record sales. He's advertising, cross-promoting, staying open longer each day, and business is fantastic. His son comes home from college for the summer and says, "Dad, don't you know we're in a recession? You need to watch your spending and be ready for business to slow down."
The father, concerned, stays awake all that night worrying about what his son has said. The following day he pulls down a lot of his signs and puts the money he would have spent on advertising and promoting in the bank. He ceased all the creativity he was putting into marketing. By the end of the month, business is terrible, and all he can say to himself is, "Wow, it's a good thing I listened to my son. There really is a recession."
The conversation that prompted the return this story was with a talented artist who felt there was nothing left to do to try and grow his business. He's caught in "analysis paralysis," and instead of doing more, he's doing nothing. He's been beaten down by Covid and the pandemic. Everything he used to do in marketing no longer works. Yet, "It always worked in the past!" Sound a little familiar?
Here's my point - the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. That just doesn't work anymore - all the paradigms have shifted, and most things we thought were normal are gone. How you market yourself, reach your target audience, and what you need to offer have all changed.
There's a renewed sense of family in this country, and they're looking to capture memory-making moments. So relationship building with your clients has never been more critical. Being active in your community should be at the very top of your list too. And the products you offer need to be new, exciting and memorable.
Sadly, too many of you forget one of your most significant resources, your lab! All it takes is a phone call with the question, "What's new?" Covid didn't slow down creativity or technology, and today's labs can print on just about anything. At the same time, don't underestimate the power of a canvas print - which is still relatively new to most consumers.
We're into the fourth quarter, and opportunities are everywhere for increasing revenue this holiday season. But, most important of all, keep the renewed sense of family in your mind. Think about what we all missed the most while hunkering down - family and friends!
When things are slow, it's a scary time to think about spending more money on marketing. But, you have to spend money to make money. Covid has hurt everyone in so many ways, but it didn't take away your skills, creativity, or passion for the craft!
"A person who stops marketing to save money is a person who stops his clock to save time!"
And I've offered this before - if you're stuck and need a fresh pair of eyes and a sounding board - you know where to find me!
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.