Getting to Know Them… Getting to Know All About Them

Getting to Know Them… Getting to Know All About Them


Apologies to Oscar Hammerstein for playing with the lyrics to the classic he wrote back in 1956, but it worked so well as a headline for this month’s topic I couldn’t resist the temptation.

With the dawning of the New Year, I began thinking about what Picture Business needs to focus on in 2008 to really help this readership thrive and flourish in what has become the ever-changing landscape that is retail today.

The first inclination is to start thinking about all that is happening with regard to technology in the imaging industry – the surge in DSLR popularity, storage issues, printing controversies and pixels, pixels, pixels.

Then I thought, where’s the common denominator in all this? What ties everything together for retailers…quite frankly for all of us?

After rolling that one around for a bit, the answer was quite simple – it’s still all about knowing your customer. I guess it always has been, but the information you have access to today is far different and far more detailed than at any time in the past.

Taking as close a look as you can at today’s popular culture in the U.S. has never been more important either. It is in the middle of radical change as the population gets more and more diverse and those that track its changes and how those changes are affecting consumer behavior will have a huge head start on the marketing front.

It’s not such an easy science today – this idea of capturing an audience with so many moving pieces, with so many independently minded groups, with such vastly different interests and such dramatically different lives. The one thing in our favor however, is they all want to preserve it. They all want the ability to live it again through their images/video.

As we move through 2008, it will be more important than ever to study consumer behavior and really examine how imaging is changing lifestyles and maybe, more importantly, how lifestyles are changing imaging. It’s a topic(s) we’ll be spending a lot of time on in the coming months and one we welcome feedback on.

A few things to consider about your customers as we roll along this year – 90% of the U.S. population makes less than $100,000 a year and 50% earn less than $30,000. Time magazine had a great statistic in a recent issue that explained that Howard Stern makes in 24 seconds what it takes a cop or a teacher over a week to earn. Maybe that means nothing and maybe it provides an interesting equation into the value we place on values in the U.S. today.

The great thing about this industry is the fact everyone can play – it’s not about big ticket items that only “the haves” can really afford. Just about everyone wants to take pictures. The thing is, everyone plays this game in a different way and we need to make sure we know all their moves.