Do You Want to Know a Secret?

Do You Want to Know a Secret?


With apologies to The Beatles, the imaging industry has a secret—a really juicy one—and I think it's time they collectively let the cat out of the bag.

As you'll see in our news section this month, we have a piece on the latest InfoTrends study on the photo merchandise market. While it's more than a little encouraging to see the numbers of consumers who have purchased a photo merchandise product growing (roughly 32 percent said they had compared to 25 percent from last year), there were a couple of nuggets from the report that have led me to believe in the aforementioned conspiracy theory.

Two points brought up in the study are worth closer examination and clearly point to this industry's woeful promotional acumen.

The InfoTrends study reveals that over half of the respondents that have not yet purchased a photo merchandise product cited a belief that these products were too expensive as the main reason why.

Okay, a huge percentage of these products are under $30, so there's problem No. 1.

Secondly, the report also revealed that when asked how they first became aware that they could create or purchase photo merchandise, a large percentage responded that they had heard about the products or were first made aware of them from a friend or relative.

Understanding that “word of mouth” can be a very powerful motivator, the fact this industry is seemingly relying on it to spread the word about these amazing products is a bit disappointing.

That's not to say some folks in this industry aren't doing an incredible job on this front, as there are locations around the country that are nailing this category in the area of promotion—and to that we say bravo!

However, the numbers are still far too low on the awareness front—as they always seem to be in this industry when it comes to anything new—and that's got to be a red flag.

InfoTrends adds that retailers can turn this into a positive by offering things like “refer a friend” programs to their existing customers. For those on the “satisfied customer” list, why not make them even more likely to recommend photo merchandise to their friends and relatives by offering them a special incentive for doing so. Simply stated, a great idea.

As for the “too expensive” part of the equation, this is equally vexing as such a large percentage of these products, as we pointed out earlier, can be had for less than $30.

Perhaps there's also a feeling among many that this stuff is too difficult to create and that they don't have the time—again, sooooo not the case.

So then, let's start whispering in their ear, say the words they long to hear—photo merchandise rocks, is affordable, easy to create and the coolest way imaginable to share your favorite memories.

Again, sorry John and Paul.


Michael McEnaney