Conspicuous Consumption

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Forum Pro • Posts: 11,187
Re: Conspicuous Consumption

Michael Fryd wrote:

Jacques Cornell wrote:

Michael Fryd wrote:

Jacques Cornell wrote:

lbuclk= wrote:

I was looking at another wedding photographer's web site and in the FAQ section was a short paragraph on "what kind camera do you use". the photographer explained his/her gear. in all my years of wedding shoots, I've never had that question asked.

I've never asked my dentist what kind of drill he uses or a chef, what brand pf knife he used. I was wondering how many others have been asked about their equipment?

My gut reaction is that this is a relatively inexperienced photographer who's feeling insecure or doesn't know how to market his images. I might promote my gear's capabilities - what they make possible - but not the brand, model, or any other specific information about the gear itself.

The problem is that potential customers may not know how to judge whether or not your competitors have gear with similar capabilities.

Suppose you shoot with a model X camera from brand Y.

If you tell your potential customers that you have a full frame camera with 30 megapixels, then many of your competitors will have similar gear.

On the other hand, if you tell your potential customers what brand and model you have and convince them that this is the best camera to have, then you look better than competitors with similar cameras of a different model or brand.

====

Suppose your camera had a Foveon sensor. Your marketing could "educate" potential customers why Foveon sensors produce better images than traditional cameras. Done right, you could have your potential customers asking competitors about gear, and not considering anyone without a Sigma camera.

A very common and effective marketing strategy is to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and then convince potential clients that the difference is significant enough to make you the best choice.

Typical campaigns might include differentiating yourself based on, price, reliability, your personality, the gear you use, or even the quality of your work.

These are not conversations I've ever had or heard of in 15 years of professional event work. IMHO, only camera geeks care about this stuff. Clients care about photos.

Again, there are many different strategies for marketing you business. Your strategy seems to be working well for your business, and that's a good thing.

However, I think it's naive to think that your strategy is the only successful strategy.

I am suggesting that a successful strategy can include promoting your equipment. I am not saying that it is necessary to promote your gear.

You seem to be saying that you have never promoted your gear, and your strategy is successful. There is no conflict between your experience and my position.

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I am not a cook. Yet a local restaurant promotes their use of wood fired ovens. That works for them. Obviously, not all restaurants promote their equipment, but some do, and it can be a successful strategy.

Most clients know the difference a wood-fired oven makes to the taste of the food. Most don't know the (often negligible) difference between a larger format and a smaller one, or an expensive lens and a cheaper one.

Aside from that, your post seems perfectly reasonable to me. I've seen you around here enough to know that you're a practical pro, not a demagogue. A couple of other points, though. First, there's a lot of angst out there among wannabes about clients basing their choices on gear. In my 20 years of experience, I have never encountered this. OTOH, I have had new clients hire me for weddings specifically because they liked my style. I think wannabes will benefit from being disabused of this worry so they can focus on selling their style. Second, if you choose to market your gear, you enter into a rather silly arms race that you may not be able to win if you're not rich.

Personally, I would regard any promotion extolling the virtues of expensive gear as a red flag. It would cause me to wonder if the photog has any tools in his problem-solving kit other than a credit card. I know veteran pros much better than me who shoot with modest gear and regularly produce work that blows the doors off almost all of what I see around here, winning international awards in the process. I'd hire them in a nanosecond over some guy with the latest and greatest.

I guess what I'm saying is not that one shouldn't discuss gear at all. But, an excessive focus or reliance on that as a marketing tool is likely to eclipse what most clients really care about, which is the effectiveness of their images. I've chosen not to say anything about my gear in my marketing, even when I was shooting Canon 1-series. But, if I were to bring it up, I'd mention what my gear lets me do, not what it is.

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"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it." - George Bernard Shaw
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