Corporate Event Photography; The Market And The Marketing Page 2

SB: How do you advertise your services for corporate event photography?

MG: We do not use traditional advertising. Our client base has grown over time as they see the value of having one photography firm manage their programs. The learning curve is short for a corporate meeting planner that is managing multiple programs and suppliers. When they hire us we become an asset and not a liability. So we do have strong relationships with established companies that manage corporate events and much of our new business comes from referrals and networking.

SB: Like advocates? So you market through the event planning channels?

MG: Yes, Specialty Imaging International is a member of the Visitors and Convention Bureaus of Atlanta and Salt Lake City. Crosby and I do the networking and "selling" for now but will look at adding sales staff as the company grows.

SB: What recommendations would you make to a photographer looking to make a career move into this field?

MG: Use the best equipment and technology you can afford for the best results. It's too easy to cut corners with the variety of digital cameras and printers on the market. We use high-end equipment so we can shoot and print all night long without stopping. This includes different models, depending on print size and application, such as the Mitsubishi CP-9550DW and CP-3020DU dye sublimation thermal transfer printers. The CP-9550DW is a high-speed, large volume printer offering a variety of outputs from 3.5x5" to 6x9", while the CP-3020DU provides 8x10" and 8x12" prints. Also, have a backup. We can't afford to have a printer or camera to go out on us and at every shoot we have a redundancy plan--two or three printers and always a back-up camera and lighting system.

SB: What do you think really gives your firm its competitive edge over other photographers?

MG: We understand the event business and the corporate strategy for staging events, hosting customers, and focusing on positive brand awareness and connections. We can bring a brand to life in a positive way and provide a quality amenity to a guest that will be kept. Think of the money spent on hats, pens, and other trinkets. Where do you think these things end up? Our products end up on someone's desk, in their office or home, and are a constant reminder of a positive event or happening. (Look around your own office...I'll bet you have at least one photo with you in it.)

SB: I do, from two events--but how does "bring the brand to life" work?

MG: When companies are doing an event, there is an atmosphere that has been created by the corporation and we become a part of the event by participating on the spot with branded products. Digital event photos can be the one element that reminds people attending the event--often for long after--of the corporate brand. Because it is personal, the attendee is in the photo, they will keep it around. This gives our clients a long shelf life for the money spent.

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