Except in very rare cases, professional photographers don’t have the marketing budgets to advertise on broadcast mass media: radio and TV. These media would certainly be excellent places to communicate with your target audience, but you couldn’t serve all the potential clients such advertising would likely attract. Professional photographers don’t want a “mass” of customers; Wal-Mart does.
You should also be aware of a trend in consumers’ use of traditional broadcast media. A significant number of consumers watch TV and listen to the radio at the same time they are on the Internet via computer, tablet or smartphone.
A trend that could provide professional photographers with an effective advertising opportunity is that local TV station’s Web sites were the #1 source for local news and event information in all age groups. You may not be able to afford, or justify, television advertising, but a smart alternative may be an ad on local TV stations’ Web sites.
Publicity is still the best opportunity for professional photographers to gain some exposure on radio and TV stations. Actively promoting yourself to local radio and TV producers as THE digital photography expert in your community could result in becoming a guest on a talk show. Most markets now have 24-hour TV news stations, many as part of the cable TV package; and it isn’t easy to fill 24 hours with unique programming. A producer might respond favorably to your offer to provide a 5-minute digital photography tip segment…that just so happens to show your photos as examples. Who knows until you ask!
You don’t need to conduct extensive marketing studies to realize that the traditional, daily, metropolitan newspaper continues to struggle with the immediacy of news delivery on TV and radio, and now must also battle the Internet. According to The Pew Research Center’s The State of the News Media 2012, newspaper circulation declined another 7.3 percent during 2011, which has resulted in newspaper ad revenues that are less than half of 2006’s total.
The trend that could prove to be the most important for all businesses, including professional photographers, is how much the profile of the “average American consumer” has changed. First, the “average American consumer,” as often portrayed by the suburban family of the 50s and 60s, no longer exists. In fact, the definition of a “family” has also greatly altered. The 2010 U.S. Census reported that most U.S. households were not married couples. Married couples with children were only 21 percent of all households and more than 27 percent of households were single adults.
As a professional digital photographer, you must invest a certain amount of money to market your business and services to the public. To use your marketing budget effectively and efficiently, and generate a reasonable return on investment, you must also understand the media, marketing and demographic landscape, which is always changing. This PhotographyTalk article highlights a few of the trends that you should take into account as you develop, implement and manage your marketing program.
According to Nielsen’s 2011 State of the Media: Consumer Usage Report, more than 50% of men and women were checking email or surfing the Web for unrelated information on their tablets while they were simultaneously watching TV.
In addition, the age groups that predominately read newspapers are not the prime target audience of most professional photographers. According to the Newspaper Association of America, only 30% of adults, 18–34, read a daily paper. The percentage for adults, 35 or older, is 49%, and for adults older than 55, 57%.
Racial and ethnic diversity is much more evident among children and young adults, although it was less so with their parents. You should take special note of this trend if you’re a wedding photographer, as it may be beneficial to be familiar with a broader range of wedding ceremonies and celebrations that are based on various cultural or ethnic traditions.
As a professional photographer, you probably don’t spend much money on marketing/advertising compared to many businesses in your community, but knowing the trends in media, marketing and demographics should help you use your limited budget wisely and squeeze every bit of ROI from it.
Image credit: khmel / 123RF Stock Photo
People who read this PhotographyTalk.com article also liked: