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McDonald’s, the world’s #1 hamburger sellers, arguably don’t make the ‘best’ hamburger; some of their critics say that their food is unhealthy; and, they have a lot of competition. Yet, they sell more hamburgers than anyone else in the world! Most of their advertising doesn’t even mention that they are in the business of selling hamburgers. Their messages tell us that “we deserve a break today,” “they love to see us smile,” etc.

The empire built on a mouse is also just as impressive. The Walt Disney business was started with the cartoon character, Mickey Mouse. The Disney image is a dominant force in the world of entertainment – one of the most competitive and difficult industries around. Their advertising messages tell us that they “will make our dreams come true!” Their messages continue to tell us that they are “the happiest place on earth!” For a time, their marketing messages were reinforced whenever we noticed stars in the sky – some of us would remember that they told us (actually, they sang to us) to “wish upon a star” to “make our dreams come true!”

Both examples are popular examples of marketing campaigns that have been and continue to be effective. Both businesses, McDonald’s and Disney, have demonstrated a consistently successful pattern of communicating their marketing messages. That is, they consistently communicate to us the messages that we, apparently, prefer to hear, remember and respond to. And, often, we stand in long lines to do so!

Successful photography marketing can benefit considerably by modeling and practicing the marketing strategies of these two success stories.

Sometimes, we photographers just see ourselves as people with cameras that take pictures. Of course, that is what we do! But, using the strategies of McDonald’s and Disney should help us to speak to our particular photography niche audiences in messages that they “prefer.”

McDonald’s marketing messages don’t tell their audiences that they just sell hamburgers. Nor do Disney’s marketing messages tell their audiences that they are just an amusement park company with a lot of back-end business. No, their messages speak to other realities and benefits to their target audiences.

Some of the obvious lessons of their marketing strategies are that 1.) communicate messages that customers prefer; 2.) communicate messages that offer positive outcomes for customers; and, 3.) customers respond positively and consistently to marketing messages that promise a “happy ending!”

(Of course, it is critically important that I mention here that both McDonald’s and Disney produce consistent quality. Both have a reputation for a polite, clean and family-friendly way of doing business. Even the greatest marketing strategy cannot help poor and inconsistent quality.)

Photography marketing strategies don’t have to be complex or expensive. However, it must be thought out.

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