Why is Marketing like Photography?
Why is Marketing like Photography?

It’s all about focus!

Recently I worked with a client who owns a company that provides services in the recruiting and human resources field. After meeting with the CEO and learning a lot about the different services his firm provides I thought back to one of my favorite articles. The article was published in the Harvard Business Review in their November/December edition. The author, Susan Bishop, wrote an article entitled “The Strategic Power of No”. I would highly recommend reading it.

As an amateur photographer, I realized that the key to both photography and marketing is focus. Too often we take pictures without taking time to be sure that the focus is what we want. Yes, you can use the auto-focus on many cameras but that isn’t necessarily what you want the focus to be. If you want something different and creative you need to focus on what you want.

The same is true in marketing for entrepreneurs and small businesses. It’s all about focus! In the article, Bishop talks about how her small business got off track and tried to do too many things. She lost focus.

She ended up redirecting her company to specialize in specific industries. She turned down potential contracts that would have made money because they were outside of what she was targeting.

The key to effective marketing is really identifying who you want as customers and focusing in on them. Like photography, you can just do the “auto” setting, but it won’t give you the results you want. Too often, potential entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t have a clear idea (out of focus) of who their customers are. They make the mistake of thinking that everyone is a potential customer. What does everyone need? Yes, we all need food, water, and air. But food can run from table scraps to caviar – and no one does both. Water can be unsanitary and free, or bottled water from Fiji. Air is free, so not much of a business model, but it is a marketing tool for locations and development.

Whether you are in business, or thinking about a business, taking the time to understand who your customers are is a critical part of success. How can you possibly do effective marketing without understanding who it is that you are trying to reach? There are so many possible marketing methods out there that you could spend a fortune reaching the wrong people!

Yes, there are always exceptions. There may be that 60 year old who shows up in your shop when your average customer is in their twenties. But the exception proves the rule. You should be marketing to the customers in their twenties. Would you use the same resources to market to both ages? Of course not. You could spend money to advertise to the folks in their 60s through the local newspaper, and not see much return on the investment. Or you can use social media and other tools to reach out to the customers in their twenties and get a lot more for your money!

(Originally published on Hubpages 5/24/2013)


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