Companies Not Marketing Right

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by Hubigpielover, Oct 16, 2017.

  1. Hubigpielover

    Hubigpielover Subscriber

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    I've noticed a couple of things while looking at this sight and film manufacturing websites and got me thinking.

    I don't think for a minute that these companies don't want to succeed but it almost seems like they don't. In order for film to remain around we need people to buy it. People like us who are enthusiast will buy it no matter what. What we need is to get new people interested in it. Young people. So how do you get young people involved now that it might not be taught in school anymore or their parents take pictures with their iPhone or a digital camera. So that is out. I'd say you create a marketing strategy that took in mind millennials on down. Right now I see a hodgepodge of bad ideas and some good.

    Here is a breakdown:

    Kodak has just relaunched a film, an analog magazine (whatever that means) and numerous apps. Kodak Alaris also has a website. The problem is that the apps and the website are basically garbage. There is some useful info on it but you have to search to find it. The website/apps mostly proclaims how awesome Kodak is and everyone else is a bunch of schmoes. For all the faults that we push on young people their redeeming quality is that they base their views on facts. Tell me what it does and how I can use it. For a company that sells darkroom chemistry, all they give you is the data sheet. You would think there would be a how to darkroom. What do I need to set up a darkroom? Etc. Imagine if a company like Kodak set up a website with video tutorials on darkroom use? They have the money, knowledge, and technique to do a great job.

    The magazine is alright but seems like a circle jerk of how great analog over digital is. Duh, we know this.


    Foma has a website and is even more bare bones than Kodak although it is easier to find what info you need. They have no app.

    Ilford has a great website. You can get info about products, data sheets, and not only that...they have a learning section, gallery section, meet up section. They sponsor contests. I wish I lived in UK just to have a company that actually still care about the film they sell. Take note Kodak. It would be awesome if they had video tutorials and an app. That is the key to exposing younger people to this but compared to everyone else this is the The David of film manufacturing websites.

    Polaroid has a great website for commerce. They sell their film, new cameras, and old refurbished cameras. Easy to use and they don't need tutorials because it is a Polaroid. The do have a digital magazine that talks more about film than Kodak's does. If I was them, I would have people to go around to bars, parks, schools, and hand out cameras and watch people go nuts. A selfie that you can hang on the fridge. Boom...there is your catchphrase.


    This criticism can also be said of the online retailers. You want your company to make money? Update your websites, have tutorials, basic darkroom checklist make sure nothing is a 404.

    All of this is just me thinking out loud. Would love to hear people's thoughts.
     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Kodak used to advertise heavily including the Olympics, but they found that the advertisement did not increase sales.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Hubigpielover

    Hubigpielover Subscriber

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    Well most people don't watch the Olympics much less younger people who've cut the cord. My main point is that make your websites, apps decent, and get out in the community and actually have film contest.
     
  4. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Subscriber

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    All the film manufacturer is needed is easy accessible data sheets for each film. Plus, some links to the dedicated to particular film groups on Flickr, FB. And some case studies.
    This is it. Doable by single person. The real marketing is done on photo forums. It is from where we know what Foma 400 is not 400 film, what some Kodak 120 film has problems with backing and so on.
    Same single person could deal with it as well.
     
  5. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    Ultimately it is us. We film shooters are the ambassadors of the hobby. Companies just follow the money.
     
  6. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    Probably the most correct answer!
     
  7. OSFPhoto

    OSFPhoto Member

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    @Hubigpielover, if I can, I'd like to add New55 to the list of companies missing the mark with their marketing. I regularly see their Facebook ads with the tagline "Real photography - without a darkroom" , and performing a google search, it comes up in the title of their website as well. I can imagine that a company like New55 lacks a marketing department, and likely any substantial marketing budget, but ask yourself this. Is there a crossover of people who use a 4x5 camera, that also don't develop their own B&W film these days? Of course there will be some people in this category, but is this the main selling-point of this film?

    At this point I have bought multiple complete 4x5 darkrooms for less than the price of two packs of New55, and was well-equipped to develop my own film before I really knew what large-format cameras were. At least from my perspective, and everyone I know shooting LF, having a darkroom isn't a problem. This marketing strategy seems suited to an introductory format like 35mm, where people entering the market will still be concerned about how their photos will be developed; I can't envision the person that buys a 4x5 camera, 545 back, and some New55 to avoid the hassles of a darkroom, but this seems to be who the marketing is directed to. A glace at the people using New55 should tell a marketer that it is artists who desire the uniqueness of using the only instant 4x5 film currently available that are customers, and this is how the marketing should be re-targeted.

    On the subject of the mentioned companies, I feel there's a bit of 'putting the cart before the horse' going on; waiting to see if there's a market before spending the budget. Polaroid, and the new OneStep2 seem to be the exception; the ads and targeting I have seen make sense, and I imagine a good number of cameras will find their way under Christmas trees this season. I wholeheartedly agree, though, that film marketing needs to focus on education if companies want to bring young people to a product they've never experienced, and are likely anxious about adopting.
     
  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    That is just great. :mad: My ex used to give me assignments too.
     
  9. tedr1

    tedr1 Member

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    I agree about Ilford, they rose from the ashes of bankruptcy ten years ago and have their act together. However black and white is a niche market, and one that IS taught, at least in some parts of the USA. But that's black and white, which probably has a future.

    If there is a problem it is color. Digital does color so much quicker and better than film. I can get really good quality color prints from digital in minutes at my local CVS store for pennies, I think Walmart probably do the same thing (I believe the Kodak package used by CVS makes dye-sublimation prints). The color fidelity and black density is streets ahead of yesterday's prints from color negatives. In the same store I can get color film processed, send out for processing, turnaround a week or more, print quality unknown. In my mind there is no contest, for color digital wins hands down. The days of mass color film processing are gone and not coming back. The days of color film are numbered and the clock is ticking, no amount of marketing is going to bring it back.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
  10. Luckless

    Luckless Member

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    Personally I feel that some of the marketing efforts are targeting the wrong market segment. While there obviously is a value in reminding existing photographers with the "Hey, we're not dead, and you can still buy our stuff", such an audience is literally a dying breed. There is some room in targeting the younger photographers who grew up with digital and are on photography forums, but it can be a real up hill battle. (And the snobbishness stereotype of film some of the most vocal film users in such environments tends to sour people's interest.)

    So where are some potentially untapped marketing options?

    An obvious choice would be investing in Ambassador Programs with universities. Getting an industry team effort together with something like Ilford, Paterson, and maybe someone making film scanners - Build a cheap near disposable 35mm camera, do a run of custom load 6 shot 35mm reels, and put together kits that can be shipped out to universities to set up as part of first week campus activities. "Hey look at film cameras, and how easy it is to shoot, develop, and scan right here without some complex darkroom setup. And here's a pamphlet on how to make darkroom prints for not much more effort!"

    Another strong avenue to explore: Middle/High school art/chemistry classes. - If planned and spun right, this becomes an educational product which potentially covers its own marketing costs.



    As for colour? The biggest thing that keeps me from using it has been the cost and questionable reliability of material sources. Getting film seems easy and reliable enough, assuming that we don't keep seeing more lines pulled out of production, but getting development chemistry here in Canada has either been insanely expensive, required excessive hoop-jumping, was questionably reliable/frequently out of stock, or some combination of all of the above. Would love to be able to order low volume press kits straight from a manufacturer.
     
  11. OSFPhoto

    OSFPhoto Member

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    The path for black-and-white is clear, and I can see the issues with color-negative, but I feel there is a market for slide film that isn't fully serviced yet. To think the film market will ever be like it was is a mistake; the people that will make up the market of the future are not like the people that made up the market during the 80s and 90s. (The majority of) People getting into film today aren't adopting it to take better pictures, or to replace digital, they're doing it for nostalgia, novelty, or 'authenticity'. Take a look at the return of other analog mediums. New-pressed records are largely not the music of the generation that grew up with them. Also look at the rise of subscription box services; certainly some of the success can be attributed to the gratification of getting something by snail-mail. This is where I think slide film has an edge over color-negative film, but first a couple anecdotes.

    At Canadian Thanks Giving this year I brought along my Instax wide with 3 packs of film. As a side note, everyone thought it was a camera from the 70s, because even with the popularity of Instax, I was the only one in a group of 20 that had heard of it; it was always referred to as a 'Polaroid' camera. By the end of the night I had a pocket full of photos that I spread out on the table for every one to take home, and I can be sure the excitement around the table will top anything that was felt when viewing photos from the same night on Facebook the next morning.

    On a recent trip home, after purchasing an Ektapro projector, I started testing it with some of my parents' slides from the early 80s. This turned into 4 nights of my family, and a few friends with no investment in the images, sitting around a slideshow typical of the 80s for hours. The comments were often about how interesting the process of viewing a slide was. I can guarantee there would have been far less engagement had I projected the same images from my laptop.

    There is something to be said for the process that film images go through, and how people perceive that as a benefit. This is where I feel slide film has an edge over color-negative in today's market. Color-negative had the advantage when film was the only method of photography; it made sense, easy, fast prints. Like tedr1 said, digital has taken over this market, and does a far better job at it. Slide film, on the other hand, has that element of authenticity and novelty of being projected, and being able to see your image in true color on the film. I'm sure the argument will come up about color-negative's improved range, but like has been said, those of us using film for its image quality are the minority; just look at the rise of Lomography. We've been sold on it, so there's no point marketing to us. Film and developing prices being equal, I think we would have seen color-negative emulsions be discontinued like positive emulsions were.
     
  12. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    It's effortless: someone sees you, they ask "Is that a Hasselblad?", you say yes, they ask "can you still buy film today?", you say yes, and the seed is planted.
     
  13. Jeff Bradford

    Jeff Bradford Member

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    Marketing people do what they know how to do. These days, that means making web sites and instagram feeds and twitter feeds and facebook pages and snapchat feeds and probably a dozen more I'm too old to know about. They know how to hype someone's kickstarter project. When it comes to generating meaningful content, many of todays media-marketers are out of their element. This probably isn't exclusive to the current generation.

    Shoot film. Produce the artwork. Put it out there for the world to see. Lead by example. Sure, some of the kids won't "get it", but those kids weren't going to buy film anyway.
     
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  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hopefully they have a facebook presence
    that is the only sort of marketing that exists today
     
  16. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    Well, it's subjective, isn't it? I prefer color film even though I have very nice digital cameras.

    But I may just be the odd one, you're probably right that color film is an endangered species.
     
  17. saman13

    saman13 Subscriber

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    For me, color negative film doesn’t make much sense. I’m not going to be making optical prints from the negatives, just scanning and printing digitally, so why not just shoot digital to begin with? (That being said, I still shoot a lot of color negative, for whatever bizarre reason)

    The difference though, is color slide. My first time projecting my own slides with my secondhand projector... I was hooked.

    Because I’m not printing my own color negs, b&w and slide are the two formats I can enjoy completely “analog”. Enlarging and printing for one, projecting for the other. As someone who grew up in the digital age, that’s just cool to me.
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I don't know that I could have accomplished what I was able to accomplish here (on 120 Portra) using my digital camera:

    Matthew3408-06d.-APUG.jpg

    I'll put extra emphasis on "what I was able..."
     
  19. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Kodak before their insolvency was split concerning marketing. Even I myself had a problem finding information on their still films on their website. But I knew that they were making still films. The same time they made quite some marketing efforts for their cine-films, at least for their homemarket.
     
  20. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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  21. twelvetone12

    twelvetone12 Subscriber

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    That is the North American distributor, the manufacturer's site is much more nebulous: http://www.filmotec.de/
     
  22. Meyer Trioplan

    Meyer Trioplan Member

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    To me, the best marketing would be as follows:

    Keeping a traditional presence of promotion and informational marketing for older life long film shooters,

    An accessible social media platform and presence to make film photography interesting and relatable to under 35 year olds who have never shot film before.

    A mix of the two above to appeal to people in the middle age segment who may have shot film when younger, might contemplate returning, and have enough disposable income to do more with film than they might have been able to when they were younger.

    This trifecta would seem to me the best approach to keep film accessible and interesting to all possible market segments.
     
  23. Meyer Trioplan

    Meyer Trioplan Member

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    To the OP, what are your takes on Fujifilm and Lomography in relation to good marketing?
     
  24. Wallendo

    Wallendo Subscriber

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    Kodak has a presence on Facebook, although it is primarily aimed at professionals. They do occasionally have links to how-to videos. I have never found their website or apps particularly useful. Just using those resources it is very difficult to determine the differences between TX400 and TMax400, for example.

    One problem with company websites is that users will only visit the sites if they are already aware of the product.

    Fuji's Instax is popular with many young people, and hopefully will increase interest in other forms of film, although more tradition processes don't have the instant gratification of instant photography and digital.

    Hopefully, KA will bring out the big guns for the return of Ektachrome, but I doubt there is enough market for TV ads.
     
  25. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    OP you have worked out your own ideas and have some ideas from the contributors here. Shortly we will reach the point in discussions like this where the "talking shop" mentality takes over and eventually when we have got "it all off out chests" the thread will fizzle out and nothing will have changed. This may be all you wanted and expected but if the thread was designed to "move the analogue needle" then let us know how you will summarise your paper in these matters to the film giants in the hope of improving their and film's future. Send them this succinct paper and let us know their responses.

    Thanks

    pentaxuser
     
  26. skorpiius

    skorpiius Member

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    I like it! And it's the truth, instant physical photography is the one type that can instantly appeal to non-film users without even trying.
     
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