In the Graphic Arts industry, most of your customers likely operate under a ‘seeing is believing’ mentality. To move to the next phase in the selling process, your client needs to be inspired to act. It’s not enough to simply tell them, you need to show them.
Several years ago, one of my very best customers started doing just that. Jubels, a Xerox Premier Partner in Amsterdam, began hosting regular Lunch and Learn events (in fact, they already have 6 events scheduled for 2015!)
Each event Jubels hosts is focused on a specific topic, helping them educate (and build relationships with) a very targeted audience. What really caught my attention was when they hosted an event for the passionate photobook market.
Targeting the Right Audience
The photobook market is unique in that it has two very distinct segments. One segment is your typical photo consumer who has hundreds (maybe thousands) of pictures and is looking for an easy way to turn them into a photo book. While they want top-notch quality, they place more emphasis on ease-of-use than having tons of options in terms of paper and binding. At the end of the day, what they are seeking is a commodity product.
The other segment inside the photobook market is much different. This segment usually owns a high-end camera (many times valued between €2,500-€5,000), advanced software such as Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture, a powerful PC or iMac, and an excellent (and well calibrated) monitor. These individuals are known as prosumers, professional consumers that are extraordinarily passionate about their product and willing to go to great lengths to advocate on their behalf.
For these prosumers, capturing a moment and turning it into an eternal, tangible memory is a hobby and a passion. If you can speak their language and deliver the right product, they are willing to spend big $’s (or €’s). I bet you can guess which audience Jubels invites to their Lunch and Learn events! This includes designers, professional photographers and creative agencies.
Avoiding the Commodity Trap
Most photo books on the market are printed using coated paper, typically between 150-250 gsm. For the consumer seeking a commodity product, this is more than acceptable. Competition is very fierce in this market, and the printers competing can only survive by implementing lean manufacturing and dedicating tremendous resources to online marketing, paid search and social media promotion. It requires deep pockets and a very streamlined production process, which is why a few of the major players own the market.
But if you steer away from offering a commodity product and present yourself as a premium printer, both online and offline, then you can start making business!
And it starts by targeting the prosumer market. They value the tactile and want a premium product featuring world-class quality, premium papers and exceptional finishing options. Papers such as Artjo Wiggens, Domtar, Mohawk, Neenah and Sappi all offer specialty substrates (think textures, linens, vellums, felts, metallics, etc.) that can create the look and feel of a premium product. And the Xerox iGen 150 Press, with 2400 x 2400 dpi resolution and matte dry inks, are sure to make the image pop!
Why host a Lunch and Learn?
Why didn’t Jubels just focus their efforts in online marketing? Why dedicate the time and resources to plan a lunch and organize a learning session? Because hosting a free Lunch and Learn at your office is a great (and effective) way to introduce people to your company!
In fact, you may have trouble finding a better way to spend your money. A typical face-to-face visit with a prospect may cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 to $300 (taking into consideration the time spent contacting individuals, securing meetings, travel, dinning and general opportunity costs). Let’s say your event costs $1,000 and you get 25 people to attend…that’s $40 per visitor. Talk about a bang for your buck!
I know what you’re going to ask. Planning the ‘Lunch’ is easy…but what about the ‘Learn’? What am I supposed to discuss with my attendees?
If you were a photographer, designer or creative agency, which of these topics would interest you?
- Color Management: How to make predictable photobooks
- Premium Papers: How to make a fine art photobook
- Hand Finished Photobook: Creating something that no one else can offer
All three probably. And here’s the good news: I can guarantee that you have enough content to present to your customers. Why? Because as a provider of a premium product, you specialize in all of the offerings mentioned above!
So when is your next Lunch and Learn scheduled? Let me know via Twitter or email – I’d love to hear.