After a trip to the west coast, I had time to spare on the plane. I did a little thinking and here is what I cam up with.
The photography industry is crazy, it is fickle and it is needed. How many products are on the market today? How do they stand out from their nearest neighbor? How do they get to market? and How do they get in the hands on consumers? All of these questions have different answers depending on the item that is in questions, but they all have the same cycles, needs, and expectations. So here is an example of a new widget by John. Now remember that Johns widget is a product, you can touch it, feel it, hold it and look at it. It also has to be shipped to the retailer, it has to be built, and it has to be delivered to the consumer. John’s widget is the best case in point of a hand held item that I can come up with. It is a glove… Now John has worked hard to come up with the best glove he can cream of. He has worked out all of the kinks that come with a new glove. This product is the best possible glove you could dream of.
Now the problems come in. John has just started making this glove. He wants to get it to consumers, but he has to tackle some hurdles first. These roadblocks are set up in the system to streamline the lifecycle of products in the consumer world, but it also makes it more difficult to break into that market.
We will start with the first hurdle. No one knows who John is, and the sure do not know about Johns gloves. This is the first glove that he has put on the market. This has nothing to do with John or his glove. So he starts out trying to call possible retailers and distributors of his glove. He can not get past the gatekeepers in the system. They do not let him into the decision makers. That is the job of the gatekeepers. His glove may be the best glove ever to be designed, but until someone sees it, it is not worth anything. So John works day and night trying to find a way to get in front of his prospects. So finally after more time than he wants to admit, he gets to a product purchaser, and as we said before, they love the glove, it is the best glove they have ever come across. THE FIRST HURDLE IS CROSSED.
Just because the first hurdle is done, we are not to the gravy train. Just because the purchaser loves the glove does not mean that they are ready to buy any. They want to know how it has performed in the market place. John has no track record for this product. He has made a few different products, but this is his first glove. So he needs to get the glove in the hands of some people that are willing to promote his glove to show how great the glove is. He starts by going to the local hand show and shows his glove to every hand aficionado that he can find. The eat up the glove, they wear them everyday. The want to tell everyone about the glove, but they have nowhere to tell people to get their own gloves, but the SECOND HURDLE IS PASSED.
The parts are starting to come together, he has people that love his glove and he has a retailer that is willing to carry the gloves. Now he needs to get a manufacturer that can make the gloves for him. He tries local, no luck. He tries to find a manufacturer in the states, but their costs do not line up. He is even willing to have the gloves imported from over seas, but he is having troubles communicating with the manufacturers. Finally he finds a way to communicate with the overseas manufacturer, with a little help, he finds someone to build the gloves. Now he no longer needs to build the gloves in his basement and the THIRD HURDLE IS CROSSED.
He now has a product, market and a retailer. He is in the business of making gloves. But this is where the fourth and final hurdle shows its head. He has to have a way to showcase the greatest glove on earth to millions of prospective buyers. Being that he is a small company, he can not send out thousands of sample gloves, and he is drop shipping all of the gloves from internet sales so he needs to showcase his gloves the best possible way. He works to find the best glove models money can but, he has a limited budget, so he ends up with a 3 fingered hand model. with his images complete, he has the FOURTH HURDLE COMPLETED
Now the lesson in this story, if he would have tackled the fourth hurdle first, he would have been able to inform the retailer about his product, showcased his product to the early adopters, found a manufacturer in a universal visual language and revealed the best glove on Earth to the consumers all with great product photography.
Now in no way am I saying that great product photography can do the dishes, cure national debit or make it sunny everyday, but it can make the life cycle of a product much better. You can even add to this, 360 product photography, that can say millions of things about your product in one set of images, or you can go about it the hard way like John did, it is your choice.