Differentiate or Die

By Mike Luter

Sorry it’s been so long since the last post. We've spent the last 6 months completely redoing this site. We are also finishing a complete refresh of the Photo Solutions Market site and the University  and will have that available for you within the next 4 weeks. We will also be relaunching the podcast very soon. Thanks for your patience.

As part of the refresh we have removed all of the old podcast and old blog post and will be posting new blog post and new podcast every week. If you want to be notified when we publish a new blog post or a new podcast sign up below and you will receive a notification in your inbox. Now, on what the show.

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As always most of ideas for blog post and podcast come from you, and todays post is now different. One of the common threads between all of the questions I get daily revolves around sales and marketing and “How do I grow my business”.

Are you still struggling to get a meeting with your dream league? Ever wonder why? It’s because in mind of the league president you look like all of the photographers in your area. “Why should I meet with you…. you are no different than the photographers I already know”? You guys are all the same, “I really just want the biggest rebate back to the league.

I read a statistic from CEB that 89% of buyers don’t see any difference between the potential partners they are considering. This is crazy and should really make you take a hard look and really consider the implications.

One of the biggest mistakes most small businesses make is not being different. Now more than ever you must differentiate yourself from everyone else in the marketplace. In today's competitive marketplace your leagues have more choices than ever. Therefore we have more photographers vying for a diminishing number of prospects. When this happens the competitive landscape gets tougher the choices for your leagues becomes more difficult.

If you want to survive you must differentiate yourself in the eyes of your prospect. You don't have to be the best, but you must be different. “Me too” businesses rarely survive and usually end up competing on price because they don't have anything that separates them from their competition. And competing on price or who will give the biggest rebate back to the league is a losing proposition. You can’t build a business on being the cheapest or giving the highest rebates in your area..

Are you commodity? If you are selling a commodity the only thing the prospect cares about is price or rebate back to the league? Remember, every league already has a photographer. If you want them to change, you have to be different in ways that they recognize… in ways that make a difference.

How are you differentiating yourself? And don’t tell me it’s service… that’s the old worn out “me too” mentality… plus in today’s economy it’s expected by the customer.

Here’s 2 of the ways we are separating ourselves from the competition in our area:

SportsPress Books
We've been involved in the youth sports photography market forever and sports press program is the most popular new service that we have offered in the last 25+ years. Until we started offering this product 3 years ago, sports pictures packages had been delivered the same way since I was playing youth sports. If you want to learn more about the Sports Press program go here. Below is a page from the marketing book we send out to leagues.

Extreme Teams (Virtual Teams)

We started doing extreme team 6 years ago in high school market. Would photograph each player individually and composite them together digitally. This season we also started offering it to to the youth market and it has been definitely benefit crowd favorite.

Here's a sample Extreme team from this Fall football season.

Now that you are Different you must let the world know. Everything you do you must communicate your difference. In your advertising, your marketing, your website, your board meetings etc.. We will go over more in future blog post.

How are you differentiating yourself? Please comment below.

  • Laurie Kurlin says:

    Love all the new info. and updates.

  • Junior and High Schools are just the same with their sports programs. For coaches to switch you need to offer something unique and provide a benefit, like a fundraiser ad in the press books.

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