Why Not Make it Amazing?
Maybe your products aren’t pretty like Pottery Barn’s, retro like Restoration Hardware’s or delicious like Dean & DeLuca’s, but that doesn’t mean your photography has to be boring.
Eye-flow studies show that when customers browse catalogs, they look at the pictures first. If an image captures their interest, they then go through a well-documented decision-tree process. Get the picture right, and you’re in the game to score a sale. Get it wrong, and the customer turns the page.
The secret to effective B-to-B photography is to focus on the benefits. Benefit-driven inset photos, along with the main product shots, are effective ways to draw attention to a product and quickly tell its story. Here are three techniques that accentuate those positives:
1. The In-Action Shot
The in-action shot shows your product in use. But the goal is to draw attention to a chief benefit of using the product, not an attractive face from your pick-n-pack operation.
Goodway Technologies (www.Goodway.com) is a B-to-B catalog marketer of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) cleaning products. For some of its equipment, Goodway shows a chief benefit of portability: maintenance professionals can strap sprayers on their backs and climb into tight spaces to clean HVAC systems.
To capture images for its catalog, Goodway maintains contact with local customers and sets up on-location photo shoots to document the equipment in action. A professional photographer captures these images but faces many challenges; namely, the spaces are often low-ceiling, poorly lit basements, while the customers — models, if you will — don’t have time for extensive lighting tests.
So the result is a shot that smacks of verisimilitude. This is real. These in-action shots complement Goodway’s controlled studio images where each product is showcased, and the two types of photos combine to support Goodway’s brand as a producer of top-of-the-line HVAC equipment that's field-tested for proven results.
A columnist for Retail Online Integration, George founded HAGUEdirect, a marketing agency. Previously he was a member of the Shawnee Mission, Kan.-based consulting and creative agency J. Schmid & Assoc. He has more than 10 years of experience in circulation, advertising, consulting and financial strategy in the catalog/retail industry. George's expertise includes circulation strategy, mailing execution, response analysis and financial planning. Before joining J. Schmid, George worked as catalog marketing director at Dynamic Resource Group, where he was responsible for marketing and merchandising for the Annie's Attic Needlecraft catalog, the Clotilde Sewing Notions catalog, the House of White Birches Quilter's catalog and three book clubs. George also worked on corporate acquisitions.