Friday, August 1, 2008

Marketing YOU

Before I was a photographer... My first love, was Marketing.

I can remember being 12 years old and looking at a Coke can... and thinking "someone had to come up with the words on here... and someone had to design the graphics and decide what colors to use. I want to do that when I grow up!"

I wanted to be the girl in charge of writing product descriptions, designing ads, product packaging, writing the copy... I wanted to do that. I wanted to create, design and be the person responsible for the face of a company. Looking back, those are pretty big aspirations for a 12 year old.

9 years later, I walked down the aisle with my soon to be husband. Not a church aisle.. that was still a month out... but the aisle at UCM. I remember hearing my name "Claire Elizabeth Lohman, B.S.B.A , Marketing " . It was such a great feeling! (no more homework!) Lucky Paul (my fiance at the time) got the words, "Cum Laude" added to HIS name. Smarty Pants. I studied harder.

I think one of the biggest misunderstandings about "marketing", is that most people think it means "advertising and selling" ...

You see, marketing is offering a product or service that will meet and exceed the needs and expectations of a specific group of people. It's about excellence, creativity, communication... and making sure the end customer is happy, thrilled with their product or service. It's about creating an experience and making a connection. It's about being there when they need you. It's about establishing a relationship.

As photographers, WE are the face of our company. Not just our photos, portfolio, or website.

I once had a bride tell me she was trying to decide between me and another photographer in town. "I felt like you really wanted to be there as a friend... not just a photographer. You really cared"

What she said meant so much to me. And that's what I want to be for each bride that I meet along the way. I don't just want them to pick me because they liked my portfolio better than someone else's... but because they know that I'll be there as a friend and they know they'll be taken care of like they should be on one of the most special days of their life.

Everyday is a leaning process. Everyday is a chance to make a difference, improve, love, be loved... and capture love with every snap of the shutter.

I can't wait to learn more and improve how I work with my friends and clients. I think David Jay's Free To Succeed Tour with Jasmine Star is going to be right up my ally! My friend Kenny just started photography and heard about the tour on my blog.. so now he's going to go! He's just getting started and I'm excited to see all the awesome things to come in his future.

So no matter what you do, be it photography, graphic design, public relations, at-home mom... or one of the other a zillion other careers out there... marketing applies to you. Listen to the people around you.. find out what they like, don't like. communicate, have excellence in all you do. That's how you have successful business AND relationships.

Well, this post is long. I could write a book about this stuff though. Maybe someday I will ;)

In the meantime. Be you and be excellent at it!