You may have seen this great marketing campaign last year? The one for the Vince Vaughn movie ‘Unfinished Business’ that mocked cliché stock photos?
It was a great campaign and it generated a lot of buzz. But sadly, as is often the case, the movie didn’t live up to the marketing promise.
What’s this got to do with ERP marketing? Well, lots actually…
I recently redesigned my website and I really struggled with the imagery. I sell something intangible, and it’s incredibly hard to illustrate it without resorting to the very sort of clichés Vince was mocking.
And having delivered websites for other software and professional services providers, I know I’m not alone in this. We’re selling something intangible that can be difficult to illustrate without resorting to clichés. Especially when you don’t have Microsoft or SAP sized marketing and design budgets.
If you were selling cosmetics you’d have plenty of options. Same with food products. But with ERP, you’re a lot more constrained. 15 years ago, you might have been able to at least show an image of a product media kit, but nowadays we don’t even get that luxury.
So, more often than not, professional services firms resort to Vince’s stock clichés. The handshakes, skyscrapers, call centre and boardroom shots. Sometimes featuring nineties suits and CRT monitors.
Don’t get me wrong; stock images are awesome and have their place. We just need to be more selective about the ones we use. There are some great illustrations and graphics available on the likes of Shutterstock, iStock and Getty, but many (most?!) are absolute shockers!
In fact, there are so many shockers, that it takes real patience, determination and creativity to find anything good (and relevant).
Here are some reasonably priced – but very good – photographers
The crazy thing is, hiring a good professional photographer isn’t that expensive. In fact, when you add up all the time you’d spend trawling through the photo libraries, a photographer will probably save you money!
Here are a couple of great photographers who won’t break the bank:
- Dan Cantero– Dan works out of Sydney, but shoots all around Australia. For a 1 hour shoot and 6 retouched high res images, you’ll pay only $375. Or you can have him for a whole day (plus 20 retouched images) for only $1,500 .
- Cathy Bower – Cathy is based in the West Midlands, but works with companies up and down the UK. She’s popular with both small and larger enterprises. You’ll pay £150 for a one hour shoot, or you can talk to her about a custom package.
Some photos you could take
You don’t need professional models and a glamorous location. In fact, that’s one of the biggest problems with stock photography. They just don’t seem real. You’re far better off to showcase your actual business.
Here are a few tips to help you do just that:
Show off your team
Nothing ground-breaking here, but it’s a really important one and I’m surprised how often partners don’t make use of their greatest asset: their team. Show them off. Get a professional photographer in for half a day (not a huge expense) take some group shots of the sales and services team. In fact, maybe get everyone’s headshots taken while they’re at it for consistent LinkedIn branding. Have them photographed at your offices.
I really like the idea of this, and I don’t think I’ve seen it used that often. If your consultants are working on-site, why not get a quick location photo (get permission from your customer first of course) and use it on your services web page. e.g. For the distribution vertical, how about a photo at your customer’s warehouse, for manufacturing how about that production facility – you get the idea. These can be non-descript or if you’re customers a friendly maybe you can get a shot that features their company logo or delivery trucks. Maybe they’d even jump in on the shot with you. This could be a winner and is much more agreeable than getting an official case study approved. These would be powerful images to sit on your website maybe alongside a short quote.
Show your actual office
Customers want to see your real office environment to connect with your company. It would be great if we all had offices based in towering skyscrapers above London or Sydney but a lot of the time this is not the case. Yet we sometimes feel compelled to create this impression which can ultimately have a negative effect when the customer pays you a visit. If you do happen to be situated in a plush office in the city then, ‘great job’ show it off.
Oh, and one other thing… You don’t always have to use photos. Sometimes vector graphics can be even better, especially when you need to illustrate a concept or service.
Yes, a lot of them are cliched stock graphics too, but not all. And just as you can hire a professional photographer to take some custom photos, you can hire a reasonably-priced professional designer to create some custom (brand-consistent) vector graphics.
Indeed, that’s what I did for my new site. I had our design partners create some vector graphics and embed them into my branding. My dollar investment wasn’t much more than the cost of using stock photos, and I didn’t have to spend hours trawling the libraries. Plus the graphics were tailored specifically for my business, so they’re completely consistent with my brand.
Sometimes stock photos are exactly what you need. But not always. And sometimes they’re exactly what you don’t need. Never settle for something cliched when you can have a professional photographer or designer tailor something just for you for only a few more dollars (and a lot less time).
Whether it’s a overhaul of your WordPress website or a bespoke, ground up solution we can help. We can also show you some great examples of work we’ve done for other ERP partners.