Our CaptureLife team is back from PhotoLynx MVP 2018 in San Diego. We were thrilled to meet with old friends and new in the school photography industry and share the latest developments to our CaptureLife platform.
A few things made this event special for us, and we thought we’d share some takeaways with you that substantiate the trends we’ve been tracking in the pro photography market.
Kaboom! Mark Schoenrock’s message to the market
Mark Schoenrock, president, PSP Consulting, delivered an urgent keynote setting the tone for the conference. The title of his presentation, Kaboom!, reflected on the significant market changes disrupting the school photography industry: Shutterfly’s acquisition of Lifetouch and the relentless shift in consumer preferences toward digital images, mobile interaction, and a demand for choice.
Based on Mark’s assessment, Shutterfly’s commitment to invest in Lifetouch and build their joint business will include: online ordering, mobile optimization, increased product choice, and plant efficiencies that will drive their costs down. With these strategies they not only look to win with the consumer but focus on Shutterfly’s value proposition – which is to be present for every important milestone and celebration. When this is realized, Lifetouch essentially does away with today’s “one and done” transaction and turns every school photography engagement into a customer for a lifetime.
That turns on Shutterfly’s consumer marketing machine for Lifetouch as well, while they concentrate on school accounts and improving the experience. They are experts in activating consumers on their platform, encouraging them with offers and reminding them of seasonal opportunities for creating meaningful gifts and mementos.
Mark’s reflection on what mom wants from school picture day and the opportunity that Shutterfly has with Lifetouch echo our own data and insights. Our recent independent survey of pre-K – 6th and insights on where Shutterfly and Lifetouch are going are in sync. We were humbled and gratified to hear this perspective reinforced.
And Mark’s takeaway reflects our own. It doesn’t matter your size – you can win if you’re creative, attentive and nimble to adapt to these market changes. We want you to know that CaptureLife will be there to help you grow with digital delivery, mobile commerce, and innovative digital products for your customers.
PhotoLynx: The workflow hub for volume photography
We love partnering with like-minded technology businesses, and we’re continually impressed by the willingness to work together to tackle some of this industry’s toughest challenges. PhotoLynx, the host of MVP, is one of those partners – taking a broad view on how they can help the industry adapt and grow by opening their platform for partner integration.
Having partnered with PhotoLynx for over a year now, we appreciate that they are positioning their automation platform to be the hub for addressing the market’s most pressing needs. Their goal? To be the system that connects with other solutions to make volume school photography better, and easier. We’re behind that and are proud to be their partner for mobile delivery and commerce.
School picture day: Creating a holistic view of the opportunity
One of the most intriguing aspects of MVP were two panel discussions – one with school principals, the other with mothers of school children. The discussions were enlightening for the photographers in attendance. From our perspective, they illustrated the disconnect between the three key elements of picture day: school administration, parents, and photographers.
The principals on the panel don’t want disruption but want the commission, yet they don’t understand the interplay of their parents’ desires and interests when it comes to picture day. As an example, selling a higher quality photo session with multiple poses could very well generate a higher overall commission for schools because parents buy more if the product is aligned with what they want and expect. Yet that may increase the time it takes the photographer which potentially increases the “disruption” an administrator wants to avoid. We in the market need to do a better job of educating administration on what parents want, so they can approach this as an opportunity for them and become a true business partner.
And there is no secret here – Moms want more choice. They chafe against being forced into packages with products they don’t need or want, and they’re increasingly interested in digital. But beyond that, none of the women on the panel had ever heard that picture day was a fundraiser for the school. Could that change their perspective and increase participation? We sure think so.
We see this as a clear opportunity to educate and close the loop when communicating with the school and parents – to make it win-win and turn those frustrations into a more meaningful experience to build business and goodwill.
Leaders in the market are tacking into the winds of change
As the trends continue to reshape markets, we’re energized by the foresight that many photography businesses have shown to innovate and take charge of their future. While change can be disruptive, it can also be creative catalyst – and we can point to numerous photography leaders and suppliers that are taking the lead. We’re thrilled to be a part of this remarkable industry, and to help photographers move their business in positive, profitable and dynamic direction.