Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Business Week - Stickiness

Previously, I wrote about the value of the Jack & Suzy Welch Column in BusinessWeek - Diversification and A Variety of Clients, (2/11/07), and this week's mail brought in another gem by them - The Importance of Being Sticky. In the column, they talk about many of the points that Malcolm Gladwell goes into in the book that's on my book list at the right - The Tipping Point.

So, how does a job that generates $1,000 in revenue produce $30,000+ in revenue?
(Continued after the Jump)

Simple - stickiness. That is - you being sticky in the clients' mind, and being the first person they think of when they think they need a photographer. Over time, that client, with their repeat business, will earn you so much more than just that one job. And, conversely, losing that client will also cost you that much over your career.

It takes time and energy to earn a client. Building a track record with them, ensuring that they are well attended to, and so forth. I touched on this a bit on "The X Factor" (9/9/08), but Jack and Suzy do a nice job of hitting the point home:
  • "Perhaps, not surprisingly is good old-fashioned service. What is surprising, however, is how exceptional and inventive customer service needs to be to stand out these days."
  • "Almost all companies can create stickiness by sharing knowhow."
  • "Organizations must come to see the world through customers' eyes."
I was having this conversation with a colleague the other day. It used to be that if you could use a manual focus lens to follow-focus a pro football player running towards you in the field, you could be the biggest jerk in the world, and still get work. If you could do that and adjust exposure as he transitioned from shadow to sunlight, you could be a total jackass, and still get work. And, if you could do it using slide film, you could even skip showers and smell like a homeless man for a week and still, your phone would ring.

Those times, thankfully, are gone. Those photographers, either on disability, retired, or they have literally cleaned up their act. As making images becomes technically easier, it will have to be things like creativity and customer service that keeps them coming back, and things like a daily shower will (thankfully) be a given.

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