Next in our series on the business of photo organizing is the concept of market research. This is one of the most critical elements of building a small business, and keeping it thriving. It’s especially important for photo organizers, and because we’re an emerging market the information can be a little harder to come by.
What is market research?
Market research is the gathering of information about consumer’s needs and preferences. Put simply, it helps you discover what people want, need or believe.
Building and maintaining a viable business in today’s economy requires a basic understanding of who you’re hoping to sell your goods and services to, and why they’d want to do business with you. Knowing your market is important in spending your resources wisely. You need to identify and analyze the market need, market size and competition.
Sometimes market research is formal, with big (read: expensive) consultants and lots of data to crunch. More often, though, market research for small business people is made up of casual conversations, and bookmarks of articles on related topics that have some sliver that applies to the photo organizing world.
In emerging markets like photo organizing, we need to pull our market research from other industries. I have gotten lots of good data from Fujifilm (and their Business Builders series) as well as groups like PMA and Digital Imaging Reporter as well as our own APPO.
Fortunately, there are some published statistics that can easily support the need for photo organizing, and give a sense of what the market can support and where it may be headed. Here’s an article that Cathi Nelson and Lisa Kurtz authored and presented at the Sixth International Symposium on Technologies for Digital Photo Fulfillment. Fancy. Citable. And packed with useful market research tidbits.
For something more basic but still packed with useful data – I also like this infographic from Digital Photography School about the History of Photography. Is traditional photography dead? No, but it’s different. Which leads us to some of the big questions that our industry is based on: what are people doing with all those old photos, slides, etc?
The data is out there, but sometimes you have to be a bit of a detective to find it.
As a photo organizer, how do you do your market research? Please share your favorite sources in the comments section.