Market Focus-Amateur Photographers (958 words)
By Paul Barbagallo
On the basis of their salaries, most professional photographers lack the spending power to merit attractive direct mail offers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income of salaried photographers was $22,300 in 2000.
But amateur photographers—anyone from the retired, aspiring portraitist to the stock-broker who travels on the weekends to capture nature with his lens—represent a profitable market segment fit for myriad offers.
"Amateur photographers are simply those people out striving to perfect their passion for picture-taking," asserts Mike Gural of American List Counsel, manager of the Outdoor Photographer magazine subscriber file. "The subscribers [of Outdoor Photographer] tend not to be professionals. These are affluent, educated people on vacation who are out hunting for the perfect shot."
A Range of Resources
The subscriber files of photography and outdoor recreation publications are among the most frequently rented lists by marketers looking to reach amateur photographers. Many photography magazines now feature articles on fundamental photographic techniques, equipment-usage tips and new product information that appeal to novice shutterbugs.
Outdoor Photography magazine, for example, offers a predominately "how-to" slant to its editorial.
"[The readers] are striving for the photographic perfection that appears in the publication," says Gural.
Most enthusiasts subscribe to photography magazines or newsletters, such as Outdoor Photographer, American Photo, Aperture, DigitalFoto, Photoworld and Popular Photography. Many also belong to camera clubs.
What They Buy
Because amateur photographers must keep up with the latest technological advances in cameras, printing and imaging, they are prospects for anything that's in line with their passion of photography, says Gural.
While such a pursuit imposes less of a demand on a consumer's wallet than boating or yachting, it does require some disposable greenbacks.
"Amateur photographers may not be in the highest income bracket, but they can still certainly afford life's luxuries," Gural says. "All you need is $5,000 to pursue your passion. The financial barriers are a lot less [than with some other pursuits]."
According to Cameraworld.com, an online retailer that offers a selection of photographic equipment from Canon, Contax, Minolta, Nikon, Pentax and Sigma, the going rate for a standard 35MM camera can run from $299 to $1,299. Digital cameras—the new wave in photography in the last five years—range from $699 to $2,199.99. For lenses, the most basic starts at $129.99 while the most intricate starts at $2,299. Include tripods, field equipment and the repeated need for film, and your hobby costs multiply. It's safe to say that someone longing to avidly take pictures in his free time must make a solid financial commitment.
By that rationale, weekend photographers also are likely to enjoy a number of other pursuits, and therefore make prime prospects for a variety of direct marketers.
Appeals for travel, environmental and regional fund-raising, or any outdoor-related offer can work well with this market, says Gural.
He explains: "The subscribers to Outdoor Photographer don't stay on the beaten path to find a great shot—they're not just staying on the road," Gural shares. "These individuals are not only avid photographers, but avid travelers."
Art-related offers also are likely to appeal to amateur photographers.
"Any artistic offer would be ideal," claims Liz Peterson, list manager of the Totalbase: Photography Enthusiasts Mail Order Buyer file for MKTG Services. "There will probably be a great cross-over interest there. Anything in the creative, visual arts and graphic design realm will most likely be successful with this target audience."
MKTG's Totalbase compiled file sees frequent usage from the arts, notably Museum of Modern Art, Museum of the City of New York and the Cooper Hewitt Museum.
Another file that has generated diverse usage among fund-raisers is the Exposures file, managed by Mokrynski & Associates. Exposures offers its catalog buyers leather-bound picture albums, journals, frames, sconces and storage solutions.
According to Tony Troiano, sales executive, Mokrynski, "Exposure buyers favor a gallery approach to presenting their treasured photographs. It's your general consumer who enjoys photography and likes to display it in unique ways in their home."
Exposures' list is sought out mostly by fund-raisers, says Troiano—non-profits that support cancer research, public broadcasting, rescue missions.
Troiano says Exposures is used by many children's fund-raisers as well. Toys for Tots, for example, uses it because the average age on the file is 40, and many buyers have children. Plus, he says, the average income is $75,000, and most consumers in this income bracket tend to donate to charities.
Gural also sees fund-raiser usage of the Outdoor Photographer subscriber list—in particular, environmental causes.
"[The individuals] just want to protect the landscape they're photographing," he notes.
The following is a sampling of some lists available to reach this market.
American Photo Magazine: 58,627 active subscribers. Price: $85/M. Call: Direct List Management, (212) 767-6677.
Exposures: 290,000. 18-month catalog buyers of leather-bound picture albums, frames, original portraiture, etc. Price: $95/M. Call: (201) 488-5656.
Outdoor Photographer Magazine: 203,521 active subscribers. Price: $95/M. Call: American List Counsel, (609) 580-2765.
Photo Enthusiasts Online Opt-In E-mail List: 81,535 active subscribers to Royal-Greetings.net, eSweeps.com, and Opt4Cash.com Web sites who have indicated an interest in photography. Price: $160/M. Call: Optin Inc., (561) 498-2422.
PhotoFlex: 74,068 catalog buyers of equipment and accessories for indoor and outdoor photography. Price: $95/M. Call: Name Finders, (415) 955-8595.
Photographers Supply Mail Order Buyers File: 1,089,576 individuals who process their film by mail. Price: $85/M. Call: Act One Lists, (800) 228-5478.
Photographers Workshop: 4,544,024 enthusiasts who take photography workshops and subscribe to one or more photography magazines. Price: $90/M. Call: ALC of New York, (212) 924-1300.
Photoworld Magazine: 15,213 active subscribers. Price: $100/M. Call: Direct Efforts, (845) 735-8425.
TotalBase: Photography Enthusiasts: 12-month 925,004 ardent photographers who exhibit a variety of buying needs and requirements. Price: $80/M. Call: MKTG Services, (215) 968-5020.