I've touched on this many times already, but for some reason, I keep coming back to this subject. Maybe because I feel some sort of obligation to save someone the embarrassment of getting told certain things, I'm not sure. One thing I know for sure is that I'm not alone in thinking this way.
I took it upon myself and talked to a few local business owners of multi million dollar companies. These aren't major corporations either, they're locally owned companies that I work with. For their protection, I won't name any names.
The first business owner I talked to, I asked how important marketing was to them and they replied, "Marketing is a very important subject in business and it's not something to be taken lightly. When we spend money on marketing, we make sure that every dollar spent on it is worth it." Other business owners agreed with that statement, adding that they aren't advertising for no reason, they're advertising for their customers that spend money on their business.
I then asked them about what they look for when choosing a company for their advertising needs. They gave tons of different things they look for in an advertising company, but the one thing they agreed on is the professionalism of the company. I asked them to elaborate on what they mean by "professional", and they all replied with, "We want to work with people who are as serious about working with us as they are with how they run their business". Just as I suspected, serious business seek serious people to work with. What does that mean for people with iPhones you ask? That was my next question.
I was real careful in asking this one because I wanted to be extremely clear in my question. I gave them this exact scenario.
"Let's say you are approached by someone, whether it's someone who sets up a meeting with you or someone who walks through the door asking to see the owner, and they proceed to tell you that they offer commercial video production at a low cost. They show you their portfolio and you like what you see. What would you ask or tell them at that point?"
This is where some of the business owners get a little divided. Some replied as expected, saying "We're happy with who is currently taking care of our advertising needs". Most companies don't like to stray away from something that is already working for them so that's where the conversation ends. Others replied with the other question that will eventually kill all future negotiations for iPhone users, "What equipment do you use?".
At this point I had to tell them the real point of the situation. I said,
"There's a recent trend in the video production world that is allowing users to use their smartphone to become their main camera in a video production company. Some have even gone as far as making a full length movie for the Sundance Film Festivals and are also being used for high dollar projects like commercial ads and weddings. As a business owner, if you are told that their only equipment is their smartphone, how would you react?"
The reaction for everyone I asked this question to was the exact same, "Those people aren't professional. A real video production company has real equipment. A smartphone for video production isn't professional and wouldn't be taken seriously.". There it is, business owners don't see your use of iPhones as being professional.
One thing you have to realize about small businesses is that they need to make sure that every dollar spent on advertising is being spent on the right thing. Sure, they are multi million dollar companies, but that doesn't mean they throw their money everywhere and on anything. The reason they have stayed in business is because they were smart on investing in themselves by investing their money in the right places and not something that their grandchildren can do at home for recreation. I hate to be the one that says, "I told you so", but if the shoe fits....
I'm not one to be so negative about someone who dreams of being a video producer and all they have is their phone, but I don't want to see someone's dream be crushed with the realization that no one will take them seriously if they don't buy real equipment. What doesn't help is all these items coming out that enable users to use their iPhones like cages to hold mics, lights and their phones and attachments that can attach a real cine lens. Why spend money on that if you could just save your money and buy the equipment that will make you look professional to other business owners? Yeah, using your phone can be fun for recreation and can be a cool thing to do with your friends, but leave it at that. Save yourself the embarrassment and invest in your future, not a trend.
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