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Archive | September, 2008

Urgent Orphan Works Legislation Update!

Brenda Pinnick shared on her blog that Illustrator’s Partnership has posted an extensive update on the state of the Orphan Works legislation in Congress that is being widely opposed by artists’ groups. (For more on the history of this legislation and why it should be of interest to scrapbookers, see the links at the bottom of this entry.)

Basically, the bill’s Senate sponsors used the chaos over the economic rescue legislation last Friday as political cover to use a sneaky, undemocratic process called “hotlining” to get the legislation passed in the Senate with no debate, with a minimum 15 minutes notice to Senators’ staff, and without a roll call vote. If no Senator objects within the window after the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders decide to use the procedure for a bill and alert Senate offices via special phone lines, the bill is considered passed by “unanimous consent”. As you can imagine, during the scrambling over negotiations for the failed rescue bill on Friday, Senate staffers didn’t have time to even read the bill in the response time, let alone decide if they wanted to object to it.

As IP said in their entry “What better way to pass a bill that was drafted in secret than to pass it while nobody’s looking?”

Now is the time to contact your Congressperson again about Orphan Works if you are against this legislation! This issue is not over! Let your Representative know that you do NOT like the Senate version of this bill and that you don’t want the House version (which is still sitting in committee and is preferred by artists’ organization) killed just because the Senate version has already passed that chamber.

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Learn How to Catch the Social Media Cluetrain from Lego & Jake McKee

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending a geek event  in Orlando known as an “unconference” with a bunch of my online friends. This was the 3rd year that Josh Hallett has organized BlogOrlando, and the second year that I have attended. It brings together an assortment of minds in the blogging community from around the country, many of whom are in the fields of PR and marketing. (For a full review about BlogOrlando, listen to this week’s episode of True Tech Life.)

So what was there to learn about scrapbooking at a geek conference? Quite a bit, actually – and I wasn’t the only attendee with a professional tie to the scrapbook industry. Alex de Carvalho (formerly of Scrapblog) was in attendance, and Geno Church of Brains on Fire (the brilliant mind behind the Fiskateers word-of-mouth marketing campaign) was one of the session leaders. (But more about that in another entry!)

So what is the cluetrain and why do I want to be on it?

The “cluetrain” in the title of this post refers to a book from 2001 called The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual that called on businesses to start using social media and the internet to communicate differently with their customers. (If you don’t mind reading on your computer, the full text of the book is available online.) Jake McKee used his opening keynote at BlogOrlando to talk about how he spent five years at LEGO getting that company “onto the cluetrain” by setting them up a social media marketing program for communicating with their customers.

McKee’s message was somewhat in the same spirit as last year’s BlogOrlando keynote by Shel Israel (author of Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers) but McKee’s message was built around just the single cohesive example of building a total social media plan for his employer, Lego, and the rewards of it and the obstacles he faced.

high-value-customers

But Legos are a kid’s toy, not a hobby – what can they teach us?

Surprisingly, Lego is in many ways a similar marketing model to scrapbooking. The targets of Lego’s social media efforts were adult hobbyists who spend far more per capita on Lego’s products than their juvenile consumers do. These are high-value consumers to the company, and reaching out to them was both important and rewarding for Lego.

This similar type of high-value consumer also exists in scrapbooking, although the difference isn’t easily defined by age like in Legos, and those consumers are often active on the internet. Scrapbook companies would be wise to follow Lego’s example if they aren’t already.

McKee also made one specific point that is extremely applicable to scrapbooking about the use of professional teams to create model displays versus supporting local hobby clubs to encourage consumer interest. He said that they found that sponsoring a display of Lego engineer-produced models at a place like a shopping mall would attract a lot of gawkers but not generate a lot of Lego sales because people were intimidated and didn’t think they could do what the professionals did.

But Lego found that donating supplies or sponsorship for a similar display by a local hobby group did result in increased sales of Lego products in the area – because people weren’t intimidated by the work of what they saw as “people like them”. They looked at the work of the hobbyists as something that they could possibly do too. Visitors to the display weren’t too scared to try building things like they were when similar models came with a label saying they had been made by Lego’s professional model builders.

This same comparison can be made with papercrafting projects and consumers and professional designers. The work of “people like them” – their friends, neighbors, etc – is much less intimidating to people even when it is the exact same work. Attaching the “professional” label attaches a level of difficulty to creating something in many people’s minds that can intimidate them right out of trying something because they think “I could never do that.”

Catch Jake’s cluetrain yourself thanks to the wonders of streaming video!

If you’d like to see Jake’s keynote (and all it’s wonderfully elaborate Lego pictures) for yourself, I’ve embedded a video taken by a conference attendee below. The keynote actually doesn’t start until about 15 minutes into the recorded video – just click forward on the progress to about 3/8 of the way across it to start there. And don’t be concerned that the start of the video doesn’t seem to have audio! All that said…the video is well worth watching!

Free video chat by Ustream

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[Positions] Available Scrapbook Positions

The following scrapbook industry positions were listed on Monster.com in the past week:

Sales Manager – F+W Media Inc.: The publisher of MemoryMakers Magazine is looking for an advertising Sales Manager for MemoryMakers, MyCraftivity, The Artist Magazine, Pastel Journal, Watercolor Artist, The Artist Network, WetCanvas, and the Artist NetworkTV. This full-time managerial level position is based in Cincinnati, OH and pays $70K-$80k/year plus bonus. Qualified candidates should have 5-7 years experience and a bachelor’s degree, and demonstrate understanding of the fine art/scrapbooking media markets.

Graphic Designers: Aerotek Commercial Staffing has re-listed for contract graphic designers, apparently the same listing as was posted last week.

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[Poll Results] Have you started holiday scrapbooking projects yet?

Store owners, hope you are listening…holiday scrapbooking and papercrafts projects are a popular topic…out of 26 respondents, only two said that they won’t be doing any projects at all. And the majority of poll respondents are already planning or working on a holiday project of some sort! It’s time to kick that holiday marketing into high gear!

Have you started any winter holiday scrapbooking projects yet? (26 votes)

I have begun to plan but not make holiday projects or gifts – 26.9%

I have started work on a gift item – 19.2%

I have started making my holiday cards – 11.5%

I have not yet started any projects but will in the future – 34.6%

I will not do any holiday scrapbooking projects – 7.7%

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Store Owners: Turn on QVC Today for Marketing Help!

Today is one of QVC‘s big “PaperCrafting Fair” days, featuring appearances by Lisa Bearnson and other CK Media personalities along with Anna Griffin. If you are involved in selling scrapbook and papercrafting products, you need to know about what is happening on QVC today.

Retailers and manufacturers need to be informed about what their competition is doing. QVC is competition for local scrapbook stores in the same way that big-box craft stores are. Manufacturers also need to know what is being sold on QVC so they can keep an eye on new marketing moves by their competitors.

(Note that if you aren’t near a TV during the day you can also stream QVC live on your computer to keep up with what is being sold on-air and how.)

But for the savvy retailer, there is more to be learned from watching QVC today than just how much they are undercutting your store’s price on the die cutting system you are selling. Paying attention to what is being sold on QVC can give you marketing information that can help you move product in your own store.

QVC moves large quantities of product in short periods of time on their shows. They are undeniably mass market. Their prices are part of the appeal, no question, but they also know how to select products with the widest consumer market – and how to sell them.

QVC Can Tell You Where The Market Is

The first thing to do is to try to get a broad picture of the types of products being offered, in both design style and content. This is a great way to get your finger on the pulse of the mass-market of the industry. QVC tries to offer a little bit of something for everyone: every style, every skill level. Seeing what they are offering each of these groups in style and content at any given time is very educational as to the “base” level of the industry. The QVC website is a great way to do this, since you can look quickly at the product being offered during each show during the day.

Learn Sales From The Experts

Paying attention to the range of sales techniques used to promote a particular product on-air can give you ideas for how to demonstrate and promote it in your own store. QVC’s hosts and on-air personalities are experts at selling products.  There is a lot to be learned from them!

Piggyback on QVC’s Success

QVC introduces a lot of people to scrapbooking and papercrafting who may end up in your store looking for more products to go along with their QVC purchases. Your regular customers may also shop QVC for the bargains on high-ticket items like die-cut machines or other tools. Knowing what products are being sold on QVC – and making sure you have add-on products & accessories for them available in your store – can be a great way to make some money by “piggybacking” on QVC’s success.

Be Aware of Brand Recognition That QVC Creates

There is another reason to know what products are being marketed on QVC – being aware of products with brand recognition for your customers. Products that are being marketed on QVC will get a big push in customer brand recognition.

For instance, today on QVC a kit of Cosmo Cricket products is being sold. Cosmo Cricket is a company that many in the industry might consider a “boutique” manufacturer (despite limited availability in big-box stores). After the extended presentation of their kit today on QVC, Cosmo Cricket’s brand name will be much more recognizable – in a positive way – to many potential customers walking into your store. Knowing this will allow you to utilize this information in your marketing efforts and displays in your store.

No question it can be frustrating as a store owner to watch hours of coverage of scrapbooking products being sold cheaper than you can afford to offer them to your customers. But if you look at it as a fabulous (and free!) marketing research opportunity instead, watching a QVC papercrafting event can be very useful.

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[Positions] Available Scrapbook Positions

The following scrapbook-related positions were listed in the past week on Monster.com:

Asst. Store Manager – Archiver’s: The scrapbook superstore is hiring for an Assistant Store Manager position for its Aurora, Colorado location. This is a full-time position, rotating through day and afternoon shifts. 1-2 years experience is necessary, with experience in a high-volume retail environment and with rubberstamping and scrapbooking experience preferred.

Associate Marketing Manager – Shutterfly: The online photo company is looking for an Associate Marketing Manager for their “photo books & pursuits” segment. The position is full-time in the company’s Redwood City, CA headquarters and reports to the Senior Marketing Manager, Photo Books & Pursuits. Position requires 3-4 years experience in marketing with online marketing & ecommerce experience.

Graphic Designers – Aerotek Commercial Staffing: Aerotek is hiring two graphic designers for a scrapbooking company in Provo, UT. Pay is $14-$15 for these full-time contract positions designing graphics associated with the company’s home decor (wall art and home accessories) products.

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