Biz-2-Biz Q&A – Stock Market Photo Agency President Richard Steedman – Brief Article – Interview
Richard Steedman, President, The Stock Market Photo Agency
ADWEEK: How is your site positioned to take advantage of the business-to-business boom?
STEEDMAN: Our industry, stock photography, is one of only a handful of industries where the entire product purchase transaction can occur entirely online. Our customers can search for and view images on our Web site, purchase the rights to images online, and download digital files directly to their desktops for immediate use in their creative work. Once the order is placed, the product is delivered in minutes. There’s no waiting for the mail to arrive or running to the store to pick it up. You instantly get what you order. Our business lends itself beautifully to B2B e-commerce.
ADWEEK: What were the main obstacles to building your site?
STEEDMAN: Because there are tens of thousands of possible pricing scenarios, our biggest obstacle was the complexity of our transactions. We had to convert a price negotiation that used to occur over the telephone to an interactive, online procedure that is easy-to-use and intuitive.
ADWEEK: What are some of the unique challenges facing your industry in convincing businesses to use the Net for their business-to-business needs?
STEEDMAN: The biggest obstacle for us in the stock photography industry will be educating consumers that full e-commerce enabling you to search, purchase and download images instantly is far more convenient for them than finding images in catalogs and CDs and placing orders through account executives. There has already been a tremendously favorable response to the full e-commerce functionality of our Web site, but there are still people who, for reasons varying from familiar routines to Internet access to the complexity of stock image licensing, have not fully embraced purchasing images on the Web. In addition, other challenges, including protecting the intellectual property and copyrights of our photographers, will continue to be an issue until there is a greater understanding of the security of the Internet.
ADWEEK: What marketing strategy works to promote business-to-business e-commerce in your industry?
STEEDMAN: Overall, our Web site is another marketing and distribution tool that, when effectively leveraged, creates added value for our current customers and creates new leads. For us, promoting the Web site as another option for our customers to find, price, purchase and download images, along with catalogs, CD-ROMS and research, is the key to its success. In addition, promoting the Web site and its functionality in all marketing materials creates general awareness among our current customers, while online and offline marketing to new customers creates new prospects and Web traffic. Word-of-mouth among satisfied customers in the creative community is also a tremendous tool for marketing the site and its functionality.
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