The photo organization service Pixologie offers some interesting statistics:
- Over half their web site visitors are men.
- Their client base is 20-40% men.
- Men spend 25% more than women on average.
So why do some companies in the photo industry make so little effort to market to men and in some cases go out of their way to alienate men? Here are some examples from my experience at Creative Memories:
- Creative Memories artwork was heavily slanted toward frilly, feminine designs with pastel overtones. When completing projects I had to go out of my way to find designs that were remotely acceptable.
- Consultant contracts and training materials were written assuming that the entire sales force was composed of women, even though that was not the case. Creative Memories had a number of successful male Consultants, including Phillip Griffith and others.
- The company continued to focus on traditional scrapbooking products preferred by women and provided only limited options for digital products that men typically preferred. Sales conventions remained 80% digital, even after it was clear that the transition from film to digital was unstoppable.
- Hiring practices were heavily slanted toward women. In one instance I was told not to apply for an internal opening because Creative Memories was going to fill it with a woman.
The Creative Memories that I worked for no longer exists, and their exclusive focus on women may be one of the reasons why.
Mark, I LOVED the fact that CM was “female heavy” only because it was SO different than most business models then. However, that said, I totally agree that things were SO slanted against you “guys”; you even had trouble finding a restroom at a convention, didn’t you? What you said about the slow shift to digital . . . I remember sitting beside you at lunch one day at a leadership event when you were questioned about the lack of response to the growing digital market. I distinctly remember you saying something to this effect: “Remember that CM is a FAMILY owned company.” You repeated that phrase several times in answer to digital questions. Makes me think that it was the Morgans that were the big hurdle at that time, not so much the feminine leadership at the home office. In retrospect I believe that CM totally goofed on not jumping on the digital express sooner than it did.
The original CM, run by the Morgan’s, and a man at the top of the Helm, had men, and as you said, successful consultants. But as the female growth continued, the male growth declined. The bathrooms in the early days were there for men but as the company grew, it grew more with women than men, and the bathroom lines grew longer for women and the mens restrooms remained empty – they had to do something. I have to somewhat disagree with the comment on female, frilly & pastel items unless you’re talking further down the road. But the competing markets were over saturated with frilly and if you ever go to a scrapbooking convention, seldom were there male shoppers so I’m only guessing, but maybe it was in competition with all the others. They are all heavily women, heavily female led. CM was a leader and should have remained a leader instead of becoming a follower. However, the new Ahni & Zoe, I hated the name, hated the color, hated the new mission statement. I voiced my complaint as well. There was nothing in that mission statement that would attract men, in fact, did quite the opposite. It was a slap in the face to men. I questioned them, do you REALLY think men are going to jump on board with hot pink. Of course not. You are driving them completely out. From what I see there are still far more male photographers, serious photographers, than female. But women are far more prone to getting together in groups for crops, like the days of old quilting bees than men are so I guess that was the focus. I think a healthy perspective from both sides would have been far more educating and profitable. Whether it be voting or photography, when people focus more on color, gender and looks than they do skill set what what the individual has to offer, that is the beginning of the end. And as far as digital, I just don’t get the new CM dumping digital altogether. That just seems like business suicide to me.
Welcome to a woman’s world, where often the presumed gender is male and women are forgotten. I’m in the construction industry, and everyday literature comes my way where women don’t exist at all. I think there needs to be an across-the-board increase in awareness that very few things in the commercial world are 100% single-gender.