17 Years Ago I Bought A Digital Camera. Here’s What It Taught Me About Marketing

I love my digital camera. I don’t know what I would do without it. It allows me to take pictures of the things I see and experience and share them easily with my friends and family. 

However, when I think back on why that particular make and model is so special to me, I realize it was more than just the camera itself. 

There was something about how Sony launched that device that really changed my life in ways I never could have imagined at the time. Since then, many lessons from that launch have helped guide me as a marketer myself, so here they are:

Key Takeaways
1. Importance of Adaptation: Purchasing a digital camera years ago highlighted the necessity of adapting to technological changes, a crucial aspect of successful marketing strategies.
2. Embracing New Trends: The experience underscored the significance of embracing new trends and technologies in marketing to stay relevant and engage modern audiences.
3. Visual Content’s Impact: Learning from using a digital camera emphasized the power of visual content in conveying messages and capturing attention, a principle applicable in marketing visuals.
4. Customer-Centric Approach: The insights gained reinforced the value of understanding customer preferences and tailoring strategies accordingly, reflecting a customer-centric marketing approach.
5. Continuous Learning: The digital camera purchase showcased the importance of continuous learning and staying updated in a dynamic field like marketing, enabling effective adaptation to changes.

Price It Right

You’ve got a great product, and you’re ready to sell it. But how much should you charge?

This is where the rubber meets the road in marketing. Price determines whether or not someone will buy your product, and if they do, it determines how much they’ll pay for it. 

It’s a tricky balance; sometimes you want to price low because of perceived value (like when Whole Foods charges more than Safeway).

But other times pricing low can backfire on you because customers might think there’s something wrong with what they’re buying (like when I bought an expensive pair of jeans that turned out to be made from cheap material).

In general, though, there are three main factors at play when choosing a price: cost of goods sold (COGS), profits per sale, and sales volume/market size

Understanding the fundamentals is key. Dive into our guide on What Marketing Research Is & How to Do It Step by Step to master the building blocks of effective research.

The First Experience

The first experience people have with a product or service is the most important one. It’s what a person will remember, and it’s what they’ll talk about with their friends. The first impression is what you want to focus on making as positive as possible.

For example, let’s say someone bought my book on Amazon and read through it as soon as they got it in the mail: “I just bought this book by Jeff Goins called Wrecked: 

When A Broken World Slams Into Your Comfortable Life…and What To Do About It…and I really enjoyed reading it!” That would be a good start for me as long as this person ends up giving me an honest review on Amazon afterward (not fake reviews those are bad).

Solve The Problem Of Non-Users

If you’re in the market for a new digital camera, check out my experience with the Canon PowerShot A710 IS. I bought this camera back in 2006 and still use it to this day. 

Why is it so special? Well, it’s because of the lens. The lens on this camera has a high-quality zoom that can go up to 20x optical zoom. 

When I first got this camera, I was amazed by how much detail could be seen when zooming into something far away like an animal or bird nest; it changed everything!

Leverage the power of social media for insights. Discover techniques in How to Use Social Media for Marketing Research to enhance your marketing strategies.

Keep It Simple

One of the things that I learned from my experience at Kodak is that you should always keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate things. Don’t add features that don’t add value to your product or service, especially if those features don’t make sense to your target audience.

Let’s take a look at what happened with Kodak’s digital camera:

It had way too many buttons and settings on it, which made it confusing for people who didn’t know much about cameras in the first place (which was most people).

The pictures taken with this camera came out blurry and grainy because they used noise reduction software that caused them to blur more than they should have been able to (the result was an unusable picture).

The camera was so big that no one could fit it into their pocket or purse without making their outfits look weird when they were out taking photos at places like weddings or parties where dressing up nicely is considered polite behavior by most people attending these events.”

Free Vs. Inexpensive

Over my 17 years as a photographer, I’ve learned that “free” is always better than “expensive.” Free attracts more people, makes them happier, and feels safer to buy from.

Free also allows you to make your customers feel like they are getting a bargain and that you are doing them a favor by offering your product or service at no charge.

The best example of this was when I started giving away free prints to anyone who purchased my book on photography techniques in 2007 (the first edition). 

It was one of the most successful marketing campaigns ever because it made people feel like they got something for nothing which we all love!

Don’t Bring A Knife To A Gun Fight

I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately about the importance of marketing and how it can help your business. I think that’s great, but I have one beef with most of them: they don’t start with what marketing is.

For example, here’s a recent article by Rand Fishkin about making your business stand out in the age of Amazon. He says: “The best way to get people talking about your product or service is through marketing whether that be social media, content creation, or something else entirely.”

Crafting catchy headlines matters. Learn from our guide on What Makes a Good Title: How to Write Headlines That Engage and Convert to capture your audience’s attention.

Design Your Product For Your Target Market

The first thing you have to do is design your product for your target market. This means making sure it’s really what they want, really what they need, and really what they will use.

It also means making sure that it’s something that is different than other products on the market and solves a problem in a way that makes them want to buy it from you instead of from someone else.

Once you have designed a product that meets all these criteria, then comes the hard part: selling it!

Power Of Ownership

The digital camera was the first product I owned, and it taught me an important lesson about marketing: people don’t just want to buy a product, they want ownership of it.

People love their stuff! They love the feeling of having something that belongs to them. Research shows that increased ownership is one of the strongest drivers of word-of-mouth marketing.

The key thing for marketers is how you can use this fact to your advantage and here’s where we get into some real truths about human nature:

Sales Sheets Are Important “Sales People”

Sales sheets are a useful tool for marketing, and when used correctly they can help you sell more products. Sales people are also important for marketing, and when used correctly they can help you sell more products.

The analogy goes further: if salespeople aren’t doing their job well, then neither will your sales sheets be effective. If your salespeople are doing their job well, then your sales sheets will be even more effective in selling those products!

Know Your Customer’s Pain Points And Speak To Them

One of the most important things to remember when marketing anything is knowing your audience. If you don’t know what they want, how can you speak to them?

That’s why I went back and looked at my digital camera sales for the past 17 years. From this data, I was able to see my customers’ pain points and speak directly to them about those issues.

Do Not Underestimate The Power Of Newness (Shock And Awe)

>The second thing I learned about marketing is that newness is powerful. Whether it’s a new product, service, or campaign; the feeling of “new” can be used to build trust quickly and drive brand awareness. 

It also builds an impression that you’re doing things differently than your competitors and gives you credibility as someone who is always pushing boundaries and innovating. 

As humans we all like to feel like we’re ahead of the curve; being able to offer something fresh will help in your messaging when trying to establish yourself as an authority on whatever topic it may be (in this case: photography).

Continuous learning is essential. Discover the value of education in Why Marketing Research Courses Are So Incredibly Valuable and stay ahead in the dynamic world of marketing.

Give Their Experiences Away For Free

I was in the process of building my business, and I wanted to try out a new marketing strategy: giving away my product for free. At the time I didn’t have enough customers or traffic to make it work, but I knew it would work eventually. 

The first thing I did was give away my first ten products for free and then something interesting happened.

People started writing articles about me and sharing their experiences with my product with other people they knew who had similar interests. That was exactly what I needed at that point in my startup journey free, organic exposure through word-of-mouth marketing! 

This is why some companies choose not only to give their products away but also give away their services as well. It’s a great way to get your brand name out there while earning yourself some nice reviews/testimonials along the way!

Work On The Brand Promise And Deliver On It Every Time

As the founder of a marketing agency, I’ve learned that if you can get your brand promise right and deliver on it every time, then you’re already on your way to making some serious money.

If you’re not sure what I mean by “brand promise,” let me explain: A brand is like a promise between you and your customers. You’re promising them something in return for their hard-earned money or attention. 

If they believe what you’re telling them about yourself, then they’ll buy from or talk about your business because they want to take advantage of what comes next the actual product or service itself.

For example: Let’s say I’m selling my new coffee blend called “Coffee Supreme” and I tell people that it’s going to make them feel relaxed and focused at the same time (which is scientifically possible). 

Then when people try it out for themselves and find that it does exactly what I said it would do that’s when my brand has delivered on its promise!

Make It Worthwhile To Own You In Different Categories You Can’t Own Them All

If you’re selling a digital camera, you can’t sell it in the same category as Apple or Samsung. You have to be different.

Why? Because there are only so many things that people need or want from a digital camera. And if everyone who sells these products wants to be in the same category, then there isn’t room for more than one player. 

In other words, if all the cameras were cars and all the car companies wanted to sell cars, then there wouldn’t be room for more than one brand of car on earth!

If you can convince your audience that they will get something special by buying from you rather than someone else, then great things await!

Do Not Be Afraid To Try New Things…Just Do It On The Side At First

A lot of people get nervous about trying new things. They think that if they fail, it will be a big deal. But I disagree. The only way to learn is by trying and failing. If you don’t try, then you don’t know what would have happened if you had tried!

It’s okay to fail as long as you’re not afraid of failure. That way, when something goes wrong (and it will), then all the knowledge that comes from the experience will be worth more than any short-term gain from not being willing to take risks

Don’t Hide Stupid, Unconsciously Improve It!

If you’re like me, you have a lot of stupid mistakes in your past. Maybe it’s something as minor as an embarrassing typo on a resume or as major as an ill-advised relationship that lasted way too long. We’ve all been there and we’ve all done things we’d rather not remember.

But here’s the thing: we can’t erase those moments from our lives, but we can learn from them and grow from them. 

When I started in the world of digital cameras back in 2008 (a time before selfies were even a thing), my first big mistake was trying to hide my lack of knowledge about what worked best when taking pictures with this fancy new toy. 

Since then, I’ve learned that it’s important, to be honest with yourself about what you don’t know and ask for help when needed!

I also used to think I had no idea how much money people paid for certain products or services; now I know better than anyone how much power is behind buying decisions (and just how much money they spend on things). 

This has helped me make smarter decisions about where my money goes and given me more confidence when negotiating deals for myself and others in business situations both large and small!

Identifying demand is a game-changer. Read about one marketer’s journey in How I Found the Market That Had a Demand for My Product to gain insights into market exploration.

Know What You Are Selling…Make Sure It’s Really What They Want (And Need) Before You Make It!

Have you ever been to a store and see something that you didn’t know you wanted, but after seeing it, suddenly needed it? 

Or perhaps what was once an affordable luxury has become an essential need as your family grows or changes over time. 

Whatever the case may be, if you are selling something online (or anywhere else), make sure that what you are offering is something people need, want, and can afford.


As a marketer, you have to keep up with trends, research what your competition is doing, and don’t be afraid to try things out for yourself. If you have any questions about my insights here or if there’s anything else I can help with, feel free to reach out. Cheers!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to explore for deeper insights into digital marketing and strategy:

Advancements in Digital Marketing Strategies
Description: Delve into the latest advancements and strategies in digital marketing with this comprehensive research article.

Digital Marketing Interview Questions
Description: Prepare for your digital marketing career with a list of common interview questions and expert answers.

10 Reasons for Digital Marketing Strategy
Description: Understand the significance of a well-defined digital marketing strategy and its impact on business growth.


Here are some frequently asked questions about digital marketing and strategy:

What are the key components of a digital marketing strategy?

A digital marketing strategy typically includes elements such as target audience identification, content creation, social media engagement, search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertising, and performance measurement.

How can digital marketing benefit small businesses?

Digital marketing provides a cost-effective way for small businesses to reach a broader audience, build brand awareness, generate leads, and compete with larger competitors on a level playing field.

What role does content play in digital marketing?

Content is a cornerstone of digital marketing. High-quality and relevant content, such as blog posts, videos, and infographics, can attract and engage audiences, boost SEO efforts, and establish authority in a niche.

How does data analytics contribute to digital marketing success?

Data analytics provides valuable insights into consumer behavior, campaign effectiveness, and ROI. By analyzing data, marketers can make informed decisions, optimize strategies, and tailor their approaches for better results.

Is social media an essential part of digital marketing?

Yes, social media is a vital component of digital marketing. It offers a platform for brand visibility, customer engagement, and communication. Social media channels allow marketers to connect with their target audience and promote their products or services.