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Arthur Reed Photography
Capturing a new market
Arthur Reed Photos was started in 1960 by Arthur Reed and was an industry leader, always at the forefront of technology.
The business became famous for its school photography, including portraits, class groups, whole school photos, team photos, ID cards and school administration products.
Arthur’s son Michael joined the business at 17, straight from school. After starting in the film processing area, he worked as a photographer for 20 years before becoming a manager and eventually taking over the leadership of the business from his father, who remained hands-on until his passing in 2013.
Today the business continues to provide families with high quality photos, now taken on top of the range Canon equipment. It has 95 employees.
Arthur Reed Photos has also expanded into student and teacher diaries, graduation gowns and sashes, framing, graduation rings and event ticket systems. It sells locally and interstate, producing in-house.
Arthur’s granddaughter, Stephanie Reed, is now marketing and communications manager. “Being one of the largest school photography businesses in Australia means that we have fantastic staff with diverse backgrounds, bringing different skills and knowledge to our business,” she says.
“Having our own production facility allows us to have complete control over the end products that are being sent to our customers. It also means that we have the ability to customise products and work closely with our customers to reach their desired results.”
The business is very successful but Michael and his team wanted it to be even better. Despite its success, Arthur Reed Photos felt that in a changing industry it was time to focus their marketing efforts with a formal marketing plan.
General Manager Jason Butcher, who previously worked for Business Victoria, suggested SBMS and Stephanie and Jason were matched with mentor Katya Ellis.
“We wanted to create a blueprint for our business and have clear goals and ways of measuring each one,” Stephanie says. “We needed some guidance as we didn’t feel comfortable completing it on our own.”
As a talented retail and marketing all-rounder, Katya has held many marketing and business management roles with an emphasis on project, event, staff and partnership management, both locally and internationally.
SBMS is a non-government, non-profit organisation of volunteer expert mentors who give their time and experience to help small business. It is supported by Small Business Victoria, which refers clients to it.
Katya, Stephanie and Jason had three sessions over two months and mentoring is continuing. Arthur Reed Photos is very established, so the mentoring helped them develop a strategic marketing plan to support the business’s objectives.
Katya reviewed the business offerings and customer service and how they could be improved and add a point of difference. They also covered:
- Competitor analysis.
- Online marketing
- Previously completed SWOT to determine strategies
- Current staff sales methods.
- Options around A/B testing marketing campaigns.
- Confirming actions for a different branch of the business to focus on in the off-season.
Katya says Stephanie and Jason have completed their marketing plan and identified relevant action steps and a timeline to complete them.
“Developing a marketing plan is an essential way for businesses to review their product offering and current approaches to marketing, what is working or not, and analyse what their competitors are doing,” Katya says.
“From this review clear strategies begin to become apparent, and having clear strategies means you can break it down to step-by-step action plan and test and measure your results, which is critical for making the most of your marketing budget.”
Stephanie says Katya provided a framework to work within as well as consistency across the organisation. “The forms of measurement that are being utilised and put in place can also be applied to many others areas of the business,” she says.
“Writing this plan has allowed us to create a blueprint of where we want to go and what we would like to achieve. It has provided great insight as to where we are in the marketplace now as well as ensuring that we have a clear vision and goals that align closely with our newly developed mission statement.”
Stephanie says it’s the first time targets have been set across different departments, and the sales team now has clear goals based on financial growth, customer growth and loyalty.
As part of the process she and Jason also worked on defining their customers, including schools and parents. “We had to redefine each different customer … and determine strategies to reach each one,” Stephanie says.
“Our main objective was to write the plan ourselves, but have someone to guide us along the way and make sure that we were heading in the right direction. Katya provided us with fantastic guidance, and we felt that she has been a perfect fit for us and the tasks that we wanted to achieve.”
Arthur Reed Photos now has marketing collateral to ensure that everything within the business is aligned with its vision of the future, including catalogues, flyers and pull up banners.
“We have developed different discounts to offer our customers and many more services that we can now offer schools which we didn’t have in place,” Stephanie says.
It is too early to tell if the new material has affected enquiries, bookings and sales. But Stephanie is confident it will.
“It has given us the opportunity to take a step back and evaluate exactly where we are in the marketplace and how we are going to improve and restructure to be where we want to be,” she says. “We now have clear financial and customer goals that will be measured quarterly, as well as campaigns that can be executed throughout the year.
“Before SBMS we had no clear definitive plan of where we wanted to go or how we were going to get there. What Katya has done for us is guided us through writing a complete strategy and giving us ideas on how we can improve processes and ideas for different campaigns.”
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