While attending the first annual Integrated Marketing Week event last week, I was asked about my target audience by a business development manager from a Japanese digital agency. Entering that morning’s festivities, I would have answered graphic designers and creative directors from companies, big and small. But after spending just a few hours watching slides and speaking with marketers of all backgrounds, I wound up with a radically different response: “Everyone,” I told him.
No matter what the company is, or how large the size, everyone I spoke with used images and videos in some way. Whether it was for brochures, their websites, PowerPoint presentations or demos, they all had projects that called upon dazzling imagery to help get the job done. Most striking for me, though, was a comment made by a sales executive visiting from a Boston startup who told me that the pictures his company uses were subpar and he was in dire need of new, more dynamic materials. Only once he saw some of the ways others were using images to brighten up their slides, business cards, and other data did he realize it was time for an upgrade.
For anyone looking to sell their product or service, it’s worth considering how to better use imagery to convey a message or a story. The keynote at Wednesday morning’s session was delivered by Martine Reardon, CMO for Macy’s, a brand that’s been highlighted by many for its successful collaboration between its physical and digital stores. Reardon stated that she prefers to tell stories through video, and she threw in some sizzle reels that demonstrated how Macy’s is localizing both its content and its conversations with consumers.
After hearing how different people are turning to different types of imagery in their content marketing, I was inspired to keep that conversation going throughout the event. Integrated marketing requires a certain consistency and brand voice. What people might overlook at times, however, is how much of an impact the right pictures can have in luring in new customers. It’s not only time for many marketers to rethink which images they use; they should also be dreaming up new ways to get images in more prominent and pronounced positions inside of their marketing materials. Strong copy can only stand out when accompanied by the right visuals. Otherwise, your message quickly drops from unforgettable to barely memorable.
Danny Groner is the manager of blogger partnerships and outreach for Shutterstock and Bigstock. He encourages everyone to consider how they achieve visual storytelling in the age of desktop editing and publishing. Continue the conversation by following him on Twitter @DannyGroner.