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Some thoughts on Leica's current marketing efforts


John Ricard

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I realize that no one on this forum knows me, since I never post here. But I put gave thoughts about Leica's marketing on my most recent podcast. If you'd like to check it out, it can be viewed/heard here:

 

My main points were:

 

  • Creating a "You and Leica M" hashtag rather than a "Me and Leica M" hashtag showed Leica still doesn't really "get" social media.
     
  • The constant reverence for the past that Leica promotes is tired and not really necessary.
     
  • Designing the M240 to have fewer buttons than a film Leica was brilliant engineering.
     
  • Leica doesn't have to be perceived as the "dentist camera" brand. If they would work a bit harder to get their cameras into the hands of working pros, they might convert more pros to their brand.

We discuss some other stuff as well, but those were some of the major points. If you have time, check out the clip.

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As for your last point, pros are great for the brand image, but they are not where the money is for any camera company.

 

And fewer buttons than a film Leica?:confused: I count one on my M3: the lens release....

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As for your last point, pros are great for the brand image, but they are not where the money is for any camera company.

 

And fewer buttons than a film Leica?:confused: I count one on my M3: the lens release....

 

Must be hard to take pictures without a shutter button !

 

 

Pros are not where the money is, we tend to buy two or three bodies, and work them into the ground, then replace them with the newer version 3-5 years later (although we are certainly affected by GAS as badly as anyone else)

The money is in the amateur market, people who don't really get to know their camera, but are instead chasing the next new thing to improve their photography (a new lens, body, flash, filter etc)

 

most professionals wouldn't shoot with a Leica anyway, they are just too expensive (M240 and a summarit, or 1DX and 70-200 - if I wasnt supplied with my gear, I would certainly be picking up the 1DX. As much as I love my M, the 1d is much more versatile, the only places it doesn't win are shutter noise, size and weight) although the S appears to be comparable to the Hasselblad and Phaseone (from the limited research I have done, I don't think I will ever be in the market for a MFDSLR)

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As I've already pointed out if the pro version of the camera, as in M9-P and new M-P, appears only a year before the next model arrives it can hardly be a pro camera in Leica's mind anyway. Of course the P version is an intentional afterthought, aimed at milking sales late in the day, but it shows how Leica are willing to traduce the word 'professional' and make it meaningless.

 

Steve

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I think the pro market is important not for sales, but for status. You see a lot of Nikon and Canon ads showing pros shooting from helicopters, pros shooting at the North Pole, pros shooting celebrities, etc. These companies know that this isn't the type of shooting that the typical buyer is doing, but people want to use the same brand that top pros all over the world are using.

 

Leica understands that people want to use a camera whose brand has been respected historically. This is pretty much their entire marketing platform. It seems to me, showing current pros using the cameras in cool ways would further the brand -not hurt it. For every person who wants the "dentist camera", there's another buyer who avoids the brand because of that same stigma.

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Haven't you heard? Leica like Montblanc is a premium brand that doesn't actually have a mainstream marketing program.

Their marketing is very subtle and is hitting their target demographic reliably.

 

If the recent decline in value of their second hand lenses is anything to go by then Leica must doing something right. ;)

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... It seems to me, showing current pros using the cameras in cool ways would further the brand -not hurt it. ...

They already do; many major releases are accompanied by a Magnum or other notable photographer using the new product. Oh, and Seal. I leave it to others to decide whether this endorsement strategy is effective since the product is provided gratis and it's unclear whether the notable photog would continue to use the product professionally.

 

Pete.

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If the recent decline in value of their second hand lenses is anything to go by then Leica must doing something right. ;)

 

Not sure about that. If you talk to any good dealer, they'll tell you that Leica sales are very slow this year – both new and used.

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Not sure about that. If you talk to any good dealer, they'll tell you that Leica sales are very slow this year – both new and used.

 

That may be true for the UK but we've got a brand new Leica dealer in Adelaide and he can't get enough stock.

For instance, he's already pre sold all of his allocated Leica M-Ps and his lens stock is diminishing by the day.

 

He's also got a lovely Monochrome that's been used for display only with my name on it :D

 

Oh, and he's a good dealer in a well established shop. ;)

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Not sure about that. If you talk to any good dealer, they'll tell you that Leica sales are very slow this year – both new and used.

 

I'm not surprised, I think the 'T' deflated many enthusiasts enthusiasm and made them look elsewhere for the yearly kit upgrade. And then the nonsense of the new naming structure is starting to feed in, with potential new Leicaphiles not having any clear idea of what a new Leica is called, they are still looking for an M10 and think the 'M' is a niche product alongside the M9 (no, seriously many who have no keen interest in the brand but otherwise know their cameras can't place the M in a hierarchy without having it explained, by which time their eyes have glazed over).

 

Steve

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  • 2 weeks later...
That may be true for the UK but we've got a brand new Leica dealer in Adelaide and he can't get enough stock.

For instance, he's already pre sold all of his allocated Leica M-Ps and his lens stock is diminishing by the day.

 

He's also got a lovely Monochrome that's been used for display only with my name on it :D

 

Oh, and he's a good dealer in a well established shop. ;)

 

Is that the shop in the central market?

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