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09-19-2012, 06:23 PM   #1
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How would you market the new Pentax dSLRs?

We have 3 new Pentax dSLRs and a Q10 with the K-30 and 2 K-5 models. How would you market them?

I'll start with two ideas:

1) I would always have a wet display whenever an onsite demo was happening. I understand that at Photokina, for example, none of the cameras were in a booth that simulated rain.

2) I would focus on making Penax synonymous with "Active" and do more with events like shooting a concert in the rain, or in incredibly poor light, or while skiing (nod to Denver & Golden).

09-19-2012, 06:31 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
I'll start with two ideas:

1) I would always have a wet display whenever an onsite demo was happening. I understand that at Photokina, for example, none of the cameras were in a booth that simulated rain.

2) I would focus on making Penax synonymous with "Active" and do more with events like shooting a concert in the rain, or in incredibly poor light, or while skiing (nod to Denver & Golden).
Right on the money. I always thought that Pentax should focus on the outdoor/active market. They need to do something like the GoPro camera too or buy them out. they also need to come out a WR wide angle lens, redo the 12-24 and make it so
09-19-2012, 06:59 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
How would you market them?
At our interview, Pentax told us that due to the success of the K-5 in the past, they decided to re-launch the body and address the top two customer complaints: AF performance and outdoor screen visibility. Given the fact that the camera's weather-sealing is a big selling point, they are especially proud of the new screen, which has both a wider viewing angle and lower reflectance.

They also said that in its current incarnation, the Prime M is not designed to work with the high-sensitivity sensor in the K-5. Thus, in order to maintain the same good image quality, they decided the Prime II would be a better fit.

I wasn't planning on posting this quite yet, but you can see the difference clearly.
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PENTAX K-30  Photo 

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09-19-2012, 07:05 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
They also said that in its current incarnation, the Prime M is not designed to work with the high-sensitivity sensor in the K-5. Thus, in order to maintain the same good image quality, they decided the Prime II would be a better fit.
So the K-5 sensor is not the same as the one in the K-01? The K-5 is more sensitive?

09-19-2012, 07:06 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
At our interview, Pentax told us that due to the success of the K-5 in the past, they decided to re-launch the body and address the top two customer complaints: AF performance and outdoor screen visibility. Given the fact that the camera's weather-sealing is a big selling point, they are especially proud of the new screen, which has both a wider viewing angle and lower reflectance.

They also said that in its current incarnation, the Prime M is not designed to work with the high-sensitivity sensor in the K-5. Thus, in order to maintain the same good image quality, they decided the Prime II would be a better fit.

I wasn't planning on posting this quite yet, but you can see the difference clearly.
Adam, those all make perfect sense. Thank you for sharing that information.
09-19-2012, 07:08 PM   #6
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Check the pic, just uploaded it.

QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
So the K-5 sensor is not the same as the one in the K-01? The K-5 is more sensitive?
It's got 14-bit RAW and a wider ISO range, and according to them, yes it is.

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09-19-2012, 07:13 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Adam, those all make perfect sense. Thank you for sharing that information.
NP- check out that photo too, I couldn't get it uploaded at first due to poor internet.

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09-19-2012, 08:47 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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I have to break ranks with the "niche" paradigm. Pentax cameras are not niche material; they just aren't. Trying to be "niche" is/was really a horrible plan by Pentax to begin with. Leica is niche. Leica pulls $8K for a rangefinder without a lens. RED is niche. RED pulls $40K for a monochrome "brain".

The Pentax market is, and always has been, a photographic generalist one. Pentax makes damned good cameras with damned good feature sets, at damned good price points and it has a decent enough lineup of lenses to satisfy the needs of the majority of photographers in the world. But John Q Public doesn't even know they exist. Brand recognition and consumer education are what will catapult Pentax forward and fund R&D to carry the brand forward.

If Pentax wants to grow its market then it has to put its cameras into the hands of the public at large. It needs the K30 and K-5 sitting right next to Nikon and Canon APS cameras in the display cases, and it needs camera sales people guiding customers' eyes and hands toward the Pentax labels.

Pentax needs to wake up and grow up. For the past five years all that Pentax has really cared about is their sales in Japan. If that's where they actually want to focus then fine, go be a Japanese camera company. But if they intend to actually participate in the global marketplace then they've got to invest in the global markets.

  • Incentivize brick and mortar camera dealers, and the major electronics box store chains, to stock them on their shelves in prominent locations, and train their employees to promote and sell them.
  • Set the MAP 10% below the competition so there's enough of a price differential to get some attention. You can gradually raise prices up to "market" value once you start getting some market share.
  • Advertise on US prime-time television 2 or 3 days a week, on each major network to start some buzz with a little smack talk.
  • Hold workshops and seminars in these same brick and mortar stores to demonstrate Pentax' strengths and dispel the myths.

In other words, put together an actual brick and mortar marketing campaign and start driving consumer traffic to the brand. Because, it's about time I started hearing people say "Hey, is that a Pentax you've got?" again.

09-19-2012, 10:04 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Assuming they made me in charge of Pentax USA marketing:
  1. Capitalize on the tough weather resistant reputation by marketing to those that appreciate it. Outdoors-people. Cabella's and Bass Pro Shops both have optics counters bigger than most camera stores with dedicated, knowledgeable. salespeople. They have $5,000 spotting scopes sitting on the counter. And at least Cabella's has no cameras in store. Pentax should have a dedicated 4' section of glass counter in each store even if they have to pay for it. Loaded with WG-2 and k-30 & k-5II. With screen running video of hunters, fishermen and sports enthusiasts using the cameras in extreme environments. No brags, just show me.
  2. As noted above Pentax MUST be available in stores for people to pick up and handle. Even if it is only the k-01, Q & k-30 they MUST have shelf space at major retailers backed up by promotional POP, a video playing, maybe a dedicated free standing display. It does not have to be all models, probably should not be, just enough to actually have an in store presence. They need to be in Fry's, Best Buy, and any other major chain they can get space in.
  3. Pentax also needs to re-establish itself in the remaining brick & mortar camera stores. This is a small market, but people who shop these stores are dedicated photographers, many of whom started with Pentax, its not too late to bring some of those back into the fold, they likely have a few k-mount lenses in the closet anyway. Not a lot of money here but these are the folks other people ASK when they want to buy a camera, they are not necessarily a sale but they are a sales enabler.
  4. They should take advantage of the rabid bunch of loyal fans here and other where. Pentax is an underdog, they need a cheering section more than anybody else I can think of. It would not take much to ignite a real ground swell of enthusiasm if they reached out to the community. Do that by taking some polls, asking the community what they think, what products are important. Ask the community to help get out the word, and help push the brand. Show the fans that they actually care about them.
  5. Improve service times dramatically, in the US we have only CRIS I think and I often see turn around times of 6 weeks or more discussed. That is utterly unacceptable. No less than 1 week in the shop not counting shipping time. We have a Ricoh copier in the office and when it has issues it is fixed in 24 hours, no excuses. Yes, we pay for that, but I rely on my camera no less than that copier. I cannot be without a tool that important for 6 weeks.
  6. Pentax needs a national advertising campaign. Unfortunately until they get cameras in stores it would simply be a waste of money to buy TV or radio spots. The amount of money needed to do it properly would be astronomical and then a consumer could not find it to buy anyway. So shelf space, then consistent advertising as the budget allows
  7. I have to disagree with the above post. ALL marketing is NICHE marketing. Find an angle and play it for all it is worth. Pentax has several strong points that could be turned into real niche advertising campaigns. First, WR and everything that goes along with it, find out who that is important to and market specifically to them. Second, ergonomics, Pentax FITS better for many people, run a campaign comparing a D4 or 1Dx with the k-30. Yes, I know all the gear heads here will go berserk because "IT'S NOT THE SAME". So what? This is marketing. Show some poor soccer mom struggling with a D4 and another smiling with her little k-30 that so perfectly fits her hands. Third, the limited lenses, small excellent quality, and a huge advantage the competition cannot match, at least yet. Run a campaign showing pro photogs changing out their limiteds compared to huge lenses of the competition. Again, gear heads here will go berserk. Again, so what. Pentax is the underdog if they don't start scrapping they will starve.
09-19-2012, 10:59 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I have to disagree with the above post. ALL marketing is NICHE marketing. Find an angle and play it for all it is worth. Pentax has several strong points that could be turned into real niche advertising campaigns.
...
Pentax is the underdog if they don't start scrapping they will starve.
I don't disagree with what you're saying here about marketing. Yes, targeted ads do focus on a niche - a distinct market segment - but Pentax as a brand isn't tailored to fit a single niche market.
My K20D is equally adept for covering sports as it is weddings as it is wildlife as it is architecture as it is studio portraiture. It handles all of those genres equally.

I wholeheartedly agree that Pentax needs to seriously up their game and confront the competition head-on over specs and value. Toss in things like weather proofing, in-body stabilization, size/weight advantages, superior ergonomics and controls to add punch.
Show a Pentaxian and a Canonite standing in the rain, at a little league football game. Show the Pentaxian capturing a touchdown catch at 7fps, while the Canon shooter wrestles their umbrella and/or camera condom. While that is certainly niche marketing, it doesn't imply Pentax is only for sports.
What Hoya tried to do though was assert that Pentax was "the outdoor adventure" camera company, which was a load of crap. It turned off people looking at the brand from the outside, and it marginalized those of us in the brand who don't give a damn about birds and squirrels and snowy peaks.
09-19-2012, 11:04 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I'd market Pentax gear as the "smart choice":
  • Want to pay for image stabilisation with each lens you buy? Don't buy a Pentax then.
  • Don't want to have image stabilisation for fast primes and wide angle lenses? Don't buy a Pentax then.
  • Want to hide your gear in the bag at the first rain drops? Don't get a Pentax then.
  • Don't want to have optimal camera ergonomics? Don't get a Pentax then.
  • Want to carry large and heavy equipment? Don't buy the incredibly small and excellent Pentax Limited lenses then.
  • Don't want to have access to millions of classic lenses on the used market? Don't get a Pentax then.
  • Want to pay an arm and a leg for your equipment? Don't go for Pentax then (but Pentax needs to make this true buy abandoning their current silly MSRP policy).
09-20-2012, 03:10 AM   #12
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I think that more important than how exactly it is marketed is that it gets marketed at all. It needs to be marketed to people, not only mentioned in photography magazines (since most people buying those are already photographers, have already chosen and invested in a brand). Pentax needs to have an onslaught of ads where their product looks modern, attractive, and elegant; with text highlighting the things that sets it apart from other cameras, like WR, better viewfinder coverage, better dynamic range, better ISO, etc. And this needs to be on billboards, in electronic store chains, flyers, websites that have almost nothing to do with photography,..
09-20-2012, 03:17 AM   #13
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Some great ideas here! I appreciate the thoughtfulness and passion of many of the responses.

One point that I haven't seen mentioned are colours! Pentax can really capitalize on that aspect for the K-30 & Q-10.
09-20-2012, 04:12 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venturi Quote
Incentivize brick and mortar camera dealers, and the major electronics box store chains, to stock them on their shelves in prominent locations, and train their employees to promote and sell them.
QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Unfortunately until they get cameras in stores it would simply be a waste of money to buy TV or radio spots.
Although I agree with this in theory, in practice cameras except for P/S are disappearing fast from these kind of stores
Also those brick and mortar stores are disappearing fast! Where are these brick and mortar stores that people are talking about. I tried for a while to go see a sony nex-7 at best buy but they never got around to carrying it. They had a total of 2 canon and 2 nikon cameras available to handle at best buy. They looked dusty too as it looked like not a lot of people were looking at it in this kind of consumer store. Better than nothing I suppose. People were mostly in the P/S section. dslrs are a niche item...

Ritz Camera Liquidation Approved After Second Bankruptcy - Bloomberg

Best Buy's massive losses: Can new CEO Hubert Joly save the company? - The Week

Same in the UK:

UK retail chain Jacobs closes down all stores - British Journal of Photography

Jessops confirms more store closures | Photography news - Camera news, photo news and photography events | Amateur Photographer
09-20-2012, 07:44 AM   #15
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- Different marketing messages for different niches is the obvious way forward. For example you'd put a different ad into the hypothetical "climber's weekly" than you might into a hypothetical "wedding photography weekly"
- Bundling - they should team up with filter people ans sell a landscape bundle, or wedding bundle with flashes, or birding bundle with tripod etc
- product placement, they really ought to have a look at people who attract positive pentax attention on say twitter, flickr, 10x, and give them cameras to try out, shout about etc. I have 30,000 twitter followers for goodness sake.
- online they should be developing thought leader/how to websites about what pentax is good at. Ie landscape photography the pentax way. Dead easy to do, cheap.
- obviously there's room for hitting them where it hurts (in body sr vs. per lens) but you have to be careful with negative advertising, regRdless of how good the message I found it never performs
- 18-30 sector needs some pentax loving. If you're 60+ you know what Pentax is, not if you're 18-30.
- reexamination of current customers and examine what they need/lack
- more devolved new product development. Afaik emea, us have little say into this. Perhaps if theywanttosell there they might listen to them more
- enthusiast hobbyist camera anoraks like us as recognised niche, with product development forus
- add the basics like a TC, extension tubes, tethering. It's embarassing
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