Follow Up: Jamie Kripke’s Handmade Promo

by Heather on June 10, 2010

Oh I had another nice Ask an Art Buyer Video Podcast in the works for you yesterday but after 5 attempts and Photo Booth crapping out on each one, I’m abandoned video until I learn to work in iMovie. If anyone knows why my Photo Booth is cutting out at random spots, please advise.

Regardless, it was about promotion and I will get back to it. In the meantime though, I want to follow up on a reference Jaime made last week about a handmade promo he saw from Jamie Kripke. I asked Jamie to send some pics. Make sure you click to see them bigger:

I’ve spent some time with Jamie via his thoughtful blog and so I knew there would be some method behind this hand-made madness. I asked for some more info:

As for some background on the promo, I’d been hearing about other photographers whose ISP’s were shutting down their accounts because they were sending out so many email promos. Which kind of bummed me out. And I was getting tired of the Modern Postcard thing as well, each time I’d do a mailing, I’d picture a giant box of cards going right into the landfill. Which also bummed me out. I wanted to design a promo that was the antithesis to the shotgun email / direct mail approach. Something handmade and personal, where each promo is totally unique.

I’ve been sending these out to PE’s, AB’s, AD’s, and GD’s for about a year and a half. The list consists of about 100 people that I’ve either worked with, or want to work with, and is changing as people move around. I try to do around 20-30 a month. They take a long time to make (no delete button on the Royal typewriter) but I enjoy making them. The notes can be just to say hi, or something totally random.

The response has been great. People love them and go out of their way to say so — one AD said it was the “coolest promo he’d ever seen.” Other AB’s have told me they are up on their wall. As for bringing in work, all I can say is that when I send them out, I usually get 4 or 5 emails back to say thanks for sending them, and at some point I’ll get a call I wasn’t really expecting. No one has called and said “I got your promo and we want to hire you because of it” but with marketing being a cumulative process, I feel that these cards have really helped tip the scale.

One example that comes to mind is when Michael Norseng from Esquire called. I’d been wanting to work with him for years, and had been in touch via postcard promos, emails, visits to NY, typewritten cards, etc. I wrote a post about this a while back (find it here)

I’m pretty sure Mike called because one of these typewritten cards showed up on his desk at the right time. But who knows. Even after all that effort, when he called with a job, I was still surprised. There are a lot of talented photogs are out there, and I’ve been to the offices of magazines and agencies and I’ve sifted through the drawers full of marketing and promo efforts, and I’ve seen the flood of emails that inundate AB’s, AD’s, and PE’s. After seeing that, it’s hard to set expectations too high for any single marketing effort.

The best part about this story is the bit in bold above: he enjoys making them. The other thing to note is that they haven’t necessarily brought him any work. Attention, yes and that’s a good thing but it’s important to keep in mind that since we moved away from payola and kickbacks, there’s no silver bullet to get work. As Jamie says, this is a cumulative process.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jaime Hogge June 10, 2010 at 9:23 am

Thanks for featuring this a little more in depth than I could in my post. When I got my general idea I started searching around for “hand made photographer promos” and Jamie’s was the only I found (I found some books which were great, but not what I was looking for).

Personally I think it’s fantastic and after emailing him it really gave me some reassurance in what I was doing (more on that in my post this week) – I’m really glad to hear that there is an appreciation out there for the amount of time and effort that clearly goes into making these things. Plus, yeah, making stuff is fun!

D.A.Wagner June 10, 2010 at 10:59 am

Thanks to Jamie for his candor that these brilliant, highly personal mailers have not NECESSARILY brought him any work, it’s a cumulative process. And that’s the key. Recently I discovered that my marketing efforts are working and creatives remember my work and name. That’s the first step – being remembered – when the right job shows up on that creative’s desk. Think Coca Cola, McDonalds and Band-Aid. Even if you don’t use those brands, you know the name.

Grant June 10, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Love it.

Thanks Jamie. It’s stuff like this that makes me feel like my thoughts are in the right place.

Andrew Todd June 12, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Great promo Jaime. It was funny to see these photos you took of them. I’ve just been working on a mockup for a musician’s website who I’ve done some shoots for. See if you can spot the similiarities.

(the photo section is the only working link at the moment)

Direct Mail August 17, 2010 at 6:58 am

Love the simplicity of it, great direct marketing piece very nicely put together.

I would definately sit up and take notice of this sort of direct mail if it landed on my desk.

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