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Marketing Mistakes: Selling Photos

Screen Shot 2020-05-04 at 9.50.18 AM
This came in an email. Below it were pictures of staff members and their reviews.

The Void virtual reality experiences are one of the most unique things I’ve ever done. The fifteen-or-so-minutes of virtual reality complete with sensations of heat, vibration, and smell are well worth the price.

Orlando has a location at Disney Springs and my oldest daughter and I have done the Star Wars experience (twice) as well as the Wreck it Ralph tour. Both are great. Both are highly recommended.

As the staff assists in removing the Oculus kit (it’s heavier than expected) they take your photo. Returning to the counter, guests can buy a print. From a numerical perspective, this is a great idea. Cameras are one-time costs and the additional time training staff and having them offer the service is zilch. This part of the business has great margins.

But it’s a mistake.

In college, I was a member of the ultimate frisbee club. It was tons of fun with great people but it was more fun to play than organize. One year I was goaded into being ‘club president’ which consisted of recruiting new players, requesting space from the university, and emailing other colleges to coordinate tournaments.

The recruiting part normally consisted of papering campus with fliers and table tents. But with limited funds and less interest, we passed on the paper and bought t-shirts instead. We created walking advertisements.

With limited funds, we focused on money’s fungibility.

That’s missing at The Void. Those photos should be free. The photos should be better. The photos should be the marketing. People can write about the experience and share word-of-mouth reviews but mediums matter.

Virtual reality could become the bowling alley of the next generation, a place to socialize, converse, and play. But places like The Void need to think long-term about marketing this, rather than think short-term about profiting.

Note: I don’t know what the rent costs, but it’s probably high given the locations. This, is something we addressed about restaurants

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