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Problem Solving for an Equipment Manufacturer?

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Nakul Sood
Problem Solving for an Equipment Manufacturer?
on Jul 25, 2013 at 1:03:25 pm

Problem Solving for an Equipment Manufacturer?

This is an unusual post because I doubt many people would be in this situation, and I could certainly use some help. Creative Cow is the forum I have been using over the years and have got a lot of support from here for various problems.

About 7 years ago I used to be a cameraperson in New Delhi, India. There were things we couldn't afford to buy from the west as they were out of our budget, like shoulder braces and steadicams (at that time only film cameras would have follow focus units and matte boxes etc). I started making things that I felt I wanted for my needs. My first 2 devices were a tilting shoulder brace and a stabilizer for a Sony Z1. From there I thought, as an alternate income for the many lulls in paid work, I'd start making gear for others. This part time thing blossomed into a small sized manufacturing unit, which is where I currently am.

Our company is well known in India. Over a hundred indie feature films have been made on my gear, and word of mouth is sustaining us well.

My problem is that internationally we are not known and the various attempts I have made at marketing ourselves abroad haven't resulted in the kind of response I am hoping for. I've taken a banner ad on nofilmschool and written to several rental houses in the US, yet that has not resulted in substantial sales. Also most forums have a policy where if you are a manufacturer you can't post about your own product there.

We're a small company and haven't the resources to get Vincent Laforet and Philip Bloom to review our stuff (I did write to them), nor do we have the resources to have a very cost intensive ad campaign ala Kessler or Zacuto. Another thing which works against us I feel, is that we manufacture almost everything that gets used in Filmmaking. Most companies are famous for 2-3 products that they then make their niche. We have a broader range than any company I know. It's quite frustrating to see products that are sub standard in my eyes generate so much hype and very often i am making something better - cheaper, and it is not getting it's place in the world.

What would be enormously helpful if I could get some response as to how I can make inroads into the market internationally? And if there would be a forum where a company like mine can engage with customers and speak about product design and requirements in the field of what's needed? And if any one reading this would be interested in reviewing the things we make, please get in touch with us. The company is at http://www.embracecinemagear.com and I can be reached at embracecinemagear@gmail.com

Image Craft Without Compromise - Devices for Filmmaking
http://www.embracecinemagear.com


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Problem Solving for an Equipment Manufacturer?
on Jul 25, 2013 at 4:09:33 pm

Nakul -

Have you provided any demo versions of your products to people/companies who could give you high profile reviews or testimonials? That's one thought. Another would be to make your Blog posts more concise, and market based on how your products are better - I'm the type that reads an entire blog post, regardless of length - but most readers on the web are looking for short features and benefits to help differentiate your products from the competition's.

There are lots of similar products out there, although yours look to be innovative and high quality - you have to quickly get the competitive advantage points of your product across to a reader who is probably looking at ten different sites. Have you managed to get a review of your products on CheesyCam.com? That seems to be a site which generates a lot of sales from reviews - that said, some of the products reviewed tend to be in the lower price brackets, so your equipment might not fall into that category. But it's worth a try. Good luck!

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Steve Crow
Re: Problem Solving for an Equipment Manufacturer?
on Jul 25, 2013 at 7:13:32 pm

Hmmm, I am not sure I should be posting this but please take this in the spirit it is intended.

The first piece of advice I would have is that in order to make a mark in this crowded market you are going to have satisfy several no-compromise points to get our attention:

1. The quality of your materials and workmanship are top notch (no cheap plastic parts) and are of standard sizes so that they mix and match well with other manufacturers products

2. You can offer most of what the larger manufacturers can in terms of the gear's capability

3. That your company is reliable in shipping and customer support

4. Innovation - besides cost, give me a reason to choose your gear over a brand name I am more familiar with

5. Do all this cheaper than your competition - sell me on the VALUE of what you are offering! (I recall hearing in a business class once that value is the relationship between price and quality, in my mind a low cost solution that is also low quality isn't much of a value, it's just cheap. I know such gear will last for one or two jobs maybe and then I will have to replace it)

Zacutto, for instance, sets its prices high and is unapologetic about it. It works for them because their gear has a solid reputation and although customers moan and groan about the pricing (people like ME I mean!) they are constantly innovating and producing high quality stuff while positioning themselves as somewhat of an aspirational brand - meaning "one day when I make some real money I will replace all my cheapo cheesy-cam gear with Zacutto and Arri stuff and BOY will I show it off to anyone who cares (not my clients, they almost never care)" Look, I am not saying I am some marketing or business genius here because that would be a big fat lie but you asked so I'm responding!



Ok, all that is common sense right and applies to any manufacturer! I took a very QUICK look at your home page and your DSLR Kit (Basic) and here's what I noticed right away


* You absolutely must re-do the video of you putting together the rig and get rid of the music. I don't really learn all that much from seeing you put the rig together - instead why are you not showing me why I should buy this product? What are the benefits, features and how do I use it? Show me the quality of the material and workmanship, show me you understand what a pro or semi-pro shooter is looking for and then you will have a strong leg up on the competition.


* A couple of quick things I noticed about your cage:

The cage doesn't appear to have any or maybe just a few tapped mounting holes on the sides which, if present, would offer increased usability - also the handles look cheap

* Most everyone is doing the full wrap around cage, yet Arri and a few others are doing a neat thing where you can buy each side of the cage separately. Imagine 2 C shaped pieces that can be joined together if desired or I can just have the left or right hand side. That's the kind of innovation I am talking about

OK I am shutting up now, best of luck to you guys!

Steve Crow
Crow Digital Media
http://www.CrowDigitalMedia.com


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Sareesh Sudhakaran
Re: Problem Solving for an Equipment Manufacturer?
on Jul 26, 2013 at 10:43:50 am

"What would be enormously helpful if I could get some response as to how I can make inroads into the market internationally?"

Trade shows. Go to Singapore, Hong Kong, Chennai, Mumbai, NAB, Europe, whatever. A trade booth is a touring shop. Take your products around, make a splash. Your Philip Blooms and Vincent Laforets attend the major events, and that's a good time to impress them. It's hard work, and you'll have to start planning a year ahead at least.

If you can't afford that, then tie up with a partner who does this.

Simple question: why build many things when you could spend more time doing one thing very well? What is your outstanding product, better than any other on earth?

Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to Reds to the Arri Alexa.


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Nakul Sood
Re: Problem Solving for an Equipment Manufacturer?
on Sep 21, 2013 at 7:15:49 am

Hi Guys,

I'd like to thank you deeply for your thoughts, I shall incorporate them all as soon as I can. I'm sorry for taking so long to reply, there isn't a suitable answer for the delay.

My deepest gratitude.

Best Nakul

Image Craft Without Compromise - Devices for Filmmaking
http://www.embracecinemagear.com


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