Name: Michelle Loufman
Title / Role: Marketing Director
Company: KP Photo Inc
1. Why did you join the AMA? It’s first worth mentioning that I’m solely in charge of marketing and new business development (B2B) for our small commercial photography studio, and it’s easy to fall into a silo. I joined the AMA to stay connected with other marketing professionals, understand changes in technology and learn about best practices in our industry. It's reassuring that we all have marketing challenges, even if the formula is different for each of us. The pleasant side effect of connecting with people in similar roles is that those relationships lead to new business opportunities for KP Photo.
2. How do you engage with the AMA to get the most from your membership? Or favorite aspect of being a member of the AMA? On a surface level, the AMA newsletters and website contain rich content that address many of the challenges I face at work. The Marketer’s Toolkit has been a great resource as I begin the process for rebranding and to better understand our sales cycle. I’m excited to attend more events this year to dialogue with marketing pros.
3. Are there any special work projects or initiatives you are working on or recently completed that you’d like to share with the AMA membership? I’m really proud of an event that shines a spotlight on our studio’s culture, in addition to being a very fun new business development tool. KP Photo hosts a biennial Fine Art Show to cultivate the creative talents of our employees beyond the day-to-day work. We transform the entire studio into an art gallery and feature each employees’ artistic creations — all for sale — and to benefit a local non-profit. It’s free to the public and it’s one heck of a party.
I launched new and much-needed e-commerce site, and managed the branding and marketing communications, in addition to the event coordination with the help of some amazing people. It was also a great way to involve community partners and vendors in a united cause, and getting media coverage (live segment!) was awesome. In addition to providing more than 30,000 meals to Northeast Ohio, the KP Photo Fine Art Show resulted in new business activity. On a personal level, despite my background in marketing, I personally sold several pieces of artwork.
4. List three interesting facts about you.
1) I am a proud Clemson University graduate, and given our recent National Championship, it’s more exciting than ever to be a Tiger.
2) I’ve successfully launched my own photography business, MML Photography, and I’m proud of my work, despite having no “formal” training in photography. Although I still have a lot of room to grow, pouring myself into a new creative endeavor feeds my desire to be a continuous learner and actually helps me be more creative during my “9 to 5”.
3) I like to travel to exotic places that challenge my life of comfort and my world view. In the past few years, my husband and I have been to Indonesia and Africa. Frankly, it’s very unnerving to be a minority in a country where you don’t know the language. The overwhelming need and poverty in third-world areas is eye-opening. My husband and I were in Zanzibar during a very tense (and violent) political election. I’m talking gunshots. After each trip, I come back more grateful that I live in a country as wonderful as the U.S. We have it good, people.