At a recent business networking event, a prominent businessman explained to me how the iPhone was the “professional” camera of the future… just snap a shot, or some video footage and upload it to Twitter, My Space, Facebook and your marketing is done.

Right. If all you want to do is be another face in the crowd.

One of the latest buzzwords (hype) to come down the pipeline from the various pundits is “Crowdsourcing”. Translated it means open the doors to everyone to produce the product, qualified or not. One of the latest “innovations” in stock photography is to open the door to anyone with a point and shoot camera over 3 megapixels and license the photos for less than a buck. There are currently millions of images of models on white backgrounds in duplicate poses. The smiling model with the headset must have been shot and uploaded to these sites at least 100,000 times. There are probably well over 20 million websites, brochures, billboards, etc with a version of that same photo. Economical? Yes. Effective? Hardly. Distinctive? Yeah right.

We live in a world with increasing “noise.” Marketing messages blast through on our cell phones, in our e-mail, any website, social networking site, movie, grocery shopping carts, urinal signs (yes, urinal signs), websites that serve up a barrage of ads as we try to navigate, pay-per-click ads littering our search results, pop-up ads, pop under ads, banner ads, scrolling across your screen as you try to read what’s below it ads, not to mention all the traditional channels. It’s noise, only noise. And just like the hum of the computer fan as I type this, we have have learned to shut it off.  We don’t even see it.  It is all the same!

Yes, it seems we have to play this game too or we are not even in the crowd. But if we want to win, our message has to stand out. Now, more than ever, our marketing messages have to be distinctive. Images have to cut through the noise, stop the viewer in his/her tracks, leave a lasting impression and motivate the audience to buy your product, or support your cause.

That will never happen with a cell phone snapshot. One well-planned and executed exceptional image is more effective than all the snapshots ever taken. Invest your marketing dollars wisely. Be distinctive, be effective.

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