Daniel van Dijkman – Kamera Express

Daniel van Dijkman – Kamera Express

Daniel van Dijkman is Director Marketing and E-Commerce at Kamera Express, an omnichannel photo- and videography retailer with 21 stores across the Benelux and Germany and operating under the brands Kamera-Express.nl, Photospecialist.com and GMfoto.de. Daniel joined the company just a year ago to support its growth ambitions and help maintain its leading position in the Netherlands and expand business in Belgium and Germany.

Main KPIs for brand growth

With private equity as a shareholder, the main focus for Kamera Express is on top-line revenue and EBITDA margins. Keeping costs low, while maximising revenue, Daniel says: “We have a strong focus on these metrics and it is now up to the team and me to achieve and over-perform our KPIs for marketing and E-com. Our financial TL KPIs translate to sales, customer lifetime value and NPS. For E-commerce, we have a clear set of KPIs and targets. On both acquisition and retention of our clients, again translated to the different teams and specialists.” When it comes to marketing, Daniel faces some challenges: “When I first joined the company, I had a lot of questions and wanted to understand who our customers were and what their journey and motivation is, but I had more questions than answers. So, one of the first things I did was to explore all the data we have and try to find answers to the questions we had. This also resulted in the addition of a marketing intelligence analyst who now helps us to understand and interpret the internal and external data better. As a result, the KPIs and results were visualised in dashboards and reports, but we didn’t have enough insight into our full funnel and customer behaviour. It was only recently we conducted extensive consumer research. We are now uncovering more and more, and by keeping it simple, we notice that the rest of the organisation is starting to take notice. This helps us to create better campaigns and content. Historically, we have mostly focused on the end of the funnel, our sales platform, our stores, but we noticed that we have opportunities in the orientation process. We need to invest more into different content to improve top of mind awareness and consideration for certain client segments, which are the most important KPIs for the brand team at this stage. As we have a long history of focusing on the short term results, tomorrow’s sale and today’s campaign, it is a challenge to correlate the effects of long-term content and marketing efforts to those financial KPIs.”

“We have a long history of focusing on the short term, making it is a challenge to correlate the effects of long-term efforts to financial KPIs.”

Kamera Express is a proud sponsor of the Dutch tv show ‘Het Perfecte Plaatje’ (The Perfect Image), for a few years now, and have noticed a big impact, Daniel adds: “Millions of people watched the show last year, as the stay at home measures were also in place. We have built a full proposition around the show and have seen its impact, which you can then argue and validate that investing in the brand and top of mind awareness, pays off. Where we historically had a peak spend in Q4 for Black Friday and the holidays, we now also launched a big campaign in May this year. We used the celebration of our 25th anniversary, and the campaign has not only exceeded all sales targets, but we see a positive effect in top of mind awareness within our most important target groups. The part that challenges us is that we need to show that the investment on that entire journey eventually leads to realising those financial KPIs. Awareness and consideration are our tools to realise that top line.”

Competitive field

Daniel mentioned the company recently conducted an extensive study among consumers and potentials, and with all the data they now have available, managed to create better consumer segments insights, and personas. Daniel explains: “In the professional photo- and videographer segments our consideration is very high. We now understand our potential better in the other customer segments and the actions we need to take to reach these better with the right message. This translates into a more balanced approach to the different segments and communication during their journey. With all this testing, we hope to better understand how our customers behave, how their CLTV develops over time and how they respond to our other services (rental and photo imaging).” When it comes to their competitive field, Daniel shares that Kamera Express sees itself as ‘King of the niche’: “In contrast to some other big players, photo and video products are our main products and our colleagues in the shops are often photographers themselves, making us the true specialists in this field.”

“Especially in the lower segment products, people tend to start at those broader retail players in the orientation phase, as they have bought other household products from them in the past”, Daniel continues. “So, we have our work cut out. Through the insights we gained doing the study, we launched the ‘Instapweken’ (starter weeks) in July, a full starter proposition for cameras between €500 – €1500, very attractive packages with the right accessories, photo-courses and of course professional advice in our stores. Just in time for the summer holiday, and we are eager to see the response. Because of our research we understand better what triggers these starting photographers need to buy a camera. This segment consists mostly of people between 25-35 years. They are starting the next phase in their lives, growing careers, starting a family, getting married. Some great insights to understand their needs, and we will definitely be using these triggers in our content.”

Daniel is often asked about whether the development of smartphone cameras has increased the level of competition: “We don’t see it that way. The younger generation now grows up with more advanced cameras and are more engaged in photo and videography. The fact that there is now so much attention to taking and sharing pictures only spikes peoples interests and leads to more people watching shows like Het Perfecte Plaatje. We want to grow the entire category, so it only helps when smartphones drive enthusiasm”. Daniel shares how corona has also impacted people: “We saw people picking up a hobby (again), We quickly adapted our marketing campaigns and focused on all sorts of outdoor photography, one of the few places you could go last year. The campaign was a success, not only leading to more products sold, but with temporary free access to our academy, we saw a huge uplift in customers doing a photography refresher course.”

The holy grail

During the corona crisis, Kamera Express continued doing market research, arguing they needed the insights to develop further. Daniel says: “I really experienced true entrepreneurship last year, not stopping because there is a crisis, but stepping up quickly and realising there is a time after corona. We improved our IT processes, tools, but also improved our packing process in the warehouse.

Something we are also still working on – step by step – is creating a more balanced 360-degree marketing approach. My ideal scenario would be knowing which buttons to push during the entire journey, knowing how people get into the funnel and how to expand that more, and making that insightful. We have a great marketing automation tool, which is now primarily used as an “email 2.0 machine”, so we can do a lot more in that area. Connecting all data points when people have been in contact with customer service, visited the website or a store and made a purchase, so you can design your content and your after-sale better. We have a lot of data, and we can measure almost everything. The challenge for the future lies in tying all those ends together so we can steer activities, and know what impact they will have on the total result.”

“At first glance, companies seem to have everything in order data-driven wise, but when you dig deeper, you realise many are struggling with the same challenges.”

When it comes to seeking inspiration from outside the company, Daniel discovered that the grass isn’t always greener: “At first glance, companies seem to have everything in order data-driven wise, but when you dig deeper, you realise many are struggling with the same challenges. A brand that stands out to me is Bever, they have built a clear positioning, a good content strategy and you can tell they took big steps when it comes to data. I believe we can improve on two main areas: continue investing in the data-driven capabilities of our people and combining all those different data sources to make more impact. Keeping it simple and keep on testing. That fits our DNA very well.”