Improving Brand Visuals & Content Creation for Any Digital Channel

Jan 20, 2022 3:00 pm4:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

Do you want to market your business in the eCommerce world with visual assets at the cheapest cost – but don’t know where to start?

With 83% of online sales being driven by product visuals, creating content to market your business should be a priority. Mark Buckingham also says that as much as creating content for marketing is important, it should not slow you down to achieving your goals. That’s why he’s recommending you to some of the best tools that will give you quality work in a short period of time.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant sits down with Mark Buckingham, the VP of Americas at nfinite, to discuss brand visuals and content creation. They talk about computer-generated imagery and photography, who owns the visuals and copyrights when working with nfinite, and what brands should expect in the content space in 2022.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

 

  • Mark Buckingham talks about the use of computer-generated imagery to create content and save on cost
  • CGI and content creation in 2022
  • What are some of the reasons why brands are turning to CGI — and how does it increase sales?
  • The advantages of using CGI to create content over physical photography
  • Who owns the visuals and copyrights between nfinite and the customer?
  • Is nfinite a subscription model, do they create custom backgrounds on images, and do they carry out imagery testing?
  • The categories that shouldn’t use CGI — and why
  • Things that will be changing in the content space in 2022
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Event Partners

Guest Speakers

Mark Buckingham

VP, Americas at nfinite

Mark Buckingham is the VP of Americas at nfinite, a next-generation product visual solution to accelerate sales. nfinite is all about helping the world usher in the post-shoot era in which product visual availability is no longer reliant on costly, logistical, and carbon-heavy photoshoots. Mark is a highly successful senior sales executive and sales manager with over 20 years of eCommerce experience with startups, large enterprises, and global accounts.

Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Event Moderator

Mark Buckingham

VP, Americas at nfinite

Mark Buckingham is the VP of Americas at nfinite, a next-generation product visual solution to accelerate sales. nfinite is all about helping the world usher in the post-shoot era in which product visual availability is no longer reliant on costly, logistical, and carbon-heavy photoshoots. Mark is a highly successful senior sales executive and sales manager with over 20 years of eCommerce experience with startups, large enterprises, and global accounts.

Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant  0:18

Happy Thursday, everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the Co-founder and managing director at BWG Connect. And we're a networking and knowledge sharing group of 1000s of brands who do exactly that. We network and now we share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is that might be shaping digital as a whole. I talk with 30 plus brands a week to stay on top of those trends. And when the same topics come up over and over again, it's how we get the topics for events that we do here. I'm also asking everybody, like who's working for you, who are the best around at it? And when the same partners come up over and over again, recommended from brands, that's who we invite to help educate us in this space. And so we've got some great friends and partners, supporters of the network over at nfinite and super excited to be having a conversation with Mark today. A couple of housekeeping items as we get started. We want this to be as educational informational as possible. So at any point in time, you have any questions, email them to me, aaron@bwgconnect.com, we'll get them answered, the chat, you drop into the Q&A, we'll try to get as many answered today as possible. The other thing is, we're kicking this off at three to four minutes after the hour, just you know, we're going to wrap this up with 45 minutes to go in the hour as well. We're going to give you plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late.

So we will get your watch just now, we'll give you plenty of time, have enough time to grab a cup of coffee along the way too, and still not be late to that meeting. The last thing here is, I think,  as we got to the topic for this was just mentioning and kind of the pre-call chit chat, it was just this need for content grew immensely over the past nine months, as there is a massive shift from an Amazon focused business to direct to consumer. And that's not that people are abandoning Amazon, it's just people just still don't want it to grow 100% year over year, they've gone direct to consumer, they've gone to other marketplaces, and they've gone to other channels, especially, around paid media as a whole. And what that's done on the content side is just blown up the demand. But at the same time, eCommerce companies are trying to make it less margin diluted. And so we got connected from a bunch of brands overdo, nfinite, and they've been great friends, partners, supporters of the network. They're leaders in this space, and they help brands generate a ton of content at a fraction of the cost. And Mark, I'm going to kick it over to you, if you want to do a brief intro on yourself and nfinite, that'd be awesome. We can jump into some of this content for sure. And then just reminded everybody, drop questions in along the way or email them to me. But Mark, I'll kind of kick it over to you if you want a brief intro on yourself and nfinite would be awesome.

Mark Buckingham  2:57

Sure, real quick. Mark Buckingham, I do not speak to 35 brands a week. I'd love to, unlike Aaron. So I've been in the content space for roughly 25 years back when we used to have webmasters and content was beyond bad, which is the first company we sold to CNET years ago.

Aaron Conant  3:18

Webmasters, I forgot that phrase.

Mark Buckingham  3:20

Hey, that was a big term. I have enough gray hair to prove it. But so nfinite, when I saw an nfinite because of my content background, I just first said, it's not true. It's not real. What nfinite does it allows you to truly scale your content, which is why a lot of people are moving from photography over to CGI. There's lots of different ways to do that. We can talk about that. The nfinite platform lets you take a 3d model. And it lets you take any angle, any lighting, and bring a silo or a silo whatever phrase you want to use. It also lets you take multiple products put them into an environment living room, an Oklahoma living room in Miami Beach, a backyard in Pismo Beach, whatever, snap, print already. That's what nfinite does. And well Aaron you do talk 35 brands a week. For the last few years I've been running off, first it was like you need at least three images. Then it was like five now it's like 5.3 I just got off the phone yesterday with not sure they're a top five. They're definitely a top 10 furniture retailer. And he said no, no that Mark, you're wrong. The new standard is eight plus. He was giving me some reasons for conversion why they needed eight app. Have you heard that before?

Aaron Conant  4:51

Just the number was going up? Not that it's a, it's just brands are struggling to keep up with it. So I think maybe it's the difference between what's the average you have right now in what's the newest standard? Right? As we're getting through this digital 2.0, where everybody was looking for the right tools, and they were check-marking boxes, right? Do I have images? Do I have five images? That's what they say. Do I have the right bullet points? Do I have the right pricing? Do I have whatever it is, it's all checkbox. And then I think this year is this, I call it digital 3.0, not web 3.0. That's something different, but digital 3.0, where brands are actually looking at the metrics more, the KPIs more, the data more, and then they're actually looking into what's converting, which is awesome, when brands are saying, hey, actually, we tried eight, and it's it ups conversion, I think that just makes a lot of people sweat. And this time, they think they have to go get three more images, especially during furniture,

Mark Buckingham  5:53

I was struggling getting my three or four and particularly, it is the lifestyle that really moves the needle a lot. Once I've got my core angles, front, left, right back, whatever it is, for that particular product, some of them it's only one or two from a silhouette standpoint, then I got to put her to make it experiential. Up here basically doesn't tell anybody, anything they don't already know, which is more assets, more channels, it's getting more difficult, which is, what, why I was keen when I first found out about it, but hey, they're really leveraging CGI. But I'm like, isn't that the, how do I quote my friend in a nice way out? I don't want a bunch of monkeys in the back office, somewhere over in Vietnam doing this, I want something that's consistent and delivery, consistent and quality, and that sort of thing.

So how do we get scale, which means you're really going to need to work work with your agencies that you've got and if you haven't got your toes in it, do it. Because this, I found out a few months ago, images actually went above ratings last year, for the ability to move the needle to convert right to move my AOV up. So just a great point. It is about the picture. It's why 10 years ago, McDonald's put the pictures of the Big Mac and the pictures of the Mac Fries because people just don't read. And when you're on this device, who can read? Frankly, I  think this is why it's eight picture so I can scroll and see, because I can't really read too much when I'm shopping there, right?

Aaron Conant  7:40

Yeah, I mean, if you think about all the platform's especially the rise of TikTok, it's all visual. I know, they put the words at the bottom. But if other words on that platform I didn't know. Yeah, sometimes. I mean, it's all visual. It's just what people are using these days. It's just interesting to see it jumps star ratings. So my guess is they look at those and if they agree with it, then they go check star ratings. And if one probably not, but hey, it's three and a half now. But I like the images. Maybe I'll give it a whirl. It's funny, though, the comparison charts, those are usually found further on down on a page,  and just people aren't scrolling to it anymore.  Again, it's taking time out to read so super interesting. Eight images, though. Yeah, it's crazy.

Mark Buckingham  8:33

Eight is definitely upping it was music to our ears. Because that's what we do is help people produce stuff at scale, but it's not music to my average VP comprehend.

Aaron Conant  8:47

Especially if you had to do a photoshoot to get there, right? That's the reality.

Mark Buckingham  8:50

Yes. Well, Okay, so let me go sideways. And sorry, people, I go sideways a lot, but I will come back, I always come back. So I'm talking to a large manufacturer of these beasts, these laptops, and they said, "Look, we go, we do lifestyle imagery with talent. And we spend one day shooting those people. And then they go on to the next set, and we shoot the mouse, but after they leave, we spend three to five days, shooting the set. We put the product on the table with the keys with the family photo, we take the family photo away, we take the shot, we remove the keys, we put a flower vase, and we do all these different shots so we can do all AB testing and of course when we're done, well then that's when the new product comes out that we should have had in the photoshoot in the first place. Because would we be able to using CGI simply send dimensions and photos of what our lifestyle shot look like?

Move our talent on, break down the set or stop paying rental and leave and then have everything else reproduced and CGI?" I said, "Absolutely." I mean, something we would love to do, or any decent agency could do it would take, they would have a little bit more time to do it, then you leveraging a merchandising platform like we have, but you absolutely could do it. He's like, okay, so I made first he was thinking, I save time, and I saved the money. But then he started when you start talking about, oh, then the product changes. And then six months later, I've got a new version. I could just pull that out and put it back in and go, yes, you could and it won't be a bad photoshop job, because it'll all be 3d model CGI, and it'll run great. So going back sideways, it is another way to scale your photography efforts, complement your photography efforts, get you additional lifestyle seen. Of course, you don't want to do it with talent, right? You don't want people you don't want 3d people in your lifestyle. They just don't look right. I mean, we're playing with it. Other people are playing with it. But it's still a little bit an r&d.

Aaron Conant  11:02

The human eye always picks that out, where is inanimate objects, a lot of times you don't, what is your CGI is where people are going, like, what percentage of brands will be using CGI to present to create content by the end of 2022?

Mark Buckingham  11:27

I think it's all across the board. We spend a lot of time in DIY home and living, cosmetics, we've got four customers, we're not huge in cosmetics. If you eliminate the talent, where you have human beings in it, I'm going to say every single brand is leveraging CGI. And I will say some of the brands, many of the brands are probably going to be 90 plus percent CGI, particularly in your home and living spaces.

Aaron Conant  12:05

Environment because it's so expensive to do it other ways, or it's so easy, or the content, not talking photoshop, you're talking about CGI?

Mark Buckingham  12:15

True CGI, I've got a modeled environment, I've got model products, and I'm mixing and matching those, whether it's in we have a platform that does it, but most people would have an agency do it for them. And all of the above. I mean, I've got a customer, pretty sizable furniture retailer. And they told us they have a lot of products, they wouldn't, wouldn't barely be able to sell if it wasn't for us, particularly during the real height of COVID. Because you get out your phone, you go snap, snap, snap, put the dimensions with it. And by the time their product made it out of China or Vietnam to their warehouse, they already had content staged on their website. So we're selling it instantly, we don't have to pull it out of stock, ship at one more place.

There's definitely no quarantining CGI, you don't have to wait for your product to get here, quarantine for a couple of weeks get to another place. So it allows big decreases in costs, big decreases in time. Most important though. And that's really where COOs and people that have p&l start to get interested, is the cost savings. And I say great, get interested in that. But really, when you realize that it used to be five, now here, it's eight. And the more experiential we get, that's what drives the real conversion. So if I can actually increase my lifestyle, or my angle, or just simply sitting in a little bit of a different background, up those images, and our friends at visit will tell you different angles, and that can really move your numbers. That's what's going to create my conversion, it's going to up my car values. And as an econ person, that's what's going to give you my bonus is actually in increasing the amount of visuals I have.

Aaron Conant  14:10

So who's the champion of this internally? That comes to mind because I can also think of, hey, we do our photoshoot in Hawaii every year and that's fun to go to Hawaii for three weeks.

Mark Buckingham  14:23

It's a lot of fun to go to Hawaii for three weeks and shoot. You do get some pushback there. Half of the creative teams will embrace you like oh my god, this is so cool. And the other half are like, "Hey, you're infringing on my territory." And I think not really understanding that even, we kind of have the do it yourself tool where you can move stuff around that environment. You don't have to spend time you don't have to spend four or five hours writing a brief with this tool like you would traditionally. Wall is this color sofa goes, two feet in goes the mirror, the lamp is six inches from here, and nine inches from it, you don't write that brief, you just kind of move it around to get it right. And then you take the image, you need that creative design, you need that creative eye, the last thing you want is someone like me making your visuals, it won't work.

You need those merchants, those creative people. So those kind of go 50 50, the VPs of eCom, directors of eCom, they totally embrace, I need more imagery, and I need a faster. I mean, VP over North Face is a good buddy of mine. And I remember she's telling me, it wasn't so long ago, we could use content for nine to 12 months, and now a lot of our content, we're in two days. It's insane. And UGI, user  generated stuff is great. But then you've got to like, I've got to control it, I've got rights, manage it, I got to make sure no viruses coming in over the is coming through the pipe when somebody's sending that. There's other little things and concerns there as well. But in the org structure, often you'll find the COOs will get a wind of this and go, "Oh, I can save all this money." Great. Yeah, you can. But I'd suggest you don't save any money at all. And you just increase the amount you're putting out because that's what's really going to drive this. But you're in this space, I'd been in MarTech forever, if it's from the commerce engine forward, I'm pretty knowledgeable, we get back into the PIMS and the ARPs, I'm going to get lost fairly soon. But I know that it's all about conversion, and the more assets we have, particularly experiential, right? How can I up that lifestyle?

Aaron Conant  16:54

So I mean, I like this thing, though predictability, right at scale, which is, the other thing is right, is just the end of a shoot or the content that you requested. It's done, and it's over.

Mark Buckingham  17:09

Yeah, I mean, I still that I won't say who it's a pick one of your three largest retailers on the planet. It's one of them, they gave this quote to me. And after we closed our first big deal with them, I said, seriously, over a year ago, I said, we're a little tiny startup. And at that point, we weren't even an American company, I go. Honestly, why are you doing business with us? I'm thankful that you are and she said, "Look, your quality is great. Don't get a big head mark, lots of people have great quality." And she's right, you can get beautiful looking CGI, from a lot of places not we're not the only ones in town should, your pricing is good. But more importantly, it's predictable. And this is having run an agency in a past life. The one thing we all hate, and sometimes it's the bread and butter of an agency to is called scope change, right? PCRs I want to change this, oh, now I'm going to tweak the price. But there's that back and forth, back and forth that if it's fast is two to four days. She goes, your pricing is predictable in our case, so we know what someone's going to cost going in, we know what someone's going to cost making a change. That's beautiful. Your delivery is predictable and good which is mostly, for goodness sake. We are who we are, we blow up people. Because we're so big. I said, because you have created this platform, you guys can actually produce at scale. So really, I just call you predictability at scale. And I would say our technology will scale like no other CGI I've ever seen. However, if you're not really into CGI yet, sure happy to take your phone call and talk to you. However, if you've got a great relationship with an agency, talk to them because you're missing out. You're not going to be able to scale through photography, that's for sure. And people have already read this slide.

And to me, it's the time and it's the ability to create more, more variances, more visuals that really make this rock and go back to that, what does that do? I say, "Hey, can you save money?" Absolutely. I recommend maybe you don't, you're definitely going to save time. And going back to my friends over to heal other computer folks. Single-use static jpg when I snapped that camera and I moved the keys I snapped the camera I put the family photo back in I snapped the camera. I've got a static asset that if I want to clean it up, it's going to be a lot of Photoshop. Also, another nice thing if you're used to doing photoshoots, you don't have clean up there's always that person that ate a candy bar or some french fries and touch the black clacker they touch the glass. And now you got to remove that stuff or there's a flash flare up from the camera with 3d, you don't have that, right? So there's none of that post-production cleanup.

Once you get the product, you get the environment, boom, you got it. Okay, so another massive retailer, I got a most earnings, a blonde movie star now, like there's very many of those, but she's introducing a  new softgoods lines. And this retailer said you should consider CGI. And they said, "No chance, we only do photography because pictures look better than that computer-generated stuff." So they did it, they pick their two lifestyle photos, they were going to go to market, that team through them to us two days later, we spit back scenes to them. And they put all four images up and like a blind taste test. I don't know if that, you know the analogy. And her team, they all picked our images, which was great. They were beautiful images. But then she goes "Wait, your products now discontinued or it's out of stock, let's remove it." That took five minutes, 100 bucks or whatever, let's swap it in with a new product, 15 minutes, another 100 200 bucks to make this change. So your product isn't static. It's living. So when you're using 3d, one of the biggest advantages over the camera is the ability to mix match stay current, you may have lifestyle scenes that you just love, and they work. But your products are changing, they're evolving, your inventory is changing. I mean, God knows supply chain has a few issues, right? You may or may not have things in stock. So it allows you to really address that, which to me is just key. Right?

Aaron Conant  21:57

Yeah, a couple questions come in, one is around who owns the visuals and copyrights?

Mark Buckingham  22:03

You do at least with us. So having been in content management or eCommerce for a long time, that's one of the big hassles. Who owns the right? When do I renew it? Am I about to have a lawyer on my behind because I forgot to renew and it was up on the website? In our case, if you buy an asset from us, you own it. And I would suggest, if you're doing CGI, you push the other team, your other people to do it that way of themselves to give you those rights.

Aaron Conant  22:39

Awesome. Next question that comes over is, what kind of files are kicked out.

Mark Buckingham  22:45

So when we deliver a visual we're delivering to you typically a JPEG or a ping could be a 2k could be a 4k print. Kind of funny, one of our largest customers in Europe. 90 plus percent of what we do for them is for their print circular. That side of the house grabbed ahold of us, the digital side is just now starting to look at us. But the print side says you're faster, you're cheaper, and you're more flexible. And we definitely don't have flexibility. And we definitely got a lot of cause, it's kind of funny that one of our largest clients is actually dedicating us to their print media.

Aaron Conant  23:32

And just a quick reminder to others, you have questions, you can either drop in the chat, drop them into the Q&A, or you can keep emailing them to me aaron@bwgconnect.com. Awesome.

Mark Buckingham  23:44

So some people are going to ask, "Hey, what the heck is a 3d? What do I need to do this?" So we'll simply tell you if you're going to work with us, your current process or easier is the standard. Nothing's going to get more complicated with us, it's going to get easier. If you can only take one picture, send us that picture. We'll be 70 plus percent accurate with that right. Now if you can imagine before your product goes in a crate or a box, you go snap, snap, snap snap, you give us the dimensions or you've got a CAD file. Just throw that with those images. Boom, you're going to get something that's 99% perfect. And it's the kind of thing that the real creative directors, the merchandisers that have been doing it for their whole lifetime, they can probably look at an image and tell you which one is CGI, which is photography. The guy who runs everything for low's he says you know how you can tell if it's a bathroom or a kitchen? That's that CGI go? How is that Mike? He goes because the water if the water looks real, it's fake. So if it looks real, it's fake. He goes, yes, the water looks real, it's fake. Because you can't capture water with photography, right coming out of the faucet.

I thought that was pretty funny. But to his point, though, I don't care if I really get out my magnifying glass and I can tell you something is CGI versus photography. What difference does it make, I'm still giving the customer an experience that works. So that's me going sideways again, but just coming back over here, what is a 3d model, you see that little mesh, that's actually your 3d model, that's what we're going to build if you send us some pictures. And once we've got that model, then we're going to put a texture on it. I mean, I could put alligator leather on it, I can put a herringbone, silk fabric on it, I can put a microfiber on it, I put plastic, I can put wood on it. And once we've got that model, we can put any of those on it. Once I put some fabric on it here, I think, I don't know, what is it black microfiber or black velvet, something like that. We can pass another color profile into it and you're talking minutes and handfuls of dollars compared to what you normally would do. And it's going to look a lot better than if you were just photoshopping this. And then, of course,  the next sale, product, and context.

I built that environment, that living room or silly me, I want to put it up on the moon. And so one of our customers is outdoor, they make furniture literally out of plastic, pretty nice stuff, but it's literally made out of plastic, some of its recycled bottles. And when they first came on board, they go, "What can we do in terms of lifestyle?" I go, "Well, what do you do now?" They said, "Well, once a year we go to the Canadian Rockies or once a year we go to Palm Desert." I go, "Well, don't you want to show it in Palm Desert, the Canadian Rockies, a beach in Cancun, a beach in Miami, a pool yard in Michigan, and a pool yard in Dallas?" Of course, we do. Who has the money for that to travel? And if we did, we wouldn't have the time. Right? I go, "Ah, okay." And if you can put it on a moon, you can put it in a back patio in Michigan, or Dallas, either way. And then on the last right photo, keep in mind as I talked about that computer company that wanted to move the keys and the family picture. What you're seeing here, you got a ficus tree in the background, it's holiday season, make it a Christmas tree, that pink envelope on the mantel, you want to make it a menorah, make it a menorah, the TV screen or the mirror up there, make it a big TD screen put whoever. Kansas City versus Pittsburgh up on there, you can make it Alabama versus Georgia or Michigan verse Ohio State, whatever you want, because you can address all those different segments, you know where somebody's coming from, based upon IP address, give them something relevant, give them a hook. And if you can afford to build all those different contextual assets, which you now can that's the promise of CGI, then you can afford to be experiential and to really niche down on your segmentation. Now I'm lecturing sorry.

Aaron Conant  28:22

No question comes in. Well, what's the time to roll out? What does implementation look like? That's where I think people are kind of curious as well. You said it was easier than what they're using today. And that's where time effort, money lifts. Everybody's running a million different directions.

Mark Buckingham  28:42

Again, I said, we're never going to make it more complicated. We're going to make it easier for you. We're going to call you probably four to six weeks to get started. After that, we could easily we start quoting you two to four weeks per turn times on most projects doesn't mean that if you're a numbskull at Costco and you call wins, did I call somebody a numbskull there now, you call me Wednesday at eight o'clock pm and say, "I need two 360 spins, three cellos, two environments on two desks that I needed by Monday morning. Doesn't mean we can't do it. Because we did. And we often do some insane two-three-day turnaround for people. That cannot be the normal though we always have a little bandwidth for somebody that says can you do me a special favor?You always keep a little bit held back because there are hiccups and there are emergencies. But this stuff can be turned extremely fast.

Particularly for us we've got so many props and lifestyle scenes. If you want to mix and match and if we've already built your product and all you want is a new, literally customers like I'm doing a microsite launch, and I realized we forgot to take a couple images off this product. Saturday night, they logged into our platform, got the right angle on the product they want boom, forgot they didn't put drop shadow on it went back 15 minutes later, boom, they got drop shadow, popped it into a new living room, boom. They had their lifestyle. So they had their content Saturday night, because I guarantee you when I ran an agency, I was pretty responsive. But I wasn't going to help you out Saturday night at eight o'clock. I don't care what the agency is, you're not getting that response. That's one of the nice thing on a platform like us. But if it's not us, Monday morning, any agency would jump up and do something for you?

Aaron Conant  30:39

What is the starting point? Could it also be a CAD file?

Mark Buckingham  30:43

It could be a CAD file. I mean, honestly, it could be a sketch with dimensions as long as we knew what kind of texture we were going to put on it. So again, we're going to make this mesh. And depending upon the information you give us, which is photography, or dimensions, or combination, so if you can give us three to five images with dimension, you're going to get that dead on. And then we're just going to need a good close-up image if it's a fabric or something that's got real texture. And that way we can really do it. When I say close up. I'm not saying hire a professional photographer, these cameras are so good. They'll do it. I mean, I laugh when I did the first 360 spins at our agency way, way back in the day on the internet, we had a five-megapixel camera, I think it cost us $9,000 back then. That's what we used, right?

I mean, these new cameras are totally good enough to get you a shot of a texture. So again, just a few snapshots and some dimensions, and that's what's going to get you the 99% and you can degrade down from there. But most people can either have a CAD file with every dimension under the sun, or they just give you the core dimensions. But if I don't have dimensions, you're going to be 90 plus percent, which actually pretty nice. So, there we go, what can I do with it? I built all these products, I'm mixing and matching. Now I'm just going to swap this out. I'm going to swap this out. You can see I maybe I got a little different case in here. These are things that if you're going to photoshoot it that's a day. And it's a lot of work. And if you forgot to do something just right, I forgot this footstool instead of that footstool, I need this Ottoman out of here. Those are expensive changes. But with CGI, those are minutes. Worst case, if you're using an agency that's a day, and you're talking, $100 to a few hundred dollars depending on which method you're doing it and ease of use platform. But being able to just show different colors, your different product in that environment just truly moves the needle.

Aaron Conant  33:10

Awesome. Next question that comes in? Are you a subscription platform?

Mark Buckingham  33:15

We are. So it's a little bit like the old Disney World when you used to get the E ticket and the G ticket or maybe it's a trip to the carnival where you get tokens. We sell credits, right? So how much does a model cost? Oh, it'll run you eight credits.  How much does a lifestyle photo costs? Oh, for Web, it'll run you 10 credits for print. It'll run your 30 credits. And then the question is, Mark how much is a credit right? And credits vary whether you're going to buy a little bag of credits, or you're going to buy a container load of credits. That changes the cost and your subscription runs for a year you spend those credits. At the end of the year. If you have credit left it'll roll for 90 days if you re up it'll roll forever and ever. Kind of like T Mobile Verizon at&t, or at least the way they should be doing it. I mean, it is kind of a cell phone analogy. And we actually do have a couple customers that are on a quote unlimited plan based upon number of skews and definitions of types of images they want. They were the one was a pretty good customer last year and they finally just decided we're all in on images, we're going to have 360 spins on tons of our products we're going to be showing multiple angles, multiple backgrounds, and I want this thing and at least four different lifestyles always. I'm having going to have dinner with these guys next week, so I'm hoping to hear some really nice things from their CML.

Aaron Conant  34:51

The next question comes in is around the backgrounds. Can you do a custom background?

Mark Buckingham  34:58

Yes, we probably build in the neighborhood of 20 to 40, custom, maybe 50 custom backgrounds a week. So in our portfolio, we have stock images, we probably have two 300, stock living rooms, 150, stock bedrooms, 100 or so outdoor scenes, and we can tweak those for very minimum for you. But we literally have hundreds and hundreds, probably 1000s and 1000s that we built for other people. And once we build it for you, it's yours, you own it, nobody else gets it, just like, once you take an image from us, that image belongs to you, you can send it upstream-downstream, it's yours, distribute it as you like, use it in any marketing material whatsoever.

Aaron Conant  35:51

Awesome. And there's no like, concern about people using the same background?

Mark Buckingham  35:57

No, I mean, yes, we've got a couple 100 backgrounds. You can always just, let me go up a level, I mean, this is the exact same background, and even just changing something simple, like the sofa, and a little rug here changes it. But if I were to change these accessories out, and you might be in the accessory, selling world, in which case, we'd swap them out with yours, but I've got, I don't know, hundreds of these things. So we could easily swap all this out. And people are going to say, oh, it's got a dark, and I don't know, maybe it's a dark salmon room. I'm not a designer. Don't quote me on this. But when you swap out a lamp or light a plant, it totally changes. But I would say a very large percent of our biggest customers, they have us design custom environments for them. And then they use them, and then they vary them depending upon the season, or the particular holiday they're going after. This is just showing you how quick things can move and change. And why you get that conversion rate and why you're upping things. Playing boring silo. As our friends that measure analytics on images will tell you the angle matters, the tilt matters, the background matters. Now, these are things we would do in literally minutes, but any decent agency could do in hours and spit these things out for you. And the question is, is the black going to sell better than the blue?

Is the blue gonna sell better than the plain white or the clearer? And what I know and I think I told you this before my step buddy that ran adobe.com, whatever how many billions in sales it is. And they've got literally 40 to 100 tests running every month. And you'll go, "Hey, if we all agree, if 80% of us agree, that blue background is going to move the needle, 80% chance we are all wrong." As marketers, we are just wrong at our guesses? And the answer is test it? How are we going to know? Test it. Now the problem with testing, you got to have the imagery to test it. I mean, I personally have sold millions and millions of dollars, my team has sold 10s of millions in analytics and AB testing technology. And a lot of that falls down because well I got two images to test seriously, let's get 12 images to test, then let's see what's going to move, and then that's test it based upon your segmentation, right? You can easily see that blue might work with women under 25. But in my fall totally flat with men over 50 How am I going to know, got to test it. And if I don't have the assets, I'm simply not going to be able to do it. So I think maybe that kind of goes back to why I really need eight images. If I'm going to be sophisticated in my AB multivariate testing, I'm going to need multiple assets, just no way around it.

Aaron Conant  39:21

Yeah, I mean in AB testing it's ABCDEFG testing is the next level right and continuously doing it.

Mark Buckingham  39:29

right. So this goes back to when I said where do you usually land, who gets interested in you? And you can see hey, one is CGI one is photography. Do I really by saw that in a magazine what I know the difference? Personally, I wouldn't there's a very handful of people who might but who cares because the cost is just so different. And this is where my people with a p&l first start getting interested because they're going to drive down the cost by like, wait, wait, wait. You're also going to drive down the days, which is going to give you more selling. But more importantly, consider taking that money and using it for more variations using it for increased lifestyle, because that's what's really going to drive.

If I can move the needle half a percent 1% 2%. And you're selling 500 million, you're selling a billion, some are customers are selling multi-billions a year, you move a needle 1%, you've really moved the needle, and it makes a difference. But again, it just goes to flexibility. It goes to pricing. And in Mark on, the MarTech, let architecture landscape, everybody's always promising you better revenue writes, sell more, sell more, buy my product sell more, which I'm promising you anybody doing CGI is going to promise you. However, the nice thing here is, while you might get into it, for the uplift, your VP of eCom director of eCom, your CFO, and your COO are going to sign off on it, because they're going to see a drop in their costs. So it's the less billing taste great scenario, right? Okay, you want this to drive your revenue, you want to get your bonus, you want to look like a rockstar. Normally, I'm hesitant to sign off on those, but I can see where this is actually going to drive cost out of the system. So even if you fail at your uplift, I'm still going to be able to cover myself. So it's a nice safety net, for the folks on the operation side that are writing the checks. If that makes sense.

Aaron Conant  41:38

Are there any categories that you highlight that it doesn't work for? It seems like fashion if you're mentioning people?

Mark Buckingham  41:44

Yeah, I know, there are some companies that do fashion, we are doing fashion for one very large retailer, just, we don't want to jump into it until we really kind of have it 100% figured out. So fashion, I would say for a manufacturer, if you've got the CAD. I mean, this jacket, I've got to know every point on here to make it fit right. So fashion typically is not high, but it is catching on. Organics are usually bad. Fuzzy feathered birds, leafy greens, those, they take so much time and there's so much data on them, right? I mean, a white bear and a polar bear at a snowstorm, that doesn't take a lot of data, you can compress that all day long, you can send it over the pipes. But if you got fuzzy grass and a colorful bird and some wheat strains, and now you've just got so much data to capture all the little edges, the nuances, the color variations, that file becomes huge. And then sending it over the pipes rendering it becomes expensive becomes tricky. So we say fluffy things, frilly things, fashion II things don't typically lend themselves but that said, did we just build 12 Christmas trees for a mega-retailer? We absolutely did. What I want to build my business around making Christmas trees. No, I wouldn't. But they're there. They're beautiful. And they'll probably use them for the next 15 years. Change out some decorations on them. But they've got the Christmas trees. So can be done just it's a little bit costly at this phase of the game. Question?

Aaron Conant  43:45

Oh, no, are the other key things that have been popping up. I was just checking my inbox here. I don't have another question coming in. But just going to kick it back over to you for the presentation here if there's additional info or if there's other key things that you see changing in 2022 in the content space?

Mark Buckingham  44:07

Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of things I'd love to show but then it'd be 100% infomercial for me, probably not fair. I don't want to step on toes. But I would say, keeping it more to informational level, if you're just considering getting into CGI, find somebody and do it, whether you call us or you call an agency, buddy at an agency, do that. Because you're going to find flexibility, you're going to find a decrease time. And you're probably going to be impressed at the results as well as the cost savings, which is then going to allow you to put more money into creating more visuals, and the greater the visuals. I mean it is that chicken-egg thing, right. If my people could experience this product better, it would convert better, but I've got to get the images to do that. First I got to get the button Budget. CGI is what allows you to do that because it happens quick, right? It's days or a couple of weeks, it's not months for a photoshoot, which is definitely where you want, you don't want to be there.

Aaron Conant  45:13

And then people are using these create content for all these it more outputs here, all these different channels

Mark Buckingham  45:19

100% Yeah, so one of the things we introduced is pick your image and then pick your output and any size resolution shape automatically spits out, you need your Instagram square, you just say here and move it around, crop, and that lifestyle comes out. That said, it's not rocket science, any decent desktop publisher, once they've got an asset can do that for you as well. But what they can't do is get the right product mix and match unless you've got the 3d models to do it. So that's why I'll encourage folks to, if you haven't put your toe in the water, start putting your toes in the water, you'll be happy with what you're seeing.

Aaron Conant  45:58

So you do a test and learn with brands, what does that look like?

Mark Buckingham  46:05

Yeah, we're getting away from as many POCs as we used to because simply, we're having so much success with so many companies. But what we will do is figure out what a annual project should look like. And typically people are going to give us basically 20% this year, another 20%. Next year is the new products are coming mixing a match. But we'll pick some segment of that. Is it going to be five products is it going to be 15 products on the first go around, could be 55 or 105 even. And we'll tee that up for you. We'll launch it and then we'll give you 30-day window to say, hey, this really made me excited. And I want to keep going or it didn't really meet my needs. So let's terminate the agreement now. Haven't had a termination. So all that works good. So your commitment, your literal commitment we small, we've just gone that route, because it means I don't have to do two pieces of paper, we can just do one. And we're starting to really get some volume on RM so it's helping us to do less processing. Self-serving. I know but.

Aaron Conant  47:25

People are asking though. Yeah. So anything in the presentation side?

Mark Buckingham  47:33

I can show you that. You want to see a video on how we do things or?

Aaron Conant  47:39

I mean, if it doesn't take that long, and then we'll be right at time here in the next three minutes, we can wrap up and get.

Mark Buckingham  47:44

Yeah, this is 90 seconds. This is what the nfinite platform looks like, you can see it on YouTube.

Visuals are everywhere. They're the most important thing for selling products online, and producing these visuals is costly and time-consuming. Logistics, studio, light, teams, what if you could do all that in one click without any knowledge and graphic design. nfinite allows you to do so. Use nfinite to easily create and manage 3d visual content with your own product catalog. You can generate an ambiance without any technical ability. And then print and publish it, access a great selection of templates, and use drag and drop features to create inspiring content, enhance your visual content and increase engagement with nfinite and its unlimited dynamic inspiration. Photography is limited, replace it with 3d technology to get a well-crafted online catalog in one click. nfinite enhance creativity.

Mark Buckingham  49:17

I mean, that's cool. And that's what we allow our cuts when I said somebody customer at eight o'clock on Saturday night, they went in and got their new silo, they dropped something into lifestyle wasn't quite as fast as that video, but you are talking minutes.  And by the time you were to email or pick up your phone and call Sally over at the agency, that platform can be spitting out an image which is pretty cool, which when they showed it to me a year ago, 14 15 months ago, I just flipped out because I know the pain that my friends that are producing this stuff go through in eCommerce. So it's pretty cool. And if you think, you know, we're too sophisticated for you, go find an agency and get your toes in it. However I tell you, we make it pretty simple. So shameless plug.

Aaron Conant  50:15

Awesome. Well, thanks, Mark, for your time today. Thanks for being such great friends, partners, supporters of the network as a whole. Again, anybody on the line today, if you want a follow-up connection, they're leaders in the space. And they're working with a lot of different brands of the network and come highly recommended. So worth the follow-up conversation for sure. And with that, I think we're going to wrap it up here a little bit early, like we'd like to do, give everybody a chance to get on to the next meeting without being late. And with that, we're going to wrap it up. Hope everybody has a fantastic Thursday. Have a great rest of the week. Everybody, take care, stay safe, and look forward to having you at a future event. Look for a follow-up email from us. We'll be in touch and again, encourage anybody have a follow-up conversation with Mark on the team in nfinite. Be well worth your time. They're doing some amazing things in the space as a whole. So thanks again, Mark. Have an awesome day.

Mark Buckingham  51:04

Thank you, Aaron. Talk to you soon. Take care.

Aaron Conant  51:05

All right. See you, everybody.

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