The vitality and success of a business depend on having effective marketing and sales teams. Companies look to their marketing team to research target markets and bring back viable leads. The sales team takes over and turns those leads into paying customers.
The short answer is yes, there is nothing wrong with using stock photos in your marketing. BUT, it's not that simple.
I believe that stock photos are a necessary evil, especially because many small businesses simply don't have the time or the money for professional photo shoots.
I think the real question here should be, "how can I best use stock photos in my marketing?" Since the use of stock images is so widespread these days, you can't just simply select a "smiling face" picture and hope it has a positive effect on the message you are trying to communicate. Instead, you need to try harder. You need to select an image that is relevant to the content it is paired with. You need to select images that have the right look and tone for the message you are communicating. You need to select images that are appealing to your target audience. Here's a great case study I just received that highlights the benefits of using Authentic Photos vs. Traditional Stock Photos.
My very first job was mowing grass. I had a half-dozen clients in my neighborhood and I started mowing their lawns when I was about 11 or 12. I even had an employee for a short time. I paid for many tanks of gas, loads of casette tapes (Google it) and even a few trips to the beach with money from mowing lawns.
My first real jobs where I had a boss and got a pay check was as a busboy at County Line Barbecue (on the lake) and Comet Cleaners (on Far West Blvd) both in Austin, Texas.
I think we all know how important it is to retain our customers, but sometimes we need a little reminder.
I'm in the midst of securing a few new clients and I'm very thankful for that. But in my excitement to sign-up the new guys and begin working on their inbound marketing I have to constantly remind myself and my team not to forget about, or lose focus or energy for, our current clients. It sounds simple and obvious, but it's not - at least not for me.