Monday, September 26, 2011

The Value of Prospect Created Content

Whether your marketing managed print services or candy bars, B2C or B2B. The simple fact remains...

Content is king.

And when it comes to content, there may be no content more valuable than that of which is made by your own clients or prospects in reaction to a video contest.

The above video is one of six submissions we received for our "Destroy Your Printer Contest 3". The video is a perfect example of "prospect created content". Not only is this video creative, humorous and totally over the top, but also an excellent advertisement. One of which was made not by our marketing department, but by a passionate prospect.

This is important because it acts as a catalyst for connecting with other prospects due to the simple fact that the user gave us a plug by noting our website and company name at the beginning of the video.

Now whenever someone watches this video we are able to capitalize on the interest generated by the video and not as an entity marketing to an audience, but as a third party who came up with this wild idea for a contest in which the creator of the video obviously went to great lengths to win.

This is one reason that video contests are so valuable in the world of content.

In reaction to this kind of promotional device, your prospects and or customers alike will create viral content for you and your brand. Plus, they will do it with a level of passion that you simply won't find in relation to other marketing endeavors.

By generating a video contest that taps into your customers pain points and providing products and services that aid in the relief of said pain points, you will effectively generate a working alchemy within your marketing efforts.

This kind of promotional event also allows you to use fun and creativity to market your products and services regardless of whether your products and services are devoid of both. Thus infusing your brand image with a positively charged emotional reaction from your customers and prospects alike.

So, the next time you find your self at a loss for your next marketing endeavor...

Consider the video contest.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Destroy Your Printer Contest 3, Winner!

Voting has ended, the public has spoken...

This years destroy your printer video contest winner is Eric Morse of Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

Eric took things to a new level of printer destruction with this bold and humorous car jump. While needing a second attempt as seen in the video, the later launch drove the defunct copier into an airborne trajectory resulting in one of the most over the top entries this contest series has ever seen.

Eric has chosen to donate his winnings (both the $100 and the two toner cartridges) to a local non-profit close to the heart of many folks in our area.

The Center of Hope, a charitable foundation which helps people with various disabilities will receive this years winnings.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Music, Art And... Managed Print Services?

This past Saturday marked an interesting point in both my career as a musician and a managed print services consultant and marketing specialist.

I graced the main stage of the 2011 Open Road Music And Arts Festival with my band Jabooda on what many would consider one of the nicest days of the year, sunlight spreading over the grounds complimenting the cool September air. The scent of gourmet foods and southern specialties wafting from the food vendors and a general sense of delight made the already picturesque scene even more enjoyable.

After a half hour set of music with my band, I moved my gear off stage and quickly took my place at the Expert Laser Services table. I would spend the rest of the day vending with a slew of other local business owners.

The festivals vendor strip boasted the usual fair of food, hemp products, clothing, jewelry, art and music...

I however, was pedaling information about recycled toner cartridges and managed print services.

To my surprise I actually received about ten to fifteen leads. I must admit I was not sure how my "products" would be perceived. Granted the festival had an emphasis on recycling however, it is not to often you see a vendor attempting to market or sell a B2B service at a music festival.

That being said, I did manage to garner the attention of college students, local municipalities, business men and curious passerby's.

I will say that those stopping by probably had their initial interest peaked by this photo on my table...

If nothing else, this one flyer raised many an eyebrow and provided a steady stream of laughs throughout the day.

In the end, I did speak with a few prospects who truly could benefit from a managed print services program based upon the descriptions of their printer fleets and organizations.

I certainly look forward to the prospect of signing a managed print services contract whose origins begin at rock concert.

Will it happen? Only time will tell...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Is Marketing, Magick?

While using the Google+ Sparks function a few days ago in search of articles using the keyword “esoteric” I stumbled upon a most peculiar and enlightening blog post…

“The esoteric art of non-coercive persuasion — sometimes called advertising — evolved long before there was a Manhattan avenue named after our fourth president. Even the Scriptures tell of blind and elderly Isaac being persuaded, through gentle deception, to yield his older son’s birthright.”

The headline to this article written by Stanley M. Aronson, M.D. hit me like a ton of bricks in the “when the student is ready the teacher will appear” kind of way.

As an open minded young man I have a deep thirst for knowledge in regards to both the exoteric and esoteric dynamics of well, pretty much everything. I generally develop a deep interest in whatever topics that resonate with me.

As a human being who has found himself in a rather successful career as a marketing and sales professional I have often asked my self…

Is Marketing, Magick?

There are no words written else ware in the world however, that have spurned such a question for me personally more than the following paragraph also from the article mentioned above.

“Inducing people to choose paths or to purchase things that had not initially been on their shopping lists requires a special virtuosity that combines a malign knowledge of motivation with skills in inveiglement, witless repetition and selective button-pushing. Sometimes the promises accompanying the advertisements exceed realities (a gentle euphemism for fraud). And if the product offered somehow does not approach the promised expectations, there is always yet another product to promote.”

By now you are probably wondering two things. What is Magick and or who cares if Marketing is a form of said art?

Magick by definition is "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will." - Aleister Crowley

In plain English this means forcing your will whether good or ill on the world and it’s inhabitants.

I cannot help but to assume that this same goal is at the heart of many marketing departments.

This aim is not in and of itself wrong or dare I say evil…

That being said, what I mean to point out here in this post however is that marketing whether related to said art or not has a similar aim and it bothers me that so many products such as cigarettes (to name the most obvious) have been so easily implanted into the minds and bodies of the American public as a “good” thing and what’s worse is that even those consumers who know that product is killing them, often times choose to continue in their consumption of said products due to how their minds have been molded to think.

(I am not judging I smoked cigarettes for about 5-6 years)

I suppose what I am really trying to get at here is that everyone has an agenda and there are many folks in powerful places who utilize tools such as marketing to implant ideas into the minds of those who they wish to manifest some kind of control via their will.

Whether their aim is to get you to buy soda or to vote for a political candidate, be warned..

You are bombarded with subtle messages every day for all years of your life to make choices that serve an others agenda and or will.

Be aware and be awake.

Ask why do I need this product? Do your homework and find out about the things you put in your mind and your body and question the message from who it comes from.

As a marketing professional myself I can assure you, if you want to know anything about the products and services I sell for my company or for my own gain I will answer what ever questions you have.

I simply suggest that you do the same with everyone else.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cigars As A Symbol Of Solution

AVO Robusto, my cigar of choice...

Some you may be aware of the fact that I am an avid cigar enthusiast.

For me, cigars have become a symbol of success both for myself and for my clients. I usually only smoke as a reward for implementing a solution for my clients whether it be a piece of hardware, a managed print services plan, software or so on and so forth.

While I am sure that I am not the only sales professional to use cigars in this fashion, I believe that I may be one of the few who approach the reward with the psychology that I do.

I don't give myself the pleasure of a cigar simply because I have made a big score financially. In fact the only element of my enjoyment of cigars as it relates to financial gain is in reference to the cost of the cigar itself.

As far as the ritual of smoking a cigar, for me it is a form of mediation and a time of relaxation. During these times I like to go over what I have achieved in reference to bettering my customers business through the solution I have provided them.

Often times each puff is accompanied by thoughts of how I have helped a client reduce their cost of printing, streamline their business processes and or provided them with useful equipment, software or content of which makes their professional and business lives better.

I like to go over the intricacies of the benefits I have given a client as the cigar burns closer to its finish. As the cigar burns, I reflect on elements such as the cost per click of a clients new machine, the ways in which our managed print services program is now saving them time and money and how I have been able to make a clients document management endeavors more profitable and efficient for their organization.

As I enjoy my cigar with wisps of smoke curling around my immediate space, I often ponder how to improve their business, the office or industrial culture around them, their company and or their organization.

In fact I try to use all of those things which I enjoy or find pleasurable (at least to some extent) as a catalyst to help others. Whether it be my clients, friends, family or even passerby's and strangers, I try to make consistent and focused conscious efforts in all that I do to help others.

It is in this kind of psycho-spiritual awareness that I attempt to keep my daily mindfulness, focused on the well being of other human beings.

In this way I would like to think that I am a living conduit of positive energy. So whether I am smoking a cigar, writing a blog post or doing virtually any other activity I try to do it with a spirit of love and service towards others.

In this way I believe that I am accomplishing what a human is meant to do. Indeed I hope that this very post has inspired you to do the same or in the very least has had some positive effect on you.

I suppose in some respects this is how I try to manifest the concept of "agape" in my own life and also in the lives of those people whom I meet during my existence on planet earth.