We're in a pub (yes having a beer by Mel) and the guy playing guitar in the corner looks a bit like a cross between Danny Devito, Aggro the muppet and Mark Knoffler - he's singing a pretty good cover version of Dire Straits "Money for Nothing (and chicks for free)". I'm sure the words he's singing aren't quite right but that's a different story.
After his set, "Barney Dawson" (we learn), comes over and joins us at our table.
We chat, Barney tells us he's been playing guitar and singing for over forty of his forty-five years, that he'd been a child superstar, recorded albums, starred in films, travelled the country but was now back doing what he loved most - getting face to face with real people like us, just him and his guitar.
By the way did we have any song requests? He knows thousands of songs and he finds gigs are much better when the audience is involved. "Today, entertainment is an interactive two way conversation with your audience" he says. It's interesting how this very much the same as digital brand marketing through social media, that you can no longer jam your message down your audiences throat.
"How about ACDC's 'its a long way to the top" my mate Franklyn asks.
"No problem" the reply, ...and somewhat apologetically, Barney asks if we can shout him a beer - he's left his wallet at home and there is some confusion over the publican and his manager not running the normal bands drinks rider at the bar"
"Sure", the good old sales A.I.D.A. process in action: Attention - Interest - Desire - Action / transaction. Thankfully he didn't pull out the overused old chestnut sales closer "only two spots left" or I'd get up and go now.
Anyway, call me a sucker but I'm always happy to pay a little bit more for good service and special attention, especially if it helps differentiate from a mediocre experience - the fundamental principle here is that nothing is for free, everything costs in some way - whether that's time, money, resources or even lost opportunities, you get what you pay for.
The most important element is delivery - if I'm paying (or you're paying more), we had all better get better "stuff" for the extra outlay!
Comparison ROI of Free Press Release Services
My mate Franklyn's company has a press release going out today. Several years ago I did a comparison of FREE web Press Release services. The end result back then, you got what you paid for - but for the sake of testing we'll do in all again. I suppose the other question to ask is how relevant is a press release in this blogging, twitter and social media age? Anyway, more on that later.
1st step is a Google Search on Press Release Services to see what services are out there = 354,000,000 results - yeow!
We try "Best Free Press Release Services" = 242,000,000 results - OK, there's lots of noise.
I'll pick 10, the first three Adwords; the first three SEO listings; and four more through more research.
The following sheet will be updated as we go.
It's interesting I post the first release on PRWEB and PR9.net and within a couple of hours an email from http://www.mymediainfo.com/ allowing me 10 Free Searches of their media contact database. I'll try it later and post an update. I'm keen to see the comparison of results.
We'll also see what comes in via twitter and Facebook and we'll begin building a database of influential bloggers and tweeters.
Random Acts Of Kindness #RAOK
The bar is packed and buzzing, Barney's kicking up a storm, even Magnificent Mel the barmaid digital strategist is struggling to keep up. You can see she's not getting time to take the bottle bins out the back. In a random act of kindness we give her a hand - it's funny how good it makes you feel helping others with no catch involved. There's a lesson somewhere there for marketers.
We party on, one beer has become a few, Barney belts out an ACDC melody of hits, Franklyn is stoked and buys him another beer. Good service is often rewarded.
You see nothing's for free, everything costs in some way - time, money, resources, lost opportunities BUT it's the investment and return that matters most - and that's not always measured in $$$$.