Friday, July 17, 2009

Death of The Copier and MFP Solutions Blog - Coast To Coast


7/2009

A little self promotion - article written by Scott Collen and published over at BERTL.

WHAT’S THE DEAL?

TELLING IT LIKE IT IS

By Scott Cullen

The truth is out there and it’s only a few clicks away on of the imaging industry’s cutting edge blogs.

Blogging is nothing new, but feet on the street sales reps in the imaging industry that blog are certainly something you don’t run into every day. Meet two of the most prolific and opinionated bloggers in the imaging industry-- Greg Walters and Art Post.

Walters works in the managed print services division of a West Coast IT integrator and HP value-added VAR. His “Death of the Copier” blog (http://thedeathofthecopier.blogspot.com/) is hip, happening, and sometimes irreverent, and a must read for anyone doing business in the imaging industry.

Post is a self-proclaimed “docusultant” with a Ricoh dealership in Highlands, New Jersey who, like Howard Cosell, tells it like it is. He started his blog, (www.mfpsolutions.blogspot.com) 15 months ago and the hits just keep on coming.

The inspiration for Walter’s blog, at least its eye-popping title, was the introduction of HP’s Edgeline technology, a technology that was going to be the death of traditional copier technology as we know it. Well, we all know what happened there.

“The Death of the Copier was because we had the Edgeline engine and it was going to take over the copier world,” recalls Walters. “That’s how it started and very quickly evolved into content and information about managed print services, the print industry in general, copiers, printers, and all that stuff.”

It’s all that stuff that makes Walter’s blog a fascinating read. He knows what he’s talking about having been in the imaging industry 20+ years, including a stint at IKON. He’s no shill for any manufacturer, including HP. Honesty is Walter’s best quality and his blog does indeed make for scintillating reading even when he’s sharing stories from other sources.

Walters’ blog gets 14,000 views a month, which is pretty darn good considering the topic. Are there really that many people who want to read about the imaging industry each month? Guess so. He has no idea why so many hits, but isn’t wasting time figuring it out. When he’s not integrating and providing added value to customers in his day job, he’s blogging, and he’s making appearances at industry conferences and events. From the looks of it, Walters’ 15 minutes of fame is just beginning.

The Death of the Copier blog focuses primarily on print management, but Walters reports that his most popular topics encompass anything to do with copier manufacturers. Indeed, hits pile up whenever he mentions the likes of Konica Minolta, Xerox, and HP.

“If you want to get any views, just write about anything that’s going on in the industry and drop the names,” he says.

Leasing, anything to do with financing, and copier crime are other hot topics as is managed print services.

“Anytime I have a headline that has to do with managed print services, it gets a lot more attention than it did before,” says Walters. “That’s the new hot button.”

Similarly, Post’s greatest hits include anything that mentions Ricoh, IKON, Canon or HP.
For instance, one post had 565 visitors in one day and 901 page views. The big topic was Ricoh being Ricoh.

Some of Walter’s and Post’s best readers are related to the major OEM’s both in the U.S. and in Japan. Walters estimates that about one third of his readers are upper management, one third support, and one third sales even though he says that independent dealers are a bit more difficult to track on the blog.

For Walters the best thing about writing a blog is the people he meets. Although he acknowledges it’s not always easy coming up with something to write about, he keeps plugging away. And the blog continues to evolve. He’s now on Twitter and is presenting podcasts.

Post’s blog gives him an opportunity to let off steam. It makes sense since he’s a salesman plying his trade in a high-pressure industry.

“After a tough day at work it gives me a medium where I can vent when I want to vent, but my ultimate goal is to get more members on my message boards,” says Post who is the online proprietor of the Print for Pay Hotels with various message boards devoted to key imaging industry manufactures such as the Ricoh Family Group, Canon, Konica Minolta, and Xerox.

Post has been selling copiers for more than two decades, which enables him to provide readers with a grittier perspective than those typically wielded by your average dealer principle or imaging industry consultant.

“I’m the guy on the street,” boasts Post.

Post’s blogs aren’t always focused on a specific manufacturer or product, and many of the issues and concerns he writes about are those affecting sales reps/docusultants like himself--pricing, prospecting, and other issues related to sales and service reps are common blog topics.

Post’s blog is surprisingly well written and includes news updates, and his commentary. He’s also on Twitter, so those looking to keep up with what Art’s doing even if it isn’t exactly related to the imaging world, can stay informed. Good to know that he just picked up his Swine Flu masks.

What makes Post’s blogs stand out is that he’s especially clever in his presentation and has found creative ways to present information about various solutions such as eCopy and PrintAudit and how the average office worker can save time and be more productive by using this software, using a character called Eric the Office Worker, modeled after the infamous Joe the Plumber. One area Post stays away from is print management. He leaves that topic to Walters.

Post admits he’s a loose canon and will write about whatever he wants when the mood strikes. If a product stinks, Post isn’t shy about posting his opinion, so damn the manufacturer trying to foist a feeble product on their dealer channel.

Anyone who evaluates products, covers the industry, and dares to venture an honest opinion, is bound to offend someone on the manufacturer side of the business sooner or later.

“I’m not concerned with offending anybody,” says Post. “I have a disclaimer on my Website that it’s only for educational purposes.”

When wrong, he’ll correct himself, but more often than not, Post is spot on.

The imaging industry is changing as is the way information is presented. With bloggers like Post and Walters, it’s refreshing to find two industry veterans willing to cut through the hype and tell it like it is.

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Reactions:

4 comments:

  1. I am not going to Lie, you 2 guys are the main blogs that inspired me to write my own...
    There are a few other blogs I follow such as Seth Godin, Grey Matter, and Bizucate but am a regular at Death of a Copier.

    Funny that different competitors can get together and talk shop without having to worry about egos etc.

    My blog is still in its infancy and I am considering a better name for it that has a catchier "hook" as well as covering more MPS and shady sales tactic to watch for. in the future.

    These guys are good!
    and hey, its alot of fun!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Doug -

    Thank you very much for your words and for reading.

    Art was the first person I met out here and at the time one of the only "copier" based blogs around.

    I met Jim Lyons, Ken Stewart and Ed Crowely around the same time, all online.

    We have helped each other in many different ways.

    Since then, I have met Jim, Ed and a whole crew of readers and people from this industry and our niche, in person.

    It has been grand and completely unpredicted.

    As for Ego's - I haven't got one - no wait, that's not all together true...ok...let me restate:

    As for Ego's, mine is plenty big, so big that I don't worry about any other ego fitting into the room.

    ;-)

    Keep reading and keep writing your blog - I remember Ken Stewart asked a question on his blog about two months after I started mine.

    Ken asked, "Why do you write a blog" - my answer was honest, "...because I like to read what I write..."

    It was true then and it is true today.

    Thanks again, keep coming back.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congrats Greg! I love reading the Death of the Copier Blog; Your Blog is a daily trip for me, to find out insightful things about the industry. I encourage anyone in the Copier, Printer or MPS sector to read this blog and Follow Greg on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/Greg_Walters.

    Greg, keep up the good work and I wish you great success.
    Chuck @ Maryland Copier Company

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey Chuck -

    Thanks for reading !


    Keep coming back.

    ReplyDelete