Thursday, March 28, 2013

013: "MpS in a Box", "Managed Services in a Box" and other Silly Things Marketing Comes up With


We can call this out, because we've been part of the movement.

I saw another services-in-a-box marketing statement the other day.  They were advertising a webinar about something or other - managed services in a box.

It struck me, weren't we just complaining about the commoditization of MpS?  Wasn't it a couple of years ago, when we started to see "MPS in a Box" offerings? And once we put ourselves in a box, are we not off to see our maker or worse, a commodity?

Why do we do this ?

Like you, we've been spoon fed the "...in a box..." value proposition time and time again.

From the word "solution" to the phrase "Professional Services", unique approaches to unique problems do not easily translate into predictable ROI.  So they box, barcode and ship creating commission gates forcing us to attach the latest software sku to our boxes in order to collect the pittance.

Think I'm wrong?  How many faxservers, DocSends or ECopy did you sell?  Without a copier?

Here's the deal - we in the field do not place our expertise in a box.  We are unique as individuals and when we discuss opportunities with clients, our uniqueness shines through.

The only people who want to place expertise and acumen in a box are those who manufacture the box.  What are they making in those plants, anyway?
  • Are they assembling business solutions? No.
  • Are they putting together answers to complex business problems? Not really.
  • Are the container ships unloading Workflow or Process Optimization? Nope.
  • How about Business Acumen?  Oh heck no.
What leaves their shores and hits our docks is a box - glass, plastic and tin - that's all.  As long as the factories kick out machines, machine based quotas will continue down stream into the trenches - from the manufacturer, to the branch/dealer, to the sales manager, down to you my good friend.  Scrub your MIF, churn n burn, and call it ALL managed services in a box.

"On the first of the month we sell solutions, after the 15th, we sell boxes..."- Ikon, 2005ish.

Remember when "think outside of the box" was the mantra of the day?  What fools we were back then, buying into the whole think differently mind set which was only true as long as our different thinking on the 1st of the month brought in more boxes by the 28th.  Fact is, back then, we could of attached George Forman grills to our copiers and people would have signed 68 month leases anyway.

It just didn't matter.

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