10 Tips to Address the Pint Consulting Phenomenon in the Digital Media Industry

Cup of Coffee
Pint Consulting: Coffee < Information

Let’s face it, Digital/Social Media Marketing is a HOT industry topic right  now. Facebook Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, just made Time Magazine’s Cover Issue as Person of the Year for 2010. Everyone wants a piece of the information pie…..

CC Chapman’s ( speaker, author, digital marketer) 12/15/10 blog post :  “Nice Guys Get Paid Too” addresses the growing phenomenon of people seeking out industry knowledge holders to siphon off their expertise for free.  Whether it’s an individual, a company or a group seeking a keynote speaker, the trend seems to be that information is not a product to be purchased, but rather something to be shared and passed around freely.  Chapman notes that numerous conferences offer no remuneration for speaking services, nor travel expense reimbursement, claiming that the mere appearance of an audience should lead to increased business for said speaker.

Chapman mentions that often the individual or small group offer is to meet for a cup of coffee or for a beer at a local pub which he refers to as “Pint-Consulting”.  While many folks in the social/digital field are extremely giving of their time and knowledge, they simply can’t be a veritable public library for the removal of information on a 24/7 basis.

What I want to address here in this space are those individuals and small companies who are in the “Pint Consulting” camp and those individuals who are not even tuned in enough to be part of that group.  How many times have you been approached by someone who basically wants you to do a core-dump over the phone for them?

I believe in giving back to the community and count myself as one of the more generous souls out there (to the consternation of my financial advisor!), but even I have had to draw the line.  As CC states:

I make a living as a consultant, speaker and creator. In order to continue doing that, I must be paid for the services I offer.”

Here are some tips for parties on both sides of the coin:

Seeking a Knowledge Consultant:

  1. Be brief and to the point- explain what you are looking for.
  2. Offer how this might help the consultant.
  3. Treat them to lunch or dinner (come on, not coffee!) and allow for general overviews on your questions.
  4. Want deeper info? – Pay for an hour of their tim.e
  5. Need a speaker? Be up front about what you can offer: fee, gift certificate, notoriety…

Knowledge Consultant:

  1. Choose your speaking engagements wisely. A good friend and 5- figure speaker gave me some great tips years ago.  She chooses her engagements based on these factors:
    1. Fees- does it meet her requirements, including travel expenses?
    2. If not: – Will the audience be made up of potential clients?
    3. Is the conference notable?  Would it look good on your resume to have spoken here?
    4. Is the venue or city enticing?  Does it offer some other value to you?
  2. Don’t feel that you have to give away the farm.  Set a limit on the time or amount of information that you are willing to share.  I have met with quite a few people over coffee who took pages upon pages of copious notes on everything I said to them…..and never offered to pick up the tab for my single cup of java.
  3. Set a limit to your pro-bono efforts per month.
  4. Offer folks a chance to sign up to meet with you for a free consult.
  5. Choose a venue that is most convenient for you and set a time limit to your meeting.

I recall seeing one digital marketer solve this “Pint Consulting” situation by inviting individuals and companies to sign up for a couple of monthly slots on his web-site that involved taking him out to lunch for the chance to completely pick his brain for those 90 minutes.  This put a limit on his pro-bono, gave people a fair and equal chance to meet with him for the cost of a lunch and also gave him their coveted email addys so that he could continue to connect with them through his newsletter, etc.

Hopefully this post will raise awareness on both sides of the coin.

Knowledge is Power.

Knowledge has Value.

CC Chapman says it best:

“So, the next time you think about reaching out to someone to pick their brain or to give them exposure so your company/event/organization can make money, stop and realize that they need to make some as well.”

Would love to hear your thoughts…..


4 thoughts on “10 Tips to Address the Pint Consulting Phenomenon in the Digital Media Industry”

  1. I run into this a lot, especially since I’ve done a huge amouont of not for profit work since going pro. It all comes down to a combination of setting boundaries and diplomacy. “I’m terribly sorry, but to get into this in more detail we will need to schedule a consultation, let me know what you have in mind and I’ll let you know my fees.”

    One can, and should, be a productive member of your community. Giving back is absolutely vital in my opinion, but giving away the farm is not. I understand that many people want free consultations, especially as budgets decline during the recession, but I need to be paid for my work to keep food on the table for my wife and I.

    Great post, Michelle!

  2. Thanks Loki! I was actually surprised to read CC’s comments about orgs not wanting to pay him a fee for speaking. He is a national brand in his own right and should be compensated for his expertise.

    I believe it is important to find the RIGHT balance of sharing along with making a living. Guess that’s why the New Media Cincinnati community voted to award me the 2010 NMC Digital Giving First Award, as I really try to help people as much as I am able. I see that great quality in you as well!

    Hopefully these tips will help guide some folks on both sides of the equation.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. I can recall a major gambling concern in NOLA wanted a few songs for free for a Diamond Club marketing video. That’s the club for folks spending a minimum of $50,000 per year at that chain. I told them I need to send out a PR memo about the multi billion per year international gambling chain that couldn’t pay minimum fees to artists for their tunes for songs used to market to DIAMOND club big spenders!
    Within a few days, we had meeting with the big wigs for that international concern, and they ponied up all kinds of money for various music related projects and events.
    We got video production services for free for the band for their next project with Cox, who at that time had played for Cox show. The footage was laced with commercials. Cox edited out the commercials for the band’s performance and interview for free, giving the band a good two camera shoot live performance video and band interview.
    They paid the band over a grand for their song usage for this one marketing video only also.
    I ended up doing a promotion CD compilation with Cox Biz Services after meeting with Cox folks for music rights for their video. They paid me a few thousand to give them 1,000 CDs of local NOLA & LA artists.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s