Tag Archive: Solutions for Advertising

This blog will consist of three parts:  Parts 1 and 2 will detail the Facing Forward Panel while Part 3 will detail Chris Dessi’s Your World is Exploding book and my experience meeting Chris after the Summit.

Solutions for Advertising was very fortunate to sponsor the final panel of the day, entitled Facing Forward:  The Future of Social Networking.  As a company that has recently branched out to offering social media to our clients, we felt this panel would be the most advantageous to us.  Last year’s panel (other than a cameo by Joseph Carrabis) really didn’t fulfill my expectations.  There was little insight into the future of social networking, it ended up being panelists speaking of fringe social media sites that may hit it big.  I was hoping this year’s panel would be much better than 2011, and it certainly was.

To begin, Eric Darr (Provost of Harrisburg University) was the Moderator.  Eric is someone who I sincerely look up to so I was extremely pleased he moderated this session.  The crown jewel of this panel, however, was Mr. Chris Dessi.  Here is a brief description about Chris:

“Christopher Dessi is CEO of Silverback Social. He is also an award-winning digital media executive, best-selling author, university lecturer, prominent blogger and keynote speaker.  His book “Your World is Exploding: How Social Media is Changing Everything and How You Need to Change With It”, shot to #1 on Amazon.com’s Hot New Releases in its first two weeks of publication. Dessi is a regular contributor on Fox News, and Good Day New York. He makes regular Radio appearances on such shows as the John Gambling show on WOR Radio in NYC, and the  Mary Beth Marsden show in Baltimore on WBAL.  Dessi leverages the platforms of television, print, keynote speaking, lecturing, and radio appearances to share his manifesto that social media is a spiritual awakening, not a technological one.  In a simple, easily digestible manner he helps businesses understand that social media is not simply a shift in business, rather a cultural shift in the manner in which we aggregate and disseminate information and maps out each step they must take to succeed. ”

The most amazing thing about this panel was the opportunity to understand why social media has emerged as such a major force in today’s business landscape.  Being able to understand the importance of social media is the basis for understanding where it will go in the future.  One of the major things I took away from this panel involved Chris Dessi’s ideology:  “Social Media is much more a spiritual awakening than a technological one”.  Chris stressed how social media revolves around the basic human nature of connecting with one another but uses new technology to change the way we communicate with each other.  With this concept it is no wonder why Mr. Dessi’s POV is one that I understand and have employed since meeting him.  He shares the passion that I do about social media and he is not shy about it.

One question posed to the panelists was:  Why has social networking become so important in our society?  Chris answered this question by saying that currently social media is everywhere we go.  People are getting their news from their Twitter feed instead of local newspapers.  The way we disseminate information has changed for the better and people need to understand that social media will be with us forever.  While Facebook or Twitter may not be, social media will live on.  Chris’s final viewpoint was:  “Humans love to be heard.”

A final point I would like to cover in Part 1 was the notion that the creation of content is paramount and helps us create our online brand.  While I already knew that the creation of content is important, it provides validation to all of the hard work I put in to this blog.  I would like to take time here to thank all of my loyal readers and followers because without you I would be talking to myself.

For more information about Chris Dessi, please take time to check out the following sites:

Twitter:  @cdessi

Blog:  http://www.christopherdessi.com

Silverback Social:  http://www.silverbacksocial.com

Paul M. Miller


Twitter: @SolutionsforAdv

LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495

In part two of the Small Business Saturday blog, I will be discussing my interviews with owners of two small businesses in the Harrisburg area, Bart Kaminski of Kollision Media and Tim Tatge of Provider Select.  The interviews that I conducted with these two gentlemen really provided insight into the small business landscape.

Bart Kaminski (@KollisionMedia) of Kollision Media has been a freelance employee of Solutions for Advertising for more than 3 years now.  When we aren’t keeping him busy doing design for our website, media kit, or advertising ads, he has built himself quite a small business.  He is a skilled graphic designer and makes awesome web sites for his clients.  I began discussing with him the advantages of operating a small business.  Bart thought that he had an advantage over his corporate competition because he doesn’t have the overhead of having to maintain an office with a staff.  He has the ability to work within a set budget because of this reason.  When I asked Bart who his corporate competition was he mentioned JPL Productions (although I’m sure there are many more).  While the quality of his work is on par with his corporate competition, he has the advantage of catering explicitly to his clients’ needs.  To quote Bart:  “People prefer a casual atmosphere for meetings instead of a board room with “suits”.   Small business needs this personal touch.   The ability of communicating with your client and making them feel comfortable allows you to connect with them on a different level without the corporate persona.”

I then asked Bart about the future of Kollision Media.  He began describing his ideas for his social media corner on his website.  In the very near future, Bart is going to include a section of his website that can promote his clients in a different way than before.  He envisions an open forum that allow people to post reviews and allow the client to post new products, services, or specials all in one place on his website.  He is also including in his fees banner ads on his site and direct links to clients Facebook, Twitter, and website.  I encourage you to check out Kollision Media, and keep him in mind for any graphic design needs.  I truly want to thank Mr. Kaminski for his time and wish Kollision Media great success.

Website:  http://www.kollisionmedia.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/kollisionmedia

To conclude my interviews regarding Small Business Saturday, I spoke with the owner of Provider Select, Tim Tatge.  Tim has been a longtime friend of mine, and recently won a grant from the state of Pennsylvania through Ben Franklin Technologies.  The interview I conducted with Tim did not specially speak about his small business versus corporate competition, but how you go about starting a small business if you have a great idea.  I don’t want to go into great detail about Provider Select, as it is truly in its infancy, but Tim did provide amazing insight to a program available in Pennsylvania for entrepreneurs looking to start a small business.

Tim had a successful career as a drug representative for Pfizer, one of the largest drug manufacturers worldwide.  After electing early retirement, Tim found his days with little meaning.  He knew he was still able to work and must do so to save his sanity.  He began doing research and found a company called Ben Franklin Technologies (http://benfranklin.org/what-is-bftp/who-we-work-with/entrepreneurs).  BFT is a company that is giving grants from the state of Pennsylvania to help promote the creation of small business in the state.  I was surprised to hear that our state actually had this sort of thing.  I’m proud that Pennsylvania understands the importance of small business and how our state can benefit from the creation of it.

The process, however, is not very easy to complete.  According to Tim, here was the timeline for his business to go from idea to winning the grant:

Step 1:  Contact Ben Franklin Technologies and pitch the business.

Step 2:  Being chosen to enter the program (not everyone is chosen).

Step 3:  Begin an eight-week training session at TeleCelerator in Carlisle.

Step 4:  Each week you have classes to prepare you for your final pitch.

Step 5:  Develop and present your final elevator pitch for the panel.

Step 6:  Be chosen to receive grant money.  In the case of Mr. Tatge’s group, there was a total of $10,000 awarded, $8,000 to Mr. Tatge and $2,000 for the runner-up.  Tim mentioned that over the course of these classes, the full $10,000 is rarely awarded in its entirety.  Tim was extremely lucky and his idea should be considered as one of the best.

At this point, this is where Tim finds himself today, between Steps 6 and 7.  The one thing about winning this competition is that you are not simply awarded a check and sent on your way, you have an advisor that controls the money and how it is spent.  It is now Tim’s job to put this plan into motion, and the wheels are already turning.  Mr. Tatge looks to the new year for getting the business up and running,  “I think that January, February, and March will be the most important months for this business.  I have so much to do and so little time if this idea is going to get off the ground.”

So if you have an idea for a small business, Ben Franklin Technologies is a great way to start making your idea a reality.  Tim should truly be commended for his perseverance and dedication in winning this grant.  Hopefully, in the coming months Provider Select will take off and be another success story for small business.  Stay tuned.

It has truly been a wonderful opportunity to speak with Cory Lauer, Bart Kaminski, Pete Anderson, and Tim Tatge on behalf of this blog and Solutions for Advertising.  While each of the businesses are quite different, it certainly is refreshing to know that in this ever corporate world, small business is still at the paramount of our thoughts.  I would really like some comments about the concept of shopping small and would love you to share any stories about your holiday shopping regarding this.

For my next blog, I am thinking about doing something about QR Codes and their prevalence in new media.  Due to the holidays, check out our Facebook page for announcements about when this blog will be posted.  I will promise my loyal readers that I will have a new blog up prior to Christmas, but it will be my last until the new year.

Paul Miller


Twitter: @solutionsforadv

Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495

Small Business Saturday is a very needed concept in today’s landscape.  I have had a very unique experience working with Solutions for Advertising over the past five years; to see how and why we as a small business can thrive in our current financial landscape is quite fascinating.  To be able to offer a better value and a more personal involvement with companies and events is what sets Solutions for Advertising above our corporate competition.  For the purpose of this blog I interviewed owners of three small businesses based  in the Harrisburg metro area:  Tim Tatge of  Provider Select, Bart Kaminski of Kollision Media, and Cory Lauer of Top Secret Gourmets.  I asked them similar questions; why do you think that your small business is above and beyond corporate competition?  What strategies do you use to obtain clients?  I’d like to share some of the unique insight I received from these interviews, as well as discuss the event itself.

Small Business Saturday was created by American Express as an initiative to promote small business in the holiday shopping season.  The event is celebrated the day after Black Friday and prior to Cyber Monday.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday often cater to corporate-owned businesses like big box and online retailers.  The concept of SBS centers around spending your money locally and keeping it in the community.  While the event is over, American Express proclaimed it a great success on their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday).  It does bring up an interesting concept:  Why not make a plan to spend more of your money locally?  Instead of just doing it for one day a year, making it a habit in our present and future landscape to shop small helps keep money in the community.  Small business is the backbone of our nation and should be embraced.

My first interview was with Cory Lauer (@tarheelch) of Top Secret Gourmets.  TSG is a spice company based out of Harrisburg that has won over 40 awards nationally from four different competitions, including 20 awards from the National Barbeque Association and 15 Scovie Awards.  When interviewing Cory, he expressed how amazing Top Secret Gourmet’s rise was.  Each person I spoke with I asked the same question:  What sets you apart from your corporate competition?  In Cory’s case, he thought that the sheer quality of ingredients was the most important thing.  He thought that the corporate competition (mainly from McCormick) didn’t have the quality due to sacrificing quality for cost.   He also explained how McCormick’s need for advertising campaigns directly impacts its final product.

Top Secret Gourmets uses the midstate area to do much of their business and truly are a small operation.  Knowing that a quality product is still able to succeed because of their business savvy is a refreshing feeling to have.  Top Secret Gourmets is one of the better small businesses on social media as well.  They are having a recipe contest once they get to 100 Likes on Facebook or 50 followers on Twitter, and I think I have the recipe to win.   Let’s try to get them there:  Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Top-Secret-Gourmets/192077154166353?ref=ts) and Twitter @TSGourmets.

Top Secret Gourmets has 8 different rubs and spices, including their most popular (winning 13 different awards) X-Hot Habanero and Lime and my personal favorite KC Hickory Rub.  Cory also was happy to announce a new spice rub called Caribbean Pirates Gold.  While it was still in production and didn’t want to let too much get out before it was ready, he did tell me that it was a mustard based rub, the first time TSG has attempted this.  Cory also said that on their website (http://topsecretgourmets.com/) they will have online ordering within the next month, a step that has been in the works for quite some time.  Cory views this as the next big step in the business as his opportunities to expand reach great possibilities and I wish Cory and Top Secret Gourmets the best of luck.

I did speak with the Owner of Solutions for Advertising Pete Anderson in regards to the trend of giving small business a chance and he had this to say:

“Small business Saturday is and should be important to anyone who wants to retain the mom and pop stores that used to line the main street of most small towns.  You constantly hear politicians referring to small business as the ‘engine’ that drives the economy.  This makes it even more important to support local merchants when possible because the odds are that you have more family and friends working for these companies than you would imagine.  Small businesses also tend to be more eager and responsive to customer needs and requests, and support other local businesses with their b2b purchasing.  Small business Saturday is something that any conscientious consumer who is concerned about the state of their local businesses should support. “

I truly appreciate Mr. Anderson’s comments because Solutions for Advertising is a successful small business in the Harrisburg area, and supports many great causes there including:  Bethesda Mission, The Autism Society of Greater Harrisburg, and Contact Helpline.  Giving small business a chance can greatly impact the future of the Harrisburg area and hopefully the nation at large.

Part 2 of this blog will discuss what you can do if you have an idea for a new small business and views from other small businesses in the Harrisburg area.  This will be posted Friday, December 9.

Paul Miller


Twitter: @solutionsforadv

Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/paul-miller/3b/b5/495

While I was finishing my last blog I realized that there was just a little more that I wanted to speak about before ending the discussion about the 2011 Social Media Summit at Harrisburg University.  I was able to complete my initial goal of doing a separate blog about each panel, and doing a two-part blog about the job search panel.  Over the course of the last 7 weeks, I have begun to understand the reasoning behind blogging and feel it is an important part of success in business.

The Social Media Summit provided a way for me to see how other businesses use social media and why it is effective for them.  As an advertising company, it is important to know business trends and the summit provided industry leaders on the subject.  Above that, it motivated me to begin crafting not only Solutions for Advertising’s online brand, but my own as well.  It made me realize how important privacy is and how amazing networking can be.  Joseph Carrabis was one of the people who inspired me to rethink what I knew about social media and it’s impact in society.  I would say, however, that it was more a group of those that I have referenced in previous entries that produced the cumulative effect.  I encourage you to read past articles and seek out the links I have provided as an easy way to educate yourself.  Better yet, sign-ups are already available for the 2012 Social Media Summit on May 23 at http://www.harrisburgu.edu/academics/professional/socialmedia/index-2012.php.

One thing I haven’t truly covered has been the Summit itself.  I was extremely impressed with the facilities at Harrisburg University.  The summit had no cost, and even included an amazing spread of food and drink.  I cannot say I have ever seen such hospitality at a conference, part of the reason it had a lasting impression.  The conference rooms themselves were state of the art and the campus is beautiful.  Special thanks goes out to Dr. Eric Darr, Mr. Steven Infanti, and the many others it took to make this something special.

I have already been in touch with the people in charge of the 2012 Summit and they have agreed to an interview sometime prior to the event.  I look for this to happen sometime after the first of the year.  I will continue to discuss social media in my blogs, but I am in the process of booking other interviews with some local charities in conjunction with events they will be having in 2012.  These articles will be center-stage on this blog and will be in support of their causes.  I look forward to a new look at some of these businesses that we have worked with over the past few years.  I also look forward to continuing this blog and always encourage comments by readers.  I am by no means an expert but I may be on my way.  Thank you so much for reading.

This blog will be on break over Thanksgiving and will resume Monday, December 5.  By then I should have a better idea of what the future holds.