How Refilling a Printer Ink Cartridge is Like Trying to Do Marketing Yourself

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One of my biggest pet peeves is the razor/razor cartridge business model that drives the ink printer industry.

As most people know, printer companies don’t make anything off the actual printer itself. That’s why they are usually given away free or at a substantial discount. Where they get you is in the re-purchasing of the ink cartridges which sell for obscene amounts of money; you can easily pay $20 for a cartridge that you know cost them a couple of bucks to make.

Today at Office Depot I decided to try a refill kit marketed for the price of an actual cartridge, but they claimed to refill the cartridge up to five times. That means it would only cost 20% of a replacement cartridge! Brushing off my wife’s skepticism, I bought it and hurried home to give it a shot.

One hour and two sets of permanently stained hands later, I came to the realization that doing-it-yourself sometimes ends up costing you much more time and money than the alternative.

This applies to many things in life. That’s why we hire experts to take care of things we might otherwise wonder if we could do ourselves.

One of the most frequent questions I hear is, why should I pay you to do our PR/SEO/Google AdWords when I can do it myself? After all, it doesn’t seem like rocket science.

Often times what these companies will find is that they end us spending too much time working on something they don’t fully understand. They may end up spending more money to undo the mistakes they made than if they had just hired experts to do it right the first time. And they may damage their company image and sales if they make mistakes while trying to do it themselves.

Penny wise, pound foolish? It does often apply in marketing.

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