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Review of Mark Victor Hansen's MEGA Book Marketing University

This event was very similar to the other one I went to, and both followed a familiar format. The book-marketing event started with a speech delivered by Hansen himself about how to be a publishing entrepreneur. Hansen is a nice man and has a nice story.

As many may be aware, Hansen and Jack Canfield are the authors of Chicken Soup for the Soul, the best-selling book of all time, I believe. They have an excellent story to tell about how they used word-of-mouth marketing, cross marketing, radio, and all sorts of other methods to get their book to market.

Hansen is a true marketing genius, and hearing him speak is worth the price of admission. In his talks, Hansen credits a professor he once had named Buckminster Fuller with being a serious inspiration. He also credits Napoleon Hill with being a major contributor to his success. Hansen has a light fervor about him and is very enthusiastic about the information he gives his audience.

There were several hundred people at this mega event, and I had the opportunity to eat lunch in a private dining room with Hansen and about 50 other attendees. I was impressed that Hansen came up to me, put his hand on my shoulder, and left it there for about a minute while introducing himself to me and other people at my table. There is a genuine warmth to Hansen, and he has a lot to teach people.

Hansen drops references to Christianity and Mormonism into his speeches, and the event really had a mainstream Christian feel to it. Many of the people at Hansen's events have very little knowledge of what is going on in terms of the marketing industry, but some are well informed. I met, probably, 50 people at the event, and most were struggling somewhat financially. A great many had launched or were launching second careers in marketing-related disciplines, and there were also numerous housewives who were trying to start second careers.

The funny thing about this event was that I noticed for the first time many people I had seen at other events, such as a Tony Robbins event held in December. While I review these events for a living, it is worth noting that there is a following of sorts among the people who attend them.

After Hansen's speech, a variety of people came onstage to give presentations that were anywhere from one to two hours long. Most of the presentations had pretty good information, and I will admit that I was impressed with the speakers Hansen managed to get for the event.

Most of the speakers at these events get up and talk to the audience about how they can make money, sell books, and generally change their lives using the information about to be provided. The speakers then share some of their information with the audience. Toward the last 20 minutes or so of their allotted time, the speakers start telling the audience why they should spend $500 to $5,000 or more on some CD-ROMs and workbooks that go into more detail about their methods. They hand out fliers and generally do everything they can to sell their products.

Outside, in the lobby, many vendors set up tables hawking their products. Many of these are smaller vendors who hold morning sessions that Hansen announces periodically throughout the day. The morning sessions start at 7:30 a.m. and end before the main events of the day begin. The vendors at these tables sell information about how people can get rich on the Internet and so forth.

Last year when I went to MEGA Marketing (not Book Marketing), I ended up actually retaining three of the main event speakers to do work for me. While some of them had decent information to share, I quickly realized that most of them did not have a great deal of business acumen and were most concerned with charging as much as they could in consulting fees.

Most of these consultants did not have much experience in the business world. In fact, two of the consultants I hired took fees and then did not complete the work they said they were going to do. I do not blame Hansen for this; I think he is fundamentally a good man. Notwithstanding, anyone attending these events needs to realize that he or she is venturing into shark-infested waters and should be very careful.

A few examples of sharks were the speakers who spoke at length about the idea that you do not need to work hard to make money. One speaker put up a picture of himself talking on the phone in bed. Another bragged about how he does nothing and spends his time in the sauna and jacuzzi.

I have purchased several products from one of these speakers, and the majority of them consist of recordings of him talking on the phone and transcriptions of these conversations in a loose-leaf binder. He has another product that is total crap. For $300, he sent me a binder teaching only one peripherally-relevant marketing idea. Most of his products are total scams.

This is not to say this person is not a good marketer; he is. What I would like to point out, however, is that I am somewhat alarmed by the predatory nature of his marketing and the value he provides. He sells a lot more sizzle than steak. He also sells simple software products that are useless and, in at least one case, publicly available. At this event, he was selling an iPod loaded with recordings of his teleconferences for $3,000. I could not believe it.

As an aside, I am very surprised that someone like Hansen allows people like this to appear at his seminars. Hansen seems to go wrong when he hires people who claim to know about the Internet. Hansen is an outstanding relationship builder and has the ability to attract truly outstanding minds. For example, Denis Waitley (author of The Psychology of Winning) and Harvey MacKay (author of Swim with the Sharks) both spoke at the book-marketing event. Both of these guys were great, and neither of them tried to sell pipe dreams. The same is true for some of the other speakers.

In contrast, the speaker described above clearly was trying to sell pipe dreams. Moreover, there were some other speakers at the event who, although they did have some decent information, gave presentations with tremendous amounts of flash that left me unclear as to where they were attempting to take people.

What I do know is that Hansen appears to have everyone's best interest at heart in inviting these supposed Internet gurus to his events. My only criticism is that he should find more up-to-date people who really are Internet gurus.

What distresses me so much about speakers like the one described above is that they ruthlessly prey on people who, for the most part, want to believe that they can make money without working hard. This is simply not true for the majority of people, but these sharks lead people to believe they can do this with their sales pitches. Everyone wants to believe he or she can get rich quick, and people like the speaker described above fuel this mentality. Many of the people at the event were entirely clueless about business.

Interspersed throughout the event were some interludes of motivational dancing and clapping. On several occasions, an attractive blonde woman got onstage and sang some songs. The singing was pretty inspirational.

I also ran into Joe Sugarman, who is perhaps the greatest copywriter of all time. Last year, I met Jay Abraham at the marketing event. Hansen has the ability to bring together a lot of great people at his events. I also think that he is very respected by a wide variety of people, and I respect him for his abilities to bring people together and sell books effectively.

All in all, I would recommend attending a Hansen event. Watch your pocketbook, however, because these events are all about selling you stuff that shows you how to sell stuff!

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