Tuesday, June 21, 2011
By DAN SOKIL
LANSDALE — A borough native and social media expert is looking to take his social skills nationwide.
And Mike Bianchini, named earlier this month as the chief marketing officer of Internet-based Municibid, says his social skills will be key in matching municipalities with things to sell and customers who’d like to buy
“We signed up Lansdale last year, and they threw a couple of police cars up on our site and had some great results,” said Bianchini.
“It’s open to the public, so anyone can bid on police cars, kayaks, we’ve even had stuff as crazy as a bridge up on there,” he said.
Since 2006, Municibid has allowed local governments in the area, including Lansdale and Montgomery County, to sell surplus government goods online without a closed bidding process.
“They’re getting a lot more exposure by doing it online than just putting an ad in the paper or bidding it out, and hopefully they get a lot more money, so it’s win-win for everybody,” Bianchini said.
Readers may recognize Mike from his time as Towamencin’s parks and recreation director, where he had some experience going social.
He operated the township’s two Twitter accounts — @Towamencinpool and @Towamencinpark — and also spent a year working as the director of media for Global Data Management Systems, a North Wales digital media producer.
“We utilize it a lot with our sales: if Lansdale has a new police car to sell, or something like that, we post it on our Twitter feed, make a short video with pictures and put it on YouTube, and also have a Facebook feed as well,” he said.
Municibid was founded in 2007 by Greg Berry, who was on Pottstown’s council in 2005 when he saw two problems with government sales of surplus items: getting the word out about sales, and making bids competitive in order to get the best prices.
Sellers can list items without being charged a commission or fee, and the public can browse and buy online. The company is based online, but has a headquarters in Pottstown and an office in Philadelphia.
This week, you can find 20 vehicles up for sale from various local governments from Philadelphia to Boston, as well as accessories ranging from Dumpsters to a pavement roller.
Other items that have been sold through Municibid include a cornfield to be harvested, police-forfeited items such as baseball cards, rings, and watches; and parcels of land.
It will be up to Bianchini to market the website to local governments and private consumers.
“Mike brings a wealth of local government, technology and marketing experience to Municibid, making him the ideal candidate to lead our marketing efforts as we continue our rapid growth nationally,” said Municibid CEO Greg Berry.
“His talent, creativity and enthusiasm will further improve the Municibid experience and bring great value to Municibid’s overall business,” Berry said.
During a recent visit to Lansdale’s Borough Hall, he got a good start on evaluating the supplies and selling needs, after meeting and touring the building with borough Records Manager Sandy Cox.
“We’re certainly looking forward to coordinating on the disposing of all of our obsolete equipment,” she said.
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