Kelli Adkins had always dreamed of being an art teacher, not a professional in the printing industry.
Since she never finished her education degree she had to work with what she had—skills. She became a Quark whiz. Adkins worked on layouts and found growth opportunities and new challenges at print shops.
"I networked with leading manufacturers of print equipment and supplies to technology developers and skills trainers. I learned what best-in-class meant for tomorrow's print service provider and helped an area quick print environment turn into a leading integrated [marketing] services company," Adkins recalled.
Her hard work paid off; currently, she is the marketing director at Dayton, Ohio-based WorkflowOne.
Here, Adkins talks more about the bad, the good and the great in the industry.
Print Professional (PP): What is the best business advice you ever received?
Kelli Adkins (KA): The one most influential boss I ever had once told me, 'Kelli: I'm the guy [who] checks for toilet paper before I sit down.' Meaning—he makes sure what he needs is where it needs to be to benefit him and successfully execute the task at hand. I always review the lay of the land and ensure everything I need is ready for me when I set out to achieve a goal.
PP: What is your greatest business accomplishment and disappointment?
KA: Accomplishment: I was very proud to participate in a SaaS (Software as a Service) panel discussion twice in 2007. At that time, there was great respect for printers successfully implementing the technology for web-to-print to sustain and grow their business. I am also very proud of earning placement of several case study presentations in PODi and the award of a Hermes for a rather successfully executed multi-media campaign–—TV, print, mail, website and e-mail. Disappointment: I am so 'the glass half full' kind of person. I don't know that I've ever been 'disappointed' in business—even loss in opportunities have found avenues to gain success somewhere along the way. But if I have to choose a sad moment when things didn't quite land where one hoped, [it would] be the follow-up processes to an educational social event falling to the wayside due to the economy causing limited bandwidth. The economy hit the bread and butter for that quick printer turned integrated [marketing] services company and the people [who] were like 'family' suffered [due to the] loss of their own businesses. Work and opportunities fell silent rather quickly.
PP: What do you think is the most exciting, cutting-edge thing your company is doing right now? Why?
KA: WorkflowOne is working on a top-secret project that is absolutely the most exciting product/service to hit our core offerings. What I can share is that we have successfully aligned our services team for marketing and sales growth ... The Power of 2 (P2 = a representative of marketing and of sales in segments/solution assignment). This was banded together in late 2010 to align market trends with market demand, program development with program requirements, go-to-market strategy with sales-closing abilities. There's proving to be quite a secret sauce in the mix for the skills, knowledge, talent and team efforts that have risen to provide true innovative thinking and uncover new business opportunities for all segments and solution areas.
PP: What do you think will be the printing industry's biggest challenge in the next few years?
KA: Catching up to technology. It is imperative that print connect to electronic content for in-depth education, sharing, connecting people/businesses/products/services. We think we've 'seen it' in what is out there now, but the reality is [we are] just beginning development. Augmented reality is already on the horizon for universal adoption. Applications that tie to image content, text that leads to hosted content, smartphones, [and] tablets won't be of use unless they connect to tangible print items and published content. Printers must embrace this direction, partner with the electronic providers and sustain growth in all avenues of consumer drive and business development.