PSDA CEO Summit - What I Learned

Last week I attended the PSDA CEO Summit in Scottsdale, AZ. Along with the beautiful weather I got to spend time with some truly exceptional leaders spanning the gamut from print distributors to suppliers. The theme of the event was “Think Beyond and Ignite Passion”, with each session supporting that theme.

Some of the great educational sessions I attended were the best practices sessions, where leaders shared tactics they have used to solve some of their toughest business challenges. One company outlined how they changed their structure to focus on repeat transactions to drive growth. Another discussed how they elevated their customer service reps to be more involved in daily account management, allowing their business development reps more time to pursue more new business. Yet another detailed how they have expanded their capabilities into packaging to meet customer needs and grow their business… a topic near and dear to me since Outlook Group strives to support print distributors in that specific area.

One key takeaway of the event included the need for distributors to evolve with IT services – as the need increases for data management and security so does the need for distributors to be tech leaders. Another was how digital printing is changing the entire landscape of printing. It’s taken over and if you’re not printing digitally yet, there’s a good chance you’ll be left behind. Outlook Group happens to be strong in both areas so I look forward to connecting with a few of the companies that expressed a business need to me at the event.

Possibly the most intriguing session was the one on Visibility Marketing, where David Avrin guided attendees through an activity to create and leverage their company’s competitive advantages. The old “it’s who you know” philosophy died by the side of the road long ago. Now it’s all about “who knows YOU and what you do”: finding your why, crafting an effective message about just how your company is better than any other company offering the same products/services, and getting that message out to the masses. It’s no easy task to pinpoint your company’s true value proposition that will make customers care enough to pick you over your competitor so it was an enlightening and humbling experience to say the least.

Now that I’m back in the office, I’m taking time to share with my team and making plans to implement what I learned. PSDA certainly knows how to put on a pleasurable yet effective networking and learning event so I’m already looking forward to what the next CEO Summit has in store!


Author – Kevin Hayes
Executive Vice President