Kathryn McDaniel

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

I’m feeling very nostalgic and lucky this month realizing how far we have come in the last thirty years.

Most people are not aware of how we got our start in Kansas City.

I was a print salesperson for two very large web printing companies in the 1980’s. And I split my time between Dallas and New York City, flipping cities every Saturday and traveling several other days a week.

I got married when I was 30, and this didn’t put an end to my traveling – but giving birth in 1989 certainly changed my priorities.

Starting a Printing Company

We knew we wanted to start a printing company, but we weren’t sure where. Since I had grown up in south Florida and lived in Dallas and NYC, I had no intention of moving to Kansas or even visiting Kansas City. My husband was from the Midwest and had been to several of the basketball tournaments, so he was familiar with KC.

After an exhaustive search all over the country, my husband convinced me to visit Kansas City over a weekend.

No one was more shocked that I was, that I immediately fell in love with Kansas City and wanted to move here. The friendly Midwesterners, the beautiful neighborhoods, The Plaza, the booming art scene and the wide variety of businesses that were headquartered here all helped convince me that Kansas City was the place to go.

We bought a newspaper for the Want Ads on Sunday. (Yes, back in those days that is how we bought and sold things, even companies!)

There was an ad for a small printer that seemed too good to be true.

It turned out there was a reason for that. The owner was going to jail for counterfeiting and he had to report to Leavenworth in 2 weeks.

We went home, quit our jobs, packed everything we owned on a truck and moved here not knowing anyone in Kansas City, but so hopeful for our future.

MEDiAHEAD's Start in Kansas City

A New Printing Concept

We had a different concept that we knew would be successful in Kansas City. At that time, there were only quick printers and very large printing companies. No one was doing high quality, short run color, which I knew agencies were interested in.

I picked up the Yellow Pages and started calling advertising agencies – starting with ‘A’ and working my way down. We joked the first year all of our clients were ‘A’ through ‘M’ because that was as far as I got before we got really busy.

I have to mention that after Bones got out of Leavenworth (his nickname they gave him there because he tended to the graveyard) he came back and worked for us for over 10 years. He was one of the best employees that we every had, a true craftsman and nice guy.

Sometimes, something wonderful comes out of something bad. We believe in second chances. And we’re really glad that we chose Kansas City all those years ago.

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

Buying Local is better for the environmentHere comes my yearly reminder before Black Friday hits next week. Where you decide to shop this holiday season has a major impact on both our local economy and the environment.

Many studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, most of the money is then used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms.

By buying local, you are strengthening the economic base of our whole community. Enriching your neighbors, by supporting their endeavors fosters the great community we have here in Kansas City.

Buying from a small local manufacturer or maker is also good for the planet. Less transportation, shipping boxes and plastic, habitat loss and pollution.

Our maker community in Kansas City is so unique.

Buying Local

There are SO many cool one-of-a-kind businesses that are an integral part of our community compared to a chain store that looks the same anywhere else. And local businesses hire people that know the products they are selling and take more time to get to know their customers. For example, this series of holiday maker’s markets being hosted at the Roasterie on December 7th, 14th and 21st.

So many of our local businesses also donate more per sales dollar to local non-profits, events and teams compared to any of the national chains.

Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, and provide the most jobs to our community.

And most important, local businesses mean a stronger tax base and better use of public services compared to the national chains. This means better public services like schools, transportation and emergency services for you and your family.

As a small business owner that works with many small business owners, I feel passionately that small businesses are vital to the success of a community. So when making your purchasing decisions for the holidays, please consider giving your business to local businesses in Kansas City when possible!

Remembering 9/11By Michele Stilwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD.

Do you remember where you were at on 9/11? I will Never Forget.

I happened to be at the Hen House in Mission picking up flowers for one of the people that worked for me. It was her birthday. Over the loud speaker, they said someone had hit one of the twin towers in New York City. In a plane. I immediately stopped in the isle; I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. So I checked out with my groceries and got to work.

I worked at Sprint at the time on Ward Parkway. I ran into the building and they had already set up a TV in the lobby and had the news going. Everyone from the building was huddled together in the lobby watching. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing.

Remembering 9/11I remember it just as if it were yesterday.

So many brave men and women served that day. Some lost their lives and the rest have to live with the terrible memories.

I went to New York shortly after the attacks to see Ground Zero. Let me tell you, no words can describe how it made me feel inside.

They now have a wonderful Memorial tribute remembering all those from September 11 and of those killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February of 1993.

The Memorial’s twin reflection pools are nearly an acre wide and feature largest constructed waterfalls in North America. The pools sit right where the Twin Towers once stood. The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed in bronze panels edging the Memorial pools.

Remembering 9/11This is a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.

2,996 people lost their lives. 343 of them were firefighters.

So on this September 11th please remember all those who served or lost their lives that day. Take a moment of silence to remember them.


Izzy is on the blog team.Hello again… it’s Iz. I have some great news! I’m now officially a member of the MEDiAHEAD blogging team. Woof-oo!!!

As you can see in the photo, I’m intently listening to Jason. He is meeting with us to talk about what we should, and shouldn’t be, blogging about for the next few weeks.

We get together once a month… and sometimes we have coffee and donuts. This particular meeting, there were donuts. I am pretty sure that’s why I was so incredibly interested in this meeting. Who doesn’t love a good donut?

During the meeting the humans realized it might be a good idea to tell everyone I am on the blog team. Especially because I have an organization that I am super passionate about, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to submit my first blog post. Jason agreed.

KC Pet Project and their Volunteers

I would like to give a shout out to all the wonderful people at KC Pet Project and their Volunteers. What a wonderful nonprofit charitable organization! Did you know they care for over 10,000 animals a year and work collaboratively with animal control right here in the Kansas City area?

Izzy gogglesTheir purpose is to facilitate the placement of homeless pets into suitable homes. They work to establish and maintain animal shelters for Kansas City, MO and to maintain procedures which promote health and welfare of the pets in their care. They also spay and neuter to keep the population down, and work really hard to reunite pets with their owners.

How incredibly great is that?!?! This is my favorite part; Kansas City is a No Kill Community!

I love the KC Pet Project. To learn more about them go to www.kcpetproject.org

I sure would love to see more of you, so stop by MEDiAHEAD to say hello; I always have time for a good old fashion belly scratch.

Til next time… Iz.

By Kat McDaniel, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

Kat in Italy: The Sweetness of Doing NothingPeople are always shocked when I tell them I’m going on vacation, renting a car and have no set agenda or reservations for a hotel room.

My preference to travel this way started years ago when my sister and I arrived in Amsterdam and our rental was a disaster. We just wandered the countryside for ten days, stopping at places that looked interesting and grabbing a room. We always say it was our favorite vacation together.

This was different than when we used to travel as a family. We were up at the crack of dawn and roaring down the road in our station-wagon towards the largest ball of string… and the next hotel reservation my father had booked for us.

The Largest Ball of String

My husband and I did see the largest ball of string a few years ago, but it was part of a one week wander that we did in Western Kansas seeing wide open spaces, outsider art and strange little museums. We were even invited back to a farmer’s house who we met at the largest round barn in the world. He wanted us to see his cows and windmills.

I try to savor the moment when I travel, because it’s easy to stay present in a new restaurant or place. I also like to savor what I call time affluence—free, unscheduled time.

The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

Kat in Italy: The Sweetness of Doing NothingOne of my favorite Italian sayings is “Dolce far Niente”, which means “the sweetness of doing nothing.”

It does not mean being lazy, it’s referring to the pleasure one gets from being idle. The ability to completely enjoy and savor a moment. For Italians, this concept is a part of their every day life; spending time drinking cappuccino at a café, enjoying an Aperol Spritz at sunset, talking a stroll around the moonlit piazza before bed and spending the day at a beach.

Dolce far Niente is something Italians embrace and something they do very well.

Our Trip to Italy

John and I had the luxury of spending June and July in Italy this summer. He is a teacher, so he has those months available.

We spent most of our mornings drinking cappuccino and reading on the lovely beaches. And then afternoons enjoying historical places and churches. Finally a lovely, slow dinner late into the evening. We had no agenda and booked almost every room on Hotels.com the day of our stay.

We found farmhouses, small funky B&B’s, an 1,100 AD Monastery, a small round house called a trulli and a Napoleonic fort on the ocean. I always added the search  filter of free breakfast, free wi-fi and free parking when using Hotels.com. The deals were incredible because we stayed in areas that had no American tourists. For example, unlike the $400/night hotel in Positano, we stayed 30 minutes away for $80/night in a beautiful Monastery carved into the side of a cliff. And we were the only ones there.

Traveling this way is scary to some people. Part of it is that we think we’re going to miss something. But what we forget is that serendipity is what we’re really missing—it’s the things that aren’t on our itinerary that are often the most important.

Kat in Italy: The Sweetness of Doing Nothing Kat in Italy: The Sweetness of Doing Nothing Kat in Italy: The Sweetness of Doing Nothing

By LeRay Warrior, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

Time is not a commodity that many of us have these days. Perhaps this is even more so the case when it comes to business. Clients demand faster turnaround times to please their own customers. And sometimes opportunities spring up out of nowhere that require materials you don’t already have. At MEDiAHEAD, we understand the need for speed. And how it can help us edge out both our own and client’s competitors.

Why Speed Matters So Much to Businesses

In this digital world, companies need adaptability and flexibility in order to function at their best. For instance, fast-moving teams that can decide on a marketing campaign based on recent events and put it into action can leave competitors scrambling to catch up.

Back in 2016, the first Chicago-based company able to capitalize on the Chicago Cub’s first World Series Win for over a century by deciding on a baseball themed customer offer will have profited the most. By getting out flyers, radio ads, and online materials quickly, they could beat the competition to the punch. This is regardless of what industry they operate in. Which is why we fully understand how important turnaround times are when a client comes to us in a pinch.

We Go Above and Beyond When It’s Crunch Time for A Client

MEDiAHEAD: Our Speed Kills the CompetitionWe don’t tend to do things slowly here at MEDiAHEAD. We have an average project turn around within 24-48 hours.

However, sometimes we have clients who come to us desperate for the fastest possible turnaround times. Whether they need books, marketing materials, or kitting, we are always prepared to go the extra mile. We make sure everything gets delivered accordingly to their rapid time frames. (If you didn’t know, kitting is a process where separate but related items are grouped, packaged, and supplied together as one unit.)

For instance, we were recently able to turn around over 40 training manuals for a local bank in less than 24 hours. Another example is completing 140 kits for Helzberg Diamonds in just 2 hours so that they wouldn’t have to pay for expedited shipping!

Why Do We Place So Much Emphasis On Speed?

Not only do our clients love us for moving things around to accommodate their urgent needs, but who do you think they are going to come back to when they know they are under time pressure? Yes, that’s right. Us. Our speed kills the competition.

How can MEDiAHEAD Help You?

By Michele Stilwell, Director of Marketing and Accounting at MEDiAHEAD.

We recently had the weirdest week ever. I’m not really sure if the cause was the weather change or what, but thought you might like to hear about it.

The Stolen Truck

Weird and crazy started in the morning with a truck being stolen from the business next door. In plain site during the day. Just, BAM!

We have quite a few security cameras on our building. And the neighboring business knew this so they came over to see if our video captured the truck getting stolen. And yes, in fact we did have video documenting the crime, which was helpful for the police.

The Door-To-Door Cosmetics Salespeople

On two different occasions this same week, we had women come to our front door trying to sell us cosmetics. We’re thinking it must be a racket… Two different women at two different times? Kind of weird. (People do come in our door randomly…)

The Homeless Guy Who Wanted Business Cards

Homeless Guy's Business CardA homeless man who lives in his car came into our office. He was awesome… incredibly positive. He wasn’t letting his situation keep him down. He wanted to have some business cards printed! He wanted to be different…  and he wanted a way to let people know that he collects items that are different from all the rest.

He met with Michael Johnson who helped him with the design of his cards. He wanted a squirrel on the card, especially the feet. In other words, he wanted to make sure the printing bleed marks didn’t cut into the image. “The paws are so cute!” he said.

He had his spirit dog with him at all times. He lost his dog several years back, but the spirit of his dog is always with him. I loved this about him; he actually introduced me to his spirit dog and told me his dog is what keeps him happy and uplifted.

I think sometimes we get so wrapped up in life we forget to sit back take a good look at ourselves and think about how lucky we really are to have all the greatness around us.

Whether it’s a great relationship, great kids, great friends, a great job, a superb family, a house full of pets, or just a simple spirit dog that keeps you going.

To pay for his business cards, he wanted to trade us some 80’s CDs. We suggested he should get some money for the CDs… and donated his cards to him. And we wished him well.

You never know what’s going to happen in downtown Kansas City… and it was a weird week for sure!

By LeRay Warrior, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

“Sorry, I’m busy” is an excuse that spills out of our mouths far too often these days. Not only is it a poor excuse, it’s also demonstrably false according to recent studies carried out on our work habits.

So why do so many employees continue to use this phrase on a daily basis? And how busy are we really?

We’re Not as Busy as We Think We Are

Too busyBefore we think about uttering that phrase or a close equivalent, it’s useful to take a moment to look at the facts about how busy we truly are.

Recent studies have shown that we as Americans, are productive for only a small portion of our 8-hour work day. A survey of over 2,000 full-time office workers revealed some startling statistics. On average, we’re only productive for 2 hours 53 minutes of our 8-hour day.

That’s less than 3 hours.

It also uncovered that we tend to spend over an hour per day on non-work related websites, with an almost equal amount of time spent checking social media.

When you add in having chats with coworkers, taking smoke breaks, making and eating snacks, and of course making the obligatory round of office coffees, it’s not hard to see where all the time suddenly goes.

Perhaps the most interesting statistic from this study is that we spend almost half an hour per day looking for new jobs. And yet we are often “too busy” to help colleagues carry out meaningful work at our current place of employment, or taking the meeting from the sales rep who may benefit ones organization.

“I’m Busy!” Has Become Code for “I Don’t Want to.”

Too busyWhen colleagues approach us to get help with a task and we say we’re too busy, it’s often nothing to do with our current workload. Instead, it’s become a polite way of saying we don’t want to do something.

Think about it; let’s say your coworker needs help with a report that’s due to be presented to your respective manager tomorrow. You give the usual spiel about how you’d love to help, but your totally swamped with your own work. Sadly, it would take no more than 15 minutes to run over the figures with him.

And yet people don’t think twice about leaving early on a Friday, getting to work slightly late, or taking long lunches with coworkers. That’s before even mentioning the usual 15 minutes here and 15 minutes there that people dedicate to scrolling through Facebook, LinkedIn and any other social media platforms we enjoy.

Today, employees are wising up to the fact that “I’m busy” signifies that you don’t want to… not that you can’t.

Why “I’m Busy” Sends The Wrong Message

If “I’m busy” becomes the go to answer, then it creates a negative perception. You’re likely to need help with something yourself one day. If you’ve always been “too busy” to help others, then don’t expect people to form a line to give you their time when you’ve gotten stuck with a task you can’t do alone.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, if people think you’re busy all the time then they won’t bother presenting you with opportunities. By always thinking about yourself, you’ll miss out on the opportunities to work on collaborative projects that could be vital to both your personal and professional growth.

Change Your Mindset

If you’ve fallen into the “I’m busy” trap, it might be time to remove those words from your business vocabulary. By making time to help colleagues, or take an additional meeting, not only can one build better working relationships, we can also create a network that we can go to too when we need help.

So next time you catch yourself saying, “Sorry, I’m busy”, really think about how busy you are. If possible, replace those words with your willingness to help. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results.

By LeRay Warrior, Principal at MEDiAHEAD.

As I’ve worked in sales for almost all of my career, I think I’ve heard nearly every possible excuse. “I’m busy right now”, “I’ll think about it”, “Let me get back to you on that” are just a few of the most common deflectors used by potential clients who feel it’s impolite to say no right off the bat.

But these are all just early signals that later in the process they may eventually go cold, dodge emails or evade sales calls. Many salespeople would much prefer that you started with a clear and firm “no thank you.” As sales professionals, we genuinely appreciate the upfront “no”.

There are several reasons why this is the case.

Waste of Time and Resources as a Salesperson

TimeWhen fielding a sales call, the recipient knows that if they don’t close the door on the proposition, they are almost certainly going to be contacted again.

I spoke in my last blog post about the “Rule of Seven”, and the importance of persistence as a sales person. I expect to speak to a prospect several times (at least 7) before making the sale. Therefore, by not shutting me down at the initial point of contact, I am going to schedule more calls, emails and possibly meetings to try and win a client over.

This is a huge waste of resources if the client has no actual intention of ever utilizing the products or services I’m selling. Time and energy would be much better spent on prospects who are taking a genuine interest in what is being offered.

Waste of Time and Resources for the Prospect

It’s not just the sales staff that suffers when a prospect doesn’t say that the service is of no interest to them.

As already mentioned, they will have to spend additional time on the phone with the sales rep, which in some cases, is several times a week. Then there’s reading and/or deleting follow up emails, LinkedIn messages and any other form of professional communication they might receive.

That time would be much better dedicated to taking care of their core responsibilities in whatever role he or she fills at their company.

Prospect Becomes Increasingly Annoyed

Just Say NoIf a prospect continues to offer hope to a salesperson, the rep is going to keep contacting them to try and set up a meeting or call, receiving a chance to present services face-to-face and develop the relationship further. If a prospect has no real interest in what the rep is pitching, then that prospect is going to become increasingly annoyed.

It’s surprising how often, despite the inconvenience, prospects will continue to keep up the facade of being interested in the products and services reps offer. In rare cases, prospects can finally flip out and say in no uncertain terms that they don’t want to be contacted again. There’s simply no need to get to this point. By just being up front and honest at the very beginning, both parties benefit enormously.

Genuine Leads Miss Out On Great Sales Service

Where this can become very frustrating is when quality time is wasted on non-interested parties, instead of the people who need it the most.

By expending quality time on non-interested prospects, there may be several clients that are almost ready to sign on the dotted line who are not receiving the sales support they deserve. It may be the case that an interested party only has a few clarification questions before committing to an agreement.

If sales reps have been spending too much time focusing on the wrong people, they could miss out on a sale by not having the time to answer other prospect’s questions that could help them close the deal.

It’s Ok to Say “No”

Yes... but I really mean No.Sometimes, people find it difficult to say no.

It could be that they feel personally uncomfortable saying no to a salesperson once a friendly rapport has been built. Personally, I would say that if this is you, don’t be afraid to say no. You can do so politely and there will be no animosity or hard feelings whatsoever. As sales professionals, we know it’s about the numbers, and we expect many more people to say no than yes.

“No” Offers an Opportunity to Pick Things Up Later Down the Line

A lot of my successfully landed clients informed me that the services I was offering weren’t for them at that moment in time. I was then able to respond with a simple, “Thank you. I’ll check back in with you in 6 months.”

When I checked back, they knew who I was, they knew about the services I offered and circumstances had sufficiently changed for them to become interested in what I had to sell. They later became a client.

Imagine the amount of resources I would’ve had to invest had they not initially said no!

Closing Thoughts

I’ve always valued honesty, and by saying a polite “no thank you” you’re going to save time for everyone involved. It helps a salesperson focus their efforts on those who need it most.

So next time you take a sales call and it’s not a fit, consider giving a polite “no thank you.”

Happy 4th of July!

MEDiAHEAD wishes you and yours a safe and wonderful time on this special day in American history.

Happy Fourth of July!