Spectrum News! is a publication distributed monthly through the MiPPA organization. We are proud to announce Paul’s featured story.
Professional Development Makes a Difference!
An interview with a Michigan Promotional Professional with a reputation for being one of the best at problem solving, creativity and wow-ing his clients.
Paul Zafarana, Vice President, Pica Marketing Group.
1. You’ve developed a great reputation for being a professional distributor. What have you done to grow as a professional?
In the beginning of my career, I looked around at those people with whom I respected and found the common thread was their commitment to their craft. Therefore, it has always been important when attending PPAI in Las Vegas, a MiPPA event or the ASI Show in Chicago, the most valuable time spent is
not on the trade show floor, but rather in the classroom networking and learning not only from the speaker but also from my peers.
2. What types of industry education do you take advantage of?
It is important to me, when choosing the classes to attend, I look for topics I’m not particularly comfortable with or ones, which directly impact my clients. For example, a couple of years ago at PPAI, there was a class all about “cause marketing”. Many of my clients are directly involved with social issues; therefore, the information I was able to gain was beneficial for myself and my clients and helped us both better understand the current market trends,
and best practices.
Furthermore, education, which focuses “on the business” not “in the business,” is particularly helpful. Any efficiency I can glean from other business-owners and experts is very welcome. As many businesses today, Pica Marketing Group is working with fewer resources and higher expectations. Therefore, implementing best practices has improved our processes. I strive to surround myself with people smarter than myself, and use their knowledge
to help make myself look smarter than I really am.
3. How has your commitment to professional development helped your business?
My commitment to professional development has yielded huge benefits to my professional development, my professionalism and overall client relationship. Not only is the information from class beneficial, the opportunity to network with my peers is huge. We discuss best practices for the industry, specific markets and client interaction. Equally important is the opportunity to build relationships with suppliers – which I consider strategic partners. Because Pica Marketing Group provides the highest level of client partnerships, in return we look for those same relationships with our strategic partners.
4. Tell me a little about yourself and your company that you’re willing to share with others in the industry.
I am a graduate of Western Michigan University’s printing and marketing program and have spent my entire career learning the industry and
understanding how everything fits together. (from estimating at printing companies, to project producer at a Campbell Ewald Advertising to now “head
cook and bottle washer”) The company was constructed as a client centric entity which is based on a compilation of all my experiences, both good and
bad, to create the best client relationship/partnership I can envision. I fail all the time, the most important part is that I have learned from those mistakes
and how to avoid them in the future.