Eric Webb is an entrepreneur at heart. His career has spanned marketing and sales operations roles as varied as copywriting in an advertising agency to leading B2B and B2C-focused campaigns in the manufacturing, water treatment, online and financial services industries. He even served as the director of communications for the Chicago White Sox of Major League Baseball, when they needed a marketer to think outside the box.
Among all of his home runs, his most memorable might be the internet pioneer mypoints.com he helped launch in the 1990s, which developed customer and employee rewards systems that drove web traffic before search engines were a thing. Webb’s team took that company public.
More recently, Webb was the senior marketing director for a billion-dollar accounting firm, where he was responsible for strategies and programs that directed the company’s data and customer relationship management systems, website development, lead generation and marketing communications. But he yearned to once again own something that he could cultivate, incorporating the skills and experiences he’d earned over a 30-year career.
“I spent a lot of time researching several companies, and I had begun looking at AlphaGraphics back in 2014, but the timing wasn’t quite right then,” Webb says. “What attracted me to this brand – then and now — is not just the strong core business in digital printing, but the mindset of the future that looked ahead into the opportunities around marketing services and consulting.”
In June, he acquired a top-performing AlphaGraphics Business Center in Cary, North Carolina, from a Franchisee who was retiring.
Webb says the fundamental difference is a shift in customer relationship from a transactional provider to a trusted advisor.
“I met recently with a small business owner who wanted a tri-fold brochure, and we had lunch and talked through his goals and challenges. Now we are executing a more comprehensive marketing effort, including web and social media and other digital components,” he says. “We’ve even explored some new business lines and prospecting resources that we’re confident can drive revenue for him. That’s the value we’re able to provide to our clients – they’re able to become more targeted and efficient, versus feeling their way through it.”
Having been in leadership roles with major companies with large budgets, Webb has always enjoyed working with small business people. It’s one thing to have a ton of money and do everything you want, he says, but the real challenge is in maximizing a limited amount of resources to find smarter ways to win.
From a personal perspective, Webb says his own experience as a small business owner with AlphaGraphics Business Center confirmed his instincts.
“I had a team of advisors helping me with due diligence, and this was really a unanimous no-brainer,” he says. “A legacy brand built on a solid concept, with a vision for the future, a great team already in place with strong cash flow and in growth mode – it was totally complementary to my skills.
“I suspect our growth will be fairly dramatic, based on the potential to further expand into that consultative role and embrace technology and new media. Print will always be at the core of what we do, but now in addition to press operators, I see us adding communicators, designers, web people. We can have all of that in-house, and that’s a strong position to be in.”
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