AV Insider Spotlight : Kelly P Perkins, CTS – Marketing Communications Manager at AVI Systems

Each week, I am highlighting some of the incredible people who are in the Audio Video Industry. As this blog is mostly about AV insiders, today we are profiling Kelly P Perkins .

Here is a brief intro about her.
Kelly P Perkins has worked in the Audiovisual industry for over 10 years. As of this article being published, she is working as a Marketing Communications Manager at AVI Systems.

Please drop your questions in the comments below and I will make sure that she sees them.

1.Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?

I got laid off from an advertising agency and was bartending/freelancing to stay afloat. I answered an ad in the local paper for a full-time marketing gig at a small start-up company called Vaddio. When you work for a small company you have your hands in a lot of different buckets. I helped with everything from trade show setup (pulling cables/wires) to content creation, graphic design – and eventually after several years, more marketing strategy. When management started to change I left the company to work for one of our customers – AVI Systems, which is where I work today.

2.What do you think is the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry.

Category engagement for one. Nobody knows the industry even exists. I’ve said it before – we suck at marketing ourselves. It’s like we want to stay this hidden gem and not let anyone outside of the industry know we exist.
But if you actually do stumble into the industry, I mean it’s no different than any other industry – the challenges are the same. Training – there’s no real formal training or schooling like other industries – IT, electrical, etc. But there is training – organizations just need to take it upon themselves to ensure it gets done. I’d say another challenge, at least from an integration standpoint, would be the massive amount of products and technologies. If you look at AVIQ’s website, there are over 400K products to choose from – how the hell does anyone master all of them and how they all work together? Team selling and collaboration in an organization is SO IMPORTANT. Not everyone can know everything so employees must work together to create the best possible solution for the customer. This takes time – teaching new folks the tribal knowledge of the industry, the technical piece of the industry, the actual process from marketing/sales, integration all the way through Day 2 of service and support.

3.What are the positives of working in this industry.

The people. The ever-changing landscape of technology. I mean audio/video/lighting – it’s fun. But mostly the people.

[RELATED] : If you have missed any of the previous interviews, please click here.

4.What in your opinion would you change in the industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent ?

I think the negatives are no different than in any other industry. We struggle with recruitment and retention – getting new folks in. The industry itself is an older industry and we have to adapt and provide leadership succession planning. If we want our industry to live on for another 50 years, we need to train, educate and groom the younger generation to take over – otherwise we’ll be a bunch of companies owned by venture capitalists who a) don’t care about the AV industry and b) don’t understand it.

5.Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you.

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Someone to create that “we” relationship with, someone we can partner with be that trusted advisor.

6.Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?

Gather with my team, make sure we’re all on task and answer any questions they may have. There are 5 of us, who all specialize in different areas, so just making sure we’re all on the same page is extremely important. We work with 15 different offices so there are always lots of emails/phone calls going in and out – just trying to make sure we’re all up to speed on what’s going on where. In addition to working with the 15 offices, we also work with our 200+ manufacturer partners, so again communication and organization is key. Last year AVI hosted 31 events throughout the US with multiple manufacturer participation, so again, lots of spreadsheets, lots of organization. Marketing is typically long-term and strategic, but we work in a very sales-oriented fast-paced environment so we have to try and be one step ahead – which is definitely a challenge. It’s honestly a balance of both keeping up with the latest in AV/UC and every other acronym, while also trying to stay up-to-date with all the latest marketing techniques. Sometimes I feel like my brain might explode. Good thing AVI has quite the support system (and I have a kick-ass marketing team.)

7.Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?

We use Skype for Business – and I have no idea how I’d function without it. Because we’re so spread out throughout the US, it’s absolutely necessary to be video-ready at any moment. I bet I use Skype video at least 3 times a day – but that’s mostly internally. It’s also vital that we have the option of connecting to other videoconferencing platforms as well. Yesterday I did a joinme and a Zoom call with some external partners. I use Google Hangouts pretty regularly. We use Newline interactive monitors, Cisco and Polycom for our huddle spaces. It’s again, absolutely necessary to be able to plug-in quickly – we’re always futzing at the last minute. Did I really just use that word?

8. How do you stay relevant in this industry.

I guess I try and stay involved – stay connected. Whether it’s with a local organization in town, or InfoComm/NSCA/etc. just try to get involved. Keep learning, training, educating yourself. Ask questions. In a world of “always on” I sometimes feel like I can’t get away – even if I wanted to.

Please connect with Kelly P Perkins on Linkedin.


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