Color Revived

STORY BY Fred Bauters
PHOTO BY Ryan Nicholson

Kathryn McDaniel has always been an entrepreneur. She opened her first business, a small agency for advertising and graphic design, when she was 22. And more than 20 years ago, she and her husband moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Kansas City, cracked open the Sunday paper and found a small printing company for sale.

Fast-forward to today, and printing is only one element of ColorMark’s services. Four years ago, the entire team sat down to evaluate the future while the economy tumbled and printers were being hit with the digital age. “We said, ‘We can either let this thing fizzle out or go for it,’” McDaniel says.

They dug into inventory management, storefront and cross media, and did so with their own staff. “People had to pick up a book and teach themselves,” McDaniel says. The result has been a revitalized company with all the tools—QR codes, apps, G7-certified printers, predictive modeling, variable printing—to help companies get the word out effectively.

“We spend a lot of time researching a customer,” McDaniel says, and it paid off for the Kansas City YMCA. ColorMark honed the message, visuals and offer to all types of visitors. They did the same for KU Edwards Campus. With a personalized image and an offer for a free T-shirt for responding to a survey, summer enrollment soared 10 percent.