CEO Chris McMurry Talks About His Company's 50% Growth and the Value of the Tempur-PedicJuly 28, 2011 By Noelle Skodzinski
Certain people just exude confidence and have an obvious, clear path for their company's direction. Chris McMurry, CEO of content marketing firm (in "old" terms: custom publisher) McMurry, is one of those people. His focus and ability to anticipate and adapt quickly to market shifts have led the company to grow "around 50 percent in five years [from $33 million in 2006 to $50 million currently], despite the recession and industry shifts," he says.
The company has 170 staff members in three offices (Phoenix, Ariz., Manhattan and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.) and serves more than 400 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, such as The Ritz-Carlton, Toyota, Verizon, Johns Hopkins Medicine and PNC bank. It was one of the first custom publishers, launching Vim & Vigor in 1984, and has evolved from a print-centric custom publisher to a multimedia firm serving marketers with custom programs in print, Web (including websites, social media and e-newletters), video and mobile.
While "print is still king," says McMurry, "video and web are growing fastest."
Here, McMurry shares his insights into the keys to growth and running a successful company, what content services best serve marketers today, and how racing cars and sleeping on a Tempur-Pedic mattress influence his life and business.
The Revenue Picture
Noelle Skodzinski: McMurry has been a pioneer in custom publishing for several decades. What have been the biggest changes during that time that you've seen in what marketers are asking for and what services you're offering?
Chris McMurry: The single, greatest change is that content has become a marketing essential with far-reaching implications (for instance, achieving stellar search rankings requires content). Whereas just five years ago, content was predominantly limited to projects that often sat in a silo in the form of a branded magazine or newsletter.
The Internet and social media (among other developments) have allowed marketers and brands to think of themselves as the media-informing and entertaining consumers-and to build content in all imaginable forms, and distribute it easily and without the necessity of the traditional media middleman.
This trend will only accelerate with the rapid adoption of Internet TV, where consumers will "search" for programming (rather than scanning a guide), the result of which is that brands will be able to access your TV screen without the middleman and will be able to outspend and win search terms that will serve up their content. I have long contended that brands would become the leading media in the world, and that time is upon us.