The way it grows: CMI Media Group and Compas tap new leadership to build on gains

CMI Media and Compas leaders plot next steps to use data, analytics and one-to-one marketing to target people wherever they are. (Getty Images)

For two years, CMI Media has been on a growth streak with new business wins and employee gains—and, now, it’s got a new management team to keep it going.

Susan Dorfman, president of CMI Media Group, adds CEO to her role, taking over from Stan Woodland, the founder of CMI Media and partner media buying company Compas, who moves up to executive chairman. Jim Woodland takes over as CEO at Compas.

Other new appointments include Marjolein Bruurs, who joins as chief financial officer from WPP holding group; Julia Missaggia, who moves up to executive vice president of people and culture; John Donovan, who moves from Compas president to chief business development officer; and Nicole Woodland-De Van, who steps up as Compas president.

Many of the “new” leaders are already veterans at CMI and Compas, but the promotions and rearrangements are a purposeful move to build on momentum.

CMI and Compas both have seen double-digit growth year over year for the past several years and added lots of staff to serve their pharma and health clients. CMI added 215 people last year and already added another 154 in the first half of 2021, while Compas added 26 last year and another 21 so far this year.

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Dorfman, who’s been at CMI for 11 years, and Justin Freid, CMI’s chief innovation and growth officer and a nine-year CMI veteran, said they're planning to build on the data, analytics and one-to-one marketing that’s gotten them this far.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the industry, it’s also accelerated both digital and technology innovation and, in an unexpected shift, helped pharma companies be more open to change.

Both executives notice a higher level of risk tolerance today compared to the traditional mindset of “rushing innovation slowly.” Drugmakers are now asking what’s possible instead, Dorfman said.

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Freid agreed the industry has changed from needing a push to try new ideas to being willing to think differently—and having new talent who are willing and eager to do so. Today, pharma companies understand “brands need to interact and engage just like any others,” he said.

Another change in media—and one CMI has already been tackling—is delivering health messages while people are just living life. That means instead of only serving up ads and information when people visit a branded website or click on an ad, they’re using machine learning, data and expertise to identify and reach quality audiences wherever they are.

“There’s an opportunity to uncover, support and serve people most likely to have a condition, not re-targeting them in a creepy way, but rather when they’re just living life,” Dorfman said.