After establishing himself at some of the largest media companies in the country, Chris started his own business. He grew up in an entrepreneurial family and dreaming big is in his DNA.
What is Marine Media Partners?
Marine Media Partners (MMP) is an advertising agency specializing in media planning and buying, social media management, and search engine marketing. We’re super proud to be one of the first media buying shops in Maine to adopt using comScore data to help us pinpoint more effective advertising opportunities for our clients. Our goal is to help our clients achieve long term business growth by getting their marketing message in front of the right people. We like to say we’re connecting brand, media and consumer in more meaningful ways.
Can you tell us about your previous career of working in network & broadcast television?
Working in broadcast news was a dream come true! At my core, I’m a story teller and I take what I learned in that relatively short chapter with me into every aspect of my personal and professional life. I started working at the NBC affiliate in Portland, Maine my junior year of college and started out as an Associate Producer. I worked my way up to being a Multimedia Journalist in a very short time, while being a full time student, where I helped produce newscasts, gather news stories and report live on the air. Being a reporter was by far the most humbling experience. As a reporter you see people at their best and more often worst times and to be invited into people’s homes as a trusted source to share those stories… it still gives me goosebumps thinking about it. As rewarding as it was it did take a toll. When you work in news it not only tests your own stamina but it tests all the personal relationships you have around you as well. I’ve never had a job that took me from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows all in one shift. It’s seriously a rollercoaster of emotions! You’re running off adrenaline all day long. I always got engulfed in the stories I was reporting on and carried them with me far after the work day wrapped up - heck, I still carry those stories I reported on with me. I ended up leaving news for my family and for my own health. Even in my short time of two years I feel like it accelerated my personal and professional development by ten years. Working in news is fast paced and every day presents the demand of learning something new. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been able to shake that adrenaline of broadcast news off. I always have to keep moving forward and learning new things. I thank my time working in news for that mentality.
What has led you to build your own business?
I’m fortunate that I’ve grown up in a family full of entrepreneurs, so that drive to build and create something better has always been a part of me. I struggled for a while to come with an idea that would solve a real problem. After working in news I spent the next several years establishing myself in some of the country’s largest and most diversified media companies in the country such as Tegna, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Cox Media Group working as an advertising rep. I was successful because I genuinely cared for every client as if their business were my own. It was my clients that inspired me to start this agency. In today’s flooded information age there’s never been a greater demand for clarity in advertising. My mission to inform and advocate for the brands I work with was the root of me starting MMP.
How do you stay up-to-date with the changes and evolutions in digital/social media marketing and advancing technology?
It’s not easy to keep up with the current media landscape, that’s for sure. It’s a really exciting time though to be a part of the industry because in many ways it’s going through an incredible renaissance. The word “digital” use to mean online media channels, now digital components are applied to nearly every medium. I have chosen to invest significantly into the same technology and data sources that the national media companies have their hands on to measure even traditional media like broadcast television. Even television which most people consider “traditional” is anything but traditional! It’s measured daily in thousands of households, we can see everything from when someone changes the channel in a program to where they change the channel to. Data is a key indicator today in how we study people’s behaviors and consumption patterns and I pay close attention to that. I treat every day like a class. Along with aggregating and analyzing data I spend at least two hours a day just reading. Reading trade journals, advertising news sties, competitor’s works, and most importantly getting out and hearing from business owners. Business owners will always have the best pulse on the consumer. Meeting and learning from them is the best education.
What do you like to do outside of work that directly impacts your career?
A recent endeavor I’ve taken on which has been instrumental to my personal and professional development has been to teach. I went back to my alma mater at the University of Southern Maine to help students in the media studies program learn more about the advertising industry and the impact it has in our culture and media landscape. I learn so much from all of the students, it’s incredible! So while this class is technically work, like everything else I do, it sure doesn’t feel like it.
What has been the biggest challenge and lesson you've faced so far?
The biggest challenge for me has been learning how to let go of some control in my business. Being a perfectionist isn’t always all that healthy. I like to have my hand in every part of the business from the strategy, media planning and buying, to the campaign management and reporting, but in order to maintain the absolute best service at the rate of growth we’re currently at I know it isn’t sustainable as a one or two person shop. My Italian grandmother always used to say the old adage “Rome wasn’t built in a day”… I have to remind myself of that frequently. And the perfectionist side of me has a challenge with that sometimes.
What are your top 2 most memorable client experiences?
Only two! There have been so many! One of my favorite experiences would have to be when I was working with a local client in Southern Maine and they invited my wife and I down to visit them in Pennsylvania for a weekend where they run their other business. When my client offered it to me, I don’t think he was expecting me to take him up on it and his reaction when I shook his hand with enthusiasm was priceless! I love when I get to dive deep into the story behind a business and the entrepreneurs that bring it to life. It’s inspiring!
If you could work with any brand in the world, what would it be and why?
It’s funny, when I think about who I want to work with I’m not so much dazzled by a particular brand as I am with an actual person and purpose. Sure there are brands that when I see their advertising and try to understand their strategy it totally rocks me and I just fall in love with their message and I think, “dang, that would be awesome to be able and help share that story” but I approach business in reverse. I can literally get just as excited about a project with a local mom and pop shop as I am with the idea of working with a national brand as long as the story is there. When I meet with new clients I’m focused on one thing, finding their WHY. When we stop pitching products in ads and move towards why we’re actually in business… those are the stories that not only resonate with people and move businesses forward, but they move our culture forward. Those are the inspiring brands I want work with.
What is one "I couldn't live without it" App you use?
What is your proudest personal accomplishment?
It has to be my own personal growth. I’ve always been driven to push myself outside of my comfort zone and through doing that I have learned so much about myself, my field of studies and most importantly what I feel is a well-rounded perspective and appreciation for life. When I think about my own personal accomplishment I can’t help but be grateful for my family, friends, colleagues, and everyone that has believed in me along the way. Putting up with a big dreamer like myself is definitely not easy… my wife is a saint! A lot of people -even myself sometimes- think I’m crazy for leaving a very successful and safe corporate job to start my own business, but Elise is always picking me up and dusting me off whenever I start to doubt myself. She never questions it. You need someone like that. What I’ve learned is that life is a team sport and I am so grateful to be surrounded by the best!
What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote?
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Walt Disney
In one word, describe yourself: