CMI/Compas | 2018

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Stan Woodland, the veteran CEO of CMI/Compas, describes 2017 as another catch-your-breath year for his firm. And, by all indications, that was a very good thing. Following a nearly 19% jump in U.S. revenue during 2016 — to $77.2 million — CMI/Compas grew the sum by 21.8% in 2017, to an MM&M-estimated $94 million.

Woodland says strong partnerships with a host of pharma A-listers — Johnson & Johnson, Eli Lilly, Sanofi, Bayer, and Boehringer Ingelheim, among others — drove the growth.

“More than 85% of our clients rate us as indispensable,” Woodland reports. “When you have that kind of support, it lends itself to over 90% client retention.” CMI/Compas' 2017 launch of the Solomon suite of tools helped build and bolster these relationships. Woodland notes it is an asset in the non-personal promotion planning process, helping right-size and monitor brand investments. It's also useful in setting specific exposure, generating awareness and ROI, and pursuing revenue-based goals.

He believes another indicator of the firm's growth lies in its ability to attract and retain key talent. CMI/Compas grew from 352 employees at the end of 2016 to 426 at the same point in 2017. In fact, more than 50 current staffers left the company for a competitor and quickly came back.

“When an employee returns, we give them a boomerang,” Woodland says with a laugh. “All throughout the company you see these handmade boomerangs. It has been a lot of fun.” Coupled with this lighthearted touch on the personnel front is a serious investment in staff development, which many boomerangers cite as a motivating factor for their returns.

“We have a customized university under development that will train each employee level in the organization to reach the next level,” Woodland explains. “Their career path can be driven through that ongoing development. The more we train our people, the better equipped they are to handle the growth and demands our clients put on us.”

Along those lines, CMI/Compas has expanded its executive leadership team to free its upper ranks to participate in staff development efforts, increase the frequency of senior-level conservations with clients, and accelerate the launch or completion of high-priority initiatives.

Newer additions include EVP, managing director Rebecca Frederick; EVP, managing director Elizabeth Barron; EVP, performance analytics and data sciences Paul Kallukaran; and EVP, managing director Justin Freid.

“We're already seeing benefits” from the staff expansion, Woodland says.

He adds adaptability continues to play a crucial role in CMI/Compas' success. “There was a time when 95% of the media spend was in print. Now, you have 60% in digital and within it you have so many vertical subsets.”

Thirty years into his career, Woodland himself remains a true measurement disciple. “Clients are giving you high-fives and kudos over [demonstrating value], versus beating you up over your rate,” he says.
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