Margaret Murphy ’00 M.B.A. on Clients, Creative and Connections

Evening UST MBA alumna Margaret Murphy, president of OLSON and its subsidiary 1to1, understands the importance of these three C’s of her business. We've taken some excerpts from her interview with B. Magazine in Fall 2011 to share here. 

“Our objective is to build and activate brand communities from the masses down to the one-to-one level for our clients,” stated Murphy, reinforcing the company mantra “Connection is all that counts.” The goal is then to tailor the interactions and communications to benefit the consumer, such as offering timely information and special offers most relevant and valued by each individual, which in turn drives business for the client.

“I get a lot of energy from ‘solutioning’ around our clients in a creative way,” remarks Murphy, “whether that’s actual design or just how we creatively solve a client’s problem.” Great creative design and clever messaging will always be a core part of advertising and marketing, but to strategically build and execute a campaign across several channels and platforms simultaneously (print, PR, online, mobile, etc.) requires a “line-blurring agency” according to Murphy.

Murphy pays homage to the strong history of advertising and marketing agencies in Minneapolis who have managed to compete successfully against firms in flashier locations on the coasts. Murphy feels the quality of local creative talent, the strong Midwest work ethic and entrepreneurial drive demonstrated by Pat Fallon, Lee Lynch and others are key reasons for this success. But she is also quick to mention the many “amazing brands” we have based here such as Target, Best Buy, General Mills and Medtronic who appreciate and support local talent, providing opportunities to showcase their talents for nationally and internationally recognized companies.

According to Murphy “clients deserved a higher level of service,” feeling that many marketing companies become too internally focused and don’t look externally enough at what they  actually bring clients in a tough marketplace. “As with any service business, if you commit to good service, it takes sacrifice,” Murphy said, acknowledging the grind that comes at times in the ad agency realm. “But if you’re going to do it, then serve well.”

In part, Murphy suggests this requires creating an agency of ‘A-players.’ She asserts that ‘A-players’ focus on client satisfaction and results but also collectively foster an environment of mutual respect, complementary strengths, accountability and commitment to each individual’s and the organization’s growth.

Murphy understands OLSON’s client satisfaction is built on the day-to-day efforts of the staff, and if they are not able or energized to provide those efforts in an effective way, everyone suffers. “My philosophy is that I work for the employees, and I’m privileged to do so,” she says. “If I’m not driving value for them as well – whether it’s personal growth, financial stability for their families, or providing a smart operation with a clear vision and accountabilities – then I’m not doing my job.”