After 20 years of working with high-growth technology companies, Daniel Murray ’91 now reflects that his professional life has followed an interesting pattern.
“I’ve had a career where I often work at a small startup that later gets bought by a big company,” he says, adding that his interest in working at more entrepreneurial companies probably followed a realization he had while working for Quaker Oat’s Asian business unit , which was then one of the company’s smallest. “I really liked the ability to make things happen. Instead of being a small fish in a big pond, I could get more stuff done being that same small fish in a smaller pond. So that's where I first realized I like being closer to the business; I like being able to move the needle.”
Murray left Quaker Oats to explore the smaller ponds that were dotting California’s emerging tech field before the dot-com bubble burst in 2000. After that, he began a pattern of working with promising startups from their early days through to their exits.
One of the first companies that helped him experience this was Overture, a startup at the forefront of search engine marketing. Though SEM was relatively unknown in the early 2000s, Murray could see that paid search drove ROI and eventually all marketers would want to participate in this new media type. He was right: Yahoo purchased Overture in 2003 for $1.8 billion dollars, and SEM is a mainstay of today’s marketing mix.
Murray is currently at the forefront of a similar seachange in advertising as the president of CreatorIQ, a company that provides an enterprise-grade influencer marketing platform to businesses big and small. Like with paid search 15 years ago, he believes that influencer marketing will be a key part of the marketing mix; if he is correct, most companies will want to manage this media form more closely, which will require technology.
“When I got involved in SEM, most brands were not yet taking it seriously , but the innovators saw the strategic value and the great ROI, so they invested people, process and technology to drive growth and that's what's happening now in influencer marketing,” Murray explains. “Our SaaS platform helps brands manage their influencer marketing campaigns at scale which is driving growth for our clients and giving them an edge versus competitors who have not yet leaned in.”
"Time will tell what’s on the horizon for both CreatorIQ and Murray, but he says he’s thankful to Kellogg for instilling in him a winning formula for finding the right businesses to invest his time, expertise and money in.
“At Kellogg, I was surrounded by high-quality people and they made me better and smarter,” says Murray. “It’s the ecosystem I found at Kellogg that I’m always looking for at companies—ecosystems where I can maximize my learning and my growth versus ones that will maximize my compensation or my job title. That’s the key fundamental I got from Kellogg and it has created the philosophy that I bring to CreatorIQ and any other company that I work with.”