Tinuiti, one of the largest independent performance-marketing agencies, on Tuesday announced the appointment of Jeremy Cornfeldt as its first president.
Cornfeldt brings over two decades of agency, media, performance marketing and brand experience to oversee the agency’s daily operations and guide future endeavors -- as well as his experience with strategic thinking as both a race-car driver and enthusiast.
The appointment comes after Tinuiti’s two recent acquisitions — Ampush, which supports social, and Bliss Point Media, which cements the agency in streaming TV and measurement.
“I like to help people realize their full potential,” he said. “When at Dentsu I reported in to Nigel Morris. He was great at a lot of things, but one of his special gifts was helping you realize your all the capabilities you can bring to the table.”
As president, Cornfeldt will report to Tinuiti CEO Zach Morrison, joining the executive team.
Prior to joining Tinuiti, Cornfeldt served as U.S. CEO of Brainlabs, a global, digital-first media agency, where he was responsible for direction and growth in the U.S. market. He also spent time at the Dentsu agency iProspect.
Search & Performance Marketing Daily (S&PMD) caught up with Cornfeldt to talk about his decision to join Tinuiti, plans for the agency, and his love for racing cars.
Search & Performance Marketing Daily: Why did you choose to join Tinuiti?
Cornfeldt: In 2019, I started to think about what would be next. I had an amazing career at Dentsu. I was there for more than 20 years, even before it was Dentsu. I wanted to learn more about the independent agencies and those backed by private equity. It became appealing to me. That started my quest.
The lure of Tinuiti, with all the assets like the recent acquisition Bliss Point Media -- it became clear to me the depth of the agency. We’re nearing the depth and complexity of what you might see in a holding company. That’s a huge opportunity given that we are one agency.
S&PMD: What are some of the things you really want to do this year?
Cornfeldt: The list is long, so the one I will single out is not the only thing I want to do.
The complexity of our channel and how you make it work as well as the evolution in the platform brings opportunity to clients. How brands and customers communicate through these platforms is at the forefront for me.
The fact that we now have the capability of streaming through Bliss Point, and how the team has managed to optimize the media similar to traditional performance channels is fascinating. We also combine strategic planning and thinking about audiences, with a lens toward performance to make sure based on the data we collect. We’re in the process of putting it all together.
S&PMD: In high school, what were your business goals?
Cornfeldt: I struggled to find my focus in high school. This might sound lame, but I just wanted to be happy. When I got into college, I didn’t study business like a lot of my friends, because I was still trying to find my way. I studied communications. I had a professor who taught me about public speaking and learned behaviors.
I knew from that point I wanted to push into communications area in professional services. How that would unfold, I wasn’t sure. I did an internship at Hill Holliday, my first foray into advertising on the new business team. I also did an internship in the training department at John Hancock. … When e-business and ecommerce became nomenclature, and agencies began to launch them, I jumped in.
S&PMD: What type of books do you like to read?
Cornfeldt: I’ve been interested in biographies and autobiographies. I’m reading Bono’s memoir Surrender written in song lyrics; and Paul Newman’s book The Extraordinary Life Of An Ordinary Man. It fascinated me to read about how some of these folks who have started off as seemingly ordinary people have done extraordinary things
S&PMD: What is the one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
Cornfeldt: People who really know me won’t be surprised, but when I meet new people and they ask about hobbies, I tell them about how I really enjoy getting on a racetrack with my car. I haven’t had time to do this in the past few years, but I’ve always been a car person. About 10 years ago I joined a sports-car club and started going to the racetrack. It’s fun, a great community, and it’s competitive.
People think I’m somewhat mild-mannered and nice, which is true, but when they hear I like to get in my car and drive around a racetrack as fast as I can go, they think it’s out of character for me.
S&PMD: What is the best piece of advice anyone gave you, and whom it did come from?
Cornfeldt: I’ve received a lot of great advice and great mentors, but on a personal level, David Verklin, who ran Aegis in the Americas. I appreciated this because he was very good at building his personal brand.
In a quiet moment he said always know what people think of you before you walk into a room. Know the good things and know the bad things. Play to your strengths and be aware of the areas of opportunities that exist, because that will enable you to deliver to your fullest.