New Taunton CEO Ready To Reinforce, Increase Consumer Engagement
Newtown-based Taunton, Inc, a multichannel media company providing high-quality information and inspiration to special interest enthusiasts and professional craftspeople, recently announced the appointment of Daniel R. McCarthy as chief executive officer. According to a release from the firm, Mr McCarthy is a respected industry veteran with a successful track record of accelerating growth and driving transformation at information, publishing, and digital media companies.
Andrea Roman, chairman of the board, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Dan as the new leader of Taunton, Inc. He provides the combination of vision, experience, and character that we believe is essential to accelerating Taunton, Inc’s growth.”
Mr McCarthy lives in Bedford, N.Y., with his wife Tami and their three sons. He graduated from Columbia with a BA in English literature.
Most recently, Mr McCarthy has been principal of Gallarus Ventures, LLC, a business advisory and strategy consulting firm, and partner of The McCarthy Group, a marketing and communications firm. He is the former CEO and current board member of Network Communications, Inc, a provider of lead generation, advertising, and Internet marketing solutions to businesses in a wide variety of categories.
He is also the founder of Digital Sherpa, a pioneering provider of content marketing and social media services to small- and medium-sized businesses.
In addition, Mr McCarthy brings his experience as CEO of Themestream.com, a special interest portal; CEO of Primedia Enthusiast Media, publisher of more than 100 special interest magazines and web sites; CEO of Cowles Business Media, a leading business information provider to the media and marketing industries; and executive vice president of Communications Trends, Inc, a business intelligence provider covering the impact of technology on media and marketing.
“Taunton, Inc is special for its remarkable connections with its audience and the passion and commitment of its people,” Mr McCarthy said. “Great work has been done expanding Taunton, Inc’s reach into its core markets, and I’m looking forward to working with everyone to find new ways to increase our engagement and deliver more value to our customers.”
Good Products, Great People
In an interview with The Newtown Bee, the new Taunton executive said he has been familiar with Taunton since he began his career in publishing.
“The company’s just got a great reputation,” he said. “It’s got a great reputation for putting out good products and is known as a real quality place for people to work.”
He said his two oldest children formerly lived in Monroe, and as he frequently drove by the company’s Newtown headquarters, he frequently thought about what a “cool company,” Taunton is. Then, in 2014, Mr McCarthy finally made it into Taunton’s headquarters after being invited to work for the company as a consultant.
“I was invited in by the former president Tim Rahr and the board to help them define strategies they needed in order to be [even more] successful in a challenging business environment,” he said. “As they began the search for a new CEO, I was still working for them as a consultant, so I didn’t advance myself as a candidate.”
He said as a consultant, his job was to be focused on the mission at hand, but as Taunton came to the close of their executive search, the board was so comfortable with Mr McCarthy that they considered him for the leadership role.
“They’d gotten so comfortable with me, and I had gotten so comfortable with them, the board concluded — as best I can tell — that they figured, we’ve got a guy here already who is in knee-deep, so we’d like him to keep going.”
As publishing companies across the globe struggled with the massive print-to-web transition of consumers over the last decade, Mr McCarthy said Taunton made the right move by realizing they had a good thing going with their global audience of consumers, some who have been loyal Taunton readers for more than three decades.
“These are some tried and true relationships with these customers that are as important today as they were five, ten, 20, 30 years ago,” he said. “You see, here at Taunton, everything starts with the reader and with Taunton’s products giving readers information and inspiration for doing something that they love.”
The new CEO explained that Taunton has been very successful at building out subscribers to its digital services, as well as print. So there is a great opportunity to increase service to that core base of customers, especially with its robust inventory of instructional videos.
That collection will be Mr McCarty’s initial area of focus, both marketing the existing inventories of these videos, as well as coupling on marketing for all the other products and services Taunton offers.
“The genius of this company is figuring out how to do things, and to help other people figure out how to do things,” he said.
Expanding Mobile Audience
Mr McCarthy said he is poised to help expand Taunton’s reach far beyond the current number of consumers accessing Taunton products on their mobile devices.
“Today, north of 40 percent of our information accessed digitally is happening on mobile — so we’re working to be sure all the features of our products work well on mobile. And we’ve developed some ad solutions that work well on that, too,” he said.
Taunton receives about six million unique visits a month on the web and on mobile, with more that two million users on various social platforms.
“Those are a great way to get out in front of the topics we cover,” he said. “For instance, our fine cooking posts on Facebook are individually shared by hundreds of people every day.”
Mr McCarthy is also uniquely aware that Taunton needs to be continuously attracting new consumers and that means younger digital viewers as well as the company’s millions of longtime subscribers.
“It’s a matter of being sure we’re distributing our content in a way that younger consumers want to interact with it. About 18 percent of millennials say they are magazine users, which is about the same as 20 years ago, but you can’t reach them by sending them something in the mail,” he said. “You have to intersect with millennials where they are, so it means if they want to find out the best kind of lettuce to plant in their vegetable garden, that Taunton shows up in their Internet searches, in their Facebook stream, and on their Pinterest site.”
Mr McCarthy said of all his previous experience, he learned some of the most important lessons from a job as a business news reporter.
“If you are providing information that is special and hard to get, don’t be afraid to charge a premium for it,” Mr McCarthy said. “And if you are targeting a market that is defined in terms of size, make sure your customer has an incredible experience with your product.”
Mr McCarthy will report to and have a seat on the Taunton, Inc Board of Directors, and will work from Taunton, Inc’s Newtown headquarters.