James Hill SPA Chief Strategy Officer“My career has been a constant process of adaptation within a changing marketing industry,” says James Hill. “And the ebb and flow of my passion has had everything to do with how close I am to the core process of what we do as a content marketing agency.” As Chief Strategy Officer at McMURRY/TMG, Jim is about as close as he can be. At the formation of the agency, our leaders knew we had the size, the rigorous journalism tradition and the innovative communication technology we needed to compete. But the way we would differentiate our agency from every other would be by delivering a superior strategy to clients, by creating quality communication for a measurable, profitable purpose—as opposed to what lots of content marketing newcomers are offering, which Jim describes as “loosely connected tactics that really don’t tie back to a central strategy. It aggravates me to hear people out there full of marketing platitudes and empty promises.” Jim drew on his background as an academic researcher and a quarter century in custom publishing to develop a proprietary strategy process that offers every client an intensive examination of available data, a strategic framework for all content development, measurable goals and a “reality check” for blind spots. Only then is a customized content marketing program deployed; and it’s constantly evaluated and continuously optimized. “And if a course correction is required, we’ll not only make it,” Jim says, “we’ll be the first to suggest it.” Because it’s built into the strategy. As resident strategy guru for the largest independent content marketing firm in the world, he also architects the agency’s internal growth strategies. Jim has come a long way from his masters in English language and literature from the University of Virginia, and a long way from his job running the custom publishing division The Kelly Group and founding, growing and eventually selling the content marketing firm Redspring Communications Now he feels like he’s coming home again, to helping clients think about how they’ll communicate strategically. Or maybe he never left. “When I was young, I studied literature and thought a lot about the written word and the incredible power of communication,” he says. “Now I’m working on what can be done with communication in exciting new contexts and channels. To me it’s all basically the same thing.” It’s the meaning of Jim Hill’s work life. Not that the husband and father of one doesn’t have a few interests outside of work: Jim shoots trap and show-jumps horses in his horse-crazy hometown of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. One of these days he’d like to get back to writing, and maybe even do a little teaching, but right now his greatest interest is charting the next great strategic move for McMurryTMG’s future. I happen to love constant change in my work. And McMURRY/TMG has a culture of poking at the status quo to see what benefits emerge. It's a fantastic place to be intellectually curious and discover what lies on the other side of change.