All Points Media —OOH Owner Today
OOH Owner Today —All Points Media
by Benny Taubman, OOH TODAY Reporter
Since 1995, All Points Media has pursued its mission to provide clients with expert analysis on the best advertising formats and subsequently executive custom campaigns that go above and beyond expectations. With its exceptional portfolio, the company has created successful national, regional, and local campaigns for some of the largest brands and agencies in the world. They believe OOH has unique advertising capabilities and stand by its cost-effectiveness, return on investment (ROI), and retention rate.
All Points truly covers all points and offers a complete advertising campaign package that includes strategy and design, printing and placement, and detailed post-campaign reports so companies can measure the effectiveness of every dollar spent. Additionally, All Points Media has an in-house production branch called APM PrintWorks. All Points and APM work closely together to make sure clients have the information and specifications necessary to make the design process and seamless as easy as possible.
All Points’ CEO and President is Darrell McSmith, a marketing and psychology graduate of Southern Oregon University. McSmith has served as the company’s CEO/President since its inception and is also President of APM PrintWorks. With his over 27-year tenure as the company’s leader, McSmith has the know-how necessary to get the job done. McSmith answered some questions in an exclusive OOH Today interview:
Q: Why are you in the OOH business?
A: “I came out of college as a stockbroker, hated that industry and realized I wanted to do something else! I had my first interview with Brian Obie in downtown Portland for a transit sales position. We spent two hours talking about his life, about advertising, and all about what he had accomplished. During the interview, I remember it all coming together for me. It was the weirdest experience. Driving out of the interview I thought, this is the job I want. From then on, I noticed every billboard and transit ad. I intently watched every television commercial and listened carefully to the radio ads, seeing and hearing them completely different. As I got started, every person I met was incredibly nice. They became not only peers, but friends. What I loved was that we were trained to sell Out-of-Home, first. It didn’t matter who we were selling against. Everyone in the OOH industry had a common goal, pull the advertising from radio and television and push OOH. The OOH industry was and still is, its own community and you can feel that. When I experienced that, I knew this was the industry I wanted to be a part of. Close to 35 years later – from the very beginning I feel like I have never worked a single day. It never felt like work because in this industry every corner I turned there was somebody new who was either a mentor to me or was so welcoming that it was always exciting and made me ready for the next challenge. So that’s not only how I got into the industry, but why I stayed. Being a part of the growth in this industry has just been absolutely amazing.”
Q: What is your key to success in the OOH business?
A: “The key to success is the people. Originally, when I started 35 years ago, I didn’t really want to build a big company. I only wanted 4 or 5 people. I knew that if you wanted to grow and be successful you needed to have good people around you, but I don’t think I really understood what that meant early on. I hired 3 amazing people. Two salespeople and an operational person. It was the first time that I realized, if you hire the right person, you can take away the pressure of having those pieces that aren’t necessarily the focal point for another position, off of someone else, and with that, companies can grow exponentially, which is what I saw. Around that time, I hired Jeff Gillis. We were 5 or 6 people deep at the time, and when he came in he was the worst salesperson at the start. He was terrible for his first 6 months, but he kept at it and was able to be himself and expand into his role. He became one of the top salespeople I have ever seen in this industry and now he is the president of All Points Media. Along that path, from 2001 until today, one of the greatest things that I can always look back on is the value and the strength of hiring good people. Everybody expects when you come into a company that it’s going to go through the roof, it doesn’t do that. There are a lot of ups and downs. If someone can make it through those challenges, that’s what matters. It’s about finding the right pace and the right place and keeping everyone working inside that culture together. We went from owning one media company, to owning a print company and then a gopher and mole trap company. We started a non-profit and then another out of home media company. All these pieces that we built are because of the people. In the day-to-day operations, everyone puts in their time, energy, and effort into growing. I get to plan the future and where we are headed but without the people here, there is no success. Every person, no matter their role, has an influential part of our growth, our future, and continues to make our opportunities endless.”
Q: What is the greatest success or satisfaction you receive from owning OOH?
A: “There are two things I really love about Out-of-Home. The first is helping a brand with their ads and finding the best placements. I can remember looking at all the things going on in Canada and Europe and thinking, we could do that here. Watching this around me, I thought, “I can create media that is going to help a client and I know that this will work because its right where people travel every single day and it’s in places that they trust.” My first goal was to make sure that every program we ran, worked correctly. That was the number one priority. Of course, I was hoping that we would get this flash of clients saying, “Oh my god this is the greatest media that we ever bought!” That’s what my heart really wanted. The reality is that there are so many things that factor into a perfect placement. From the creative, to the launch date, to the brand. I wanted our agencies to feel impact, as well as their clients. That was a big piece for me. The second thing, and to this day I still feel this towards everyone who walks into this company; I don’t care if you stay here forever. Whether you are here for 6 months, a year, or ten years, our goal is individual development. If we can help a person grow, whether it’s finding out what they don’t want, which happens, or they find five new skills that they would’ve never had because they didn’t come here, that’s great. How I measure success is looking back through the history of our employees. Most of them have elevated to something better. Paul Crowder, Dusty MaCauley, Jeff Gillis, just to name a few. We measure things in dollars because we have to in order for the company to be successful, but that’s not what motivates me. The success is growth. Watching individuals grow here in our office and out in the world.”
Q: What are some future goals for your business?
A: “The economy in the last five years has been crazy, especially since 2019. COVID, BLM and everything that has happened across the world, it all affects what we do in Out-of-Home. One of the great things about us is that we are very fluid. We move and we are very nimble and that is power. In 2020 we manufactured and created branded hand sanitizer stations, adding them into our media. In 2021, we partnered with a company called Electron who manufactures portable charging stations, and we built a media specifically for consumers. We are constantly adapting and building new media for our brands and agencies. We want to expand and get involved in a variety of things! Diversification of our companies is extremely important to me. We got hit in 2008 because we only had one media company. After 2008 I started two new companies, our print company and our mole and gopher trap company. Three years later we started the nonprofit. In 2017 we started three more companies and in the last two years, we’ve built two more. Making the right decision at the right time provides an opportunity for our employees to grow in their careers. We want everyone to succeed and if we can find new ways to generate revenue through multiple facets then that is what we do as a team and as a company! We strive every year to reach our goals, from the production department to the operations and sales teams. When we can do that then we expand, which allows us to move into different industries and become a bigger player in the Out-of-Home world.”
Q: Share a fun fact about your company!
A: “I don’t know if there’s a fun fact! There are a lot of fun things about our growing companies. I introduce myself as the janitor. A lot of companies talk about culture, a lot of companies talk about “work hard, play hard” and it’s such a cliché. What I think I love about our company is that we do things like shot Friday. We hold mac and cheese bake-offs. We have an amazing Christmas party that we host for everyone at the end of the year. We go on a camping retreat. Dogs and kiddos are in and out of the office. Everybody comes up with different ideas on how to engage our culture here and that’s really a fun fact to me. I think we’re fun!”