The marketing industry has changed tremendously during the last few decades. But those that have managed to stay relevant to this day are the ones that learned how to evolve with the times. Marketing expert Scott Kauffman has been navigating the industry since the late 70s and early 80s, and he’s come out to be one of the best at what he does today. Kauffman graduated from Vassar and is currently the Chairman and CEO of MDC Partners, an advertising holding company. He’s quite a big deal in the marketing world, and he’s someone that you should definitely keep track of. Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know about Scott Kauffman.
1. Early family life
Kauffman was born in Princeton, New Jersey in 1956. He grew up with his parents, Ellwood and Shirley Kauffman, and three other siblings—Jane, Geoffrey, and Matthew. His brother Matthew Kauffman is a Pulitzer Prize finalist for journalism and is known for his work in the field of investigative journalism.
Much like his brother Matthew, Scott received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Vassar College, a private liberal arts college in Poughkeepsie, New York. Vassar is ranked as one of the top colleges in the nation and keeps an outstanding alumni roster that includes Meryl Streep, Anthony Bourdain, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Joe Hill, and more. Scott Kauffman continued his education and received his Master of Business Administration degree in Marketing from the New York University Stern School of Business.
Kauffman has been featured in a couple of films throughout his lifetime. The first film was in Steven E. de Souza’s work, Arnold’s Wrecking Co. The film was released in 1973 and was filmed in Kauffman’s hometown. Kauffman’s appearance in the film was short, but de Souza made sure that the residents of the area where they filmed received credit for their work. After working on Arnold’s Wrecking Co., de Souza would go on to write the script for Die Hard. Forty years later, Kauffman worked as associate producer on the documentary, I Grew Up in Princeton.
Kauffman was part of the team that launched Entertainment Weekly in 1990. The American magazine has been one of the foremost entertainment-focused publications in the nation. The magazine eventually established an online presence as well, becoming a steady and top source of celebrity-based news even to this day. In addition to Entertainment Weekly, Kauffman was also senior marketing planner at Playboy, publisher at Newsweek, and Vice President of business development at Time Warner.
5. Golden State
On his breaks, Kauffman spends his time tweeting about the Golden State Warriors. The NBA team is a favorite among many, even those who aren’t fans of basketball at all. But Kauffman definitely qualifies as a hardcore fan. As a resident of Palo Alto, he definitely shows his support of the basketball team by showing his love on Twitter. He’s often posting photos of the players, elaborating on stats, or just talking about the game altogether.
6. Social media
This is a good segue into social media because Kauffman seems to be pretty active on it. Apart from his constant tweets, Kauffman is also pretty active on LinkedIn. It’s important for someone of his stature, and his profile lists all of his accolades and all of the companies he’s worked for or with in the past. Some of those names include BlueLithium from Yahoo, MusicNow from Circuit City, Coremetrics from IBM, eCoverage from General Motors, and so many others.
One of Kauffman’s first biggest roles was for AOL’s CompuServe. He became Vice President of the company. While he was there, Kauffman worked mainly on the company’s online brands, and with that, he established the company’s ISP service—SpryNet. Through his work, CompuServe also became one of the first IPOs in the Internet industry. Kauffman left the CompuServe in 1997 to become CEO in another Internet company.
While Kauffman may be CEO of MDC Partners now, it’s certainly not the first time he’s held that position. In 1997, he became CEO of ClickOver, which is a company that essentially improved Internet advertising. ClickOver eventually acquired Focalink and changed its name to Adknowledge. In 2005, Kauffman also became CEO for Zinio, a digital magazine service. In 2008, he became CEO of Geeknet.
Kauffman’s son Stephen was diagnosed with ALS. Stephen was only 27 years old when he found out he had the disease, and his father poured into research nonstop. Scott currently serves on the board of the ALS Association, and he’s also actively involved with other ALS-related organizations. In addition to that, Scott founded Iron Horse Foundation, his own ALS organization that also focuses on finding a cure and offering support to families that are going through the challenge of an ALS diagnosis.
9. New Engineering University
If you think Scott Kauffman has enough on his plate, think again. Despite all the things he’s got going on, Kauffman found the time to help establish an entire school. In 2013, Kauffman co-founded New Engineering University. The Silicon Valley school is associated with the University of New Haven and offers a Master of Engineering degree in Big Data. The degree can be finished within a single year.
Kauffman is a current resident of Palo Alto, California. There he resides with his wife, Nanci. His son Stephen also lives with them along with his daughter Sarah. Sarah Kauffman is setting up to make a name for herself in the marketing industry as well. She’s currently the Director of Operations and Community Management at Attention, KBS+’s social media department. KBS+ (Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners) is a global advertising agency.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn