Mark Macias is the founder of the New York-based public relations firm, Macias PR, which was named the 2016 "Financial PR Firm of the Year - USA" and 2015 "PR Consultant Firm of the Year - USA" by Finance Monthly. He's a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York, and author of the book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media.
How did you get into the industry?
I started my career on the other side as a newspaper reporter and TV producer. By the time it was over, I had seen the inside of how news is made. As the Executive Producer of Special Projects for NBC in New York, I approved the story ideas from publicists, reporters and producers in the health, consumer and features unit. I also approved their scripts, which brought a different perspective on how stories are sold to viewers. My News Director went over to CBS and took me with her a few years later. She created a new title for me – Senior Producer of Special Projects – and my job was to just come up with ideas and concepts that would bring viewers to our network. It was a logical transition to go into PR after that media career.
Any emerging industry trends?
Health Tech is going to be the next big PR platform. It’s growing like crazy and is already projected to be the most profitable industry of 2016, according to a Forbes analysis. Content marketing will continue to play a larger role for all companies in the near future, but the overall desire for exposure with the biggest publications and TV news outlets will never wane. The exposure from a national news organization drives new business if the message is crafted with a strategic mind.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
There are so many PR firms and most of them have no insight into how the media works. They write press releases and blast reporters with emails that clog up their inboxes. In some cases, kids that are fresh out of college are leading media campaigns without any understanding of the news cycle. I spoke this morning with a medical doctor and she told me her last PR firm didn’t do anything for her and she was paying a lot of money. It’s not easy to get stories on the news but some PR firms are great sellers, so businesses buy into their proposals. But this presents great opportunities for our PR firm. Finance Monthly named Macias PR the 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” based on our media deliverables and expertise. I’m starting to see how it is easier for my PR firm to stand out from the competition when it comes comparing our media deliverables with others.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
I tell the team all the time, we want to be the smartest PR firm out there. I have no desire to create a global empire and become the largest. I just want the industry to see us as the best when it comes to strategy.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
We are opening new channels with a new industry. We already have great clients in tech and finance. Now, we are pivoting into healthcare PR.
Your key initiatives for the success of the Business?
Everything boils down to media placements. Our success is measured by media placements that lead new business to our clients. If we don’t secure big stories for clients and drive new customers to their business, they will move on. We know for Macias PR to succeed, we have to succeed with our media strategy first and foremost.
Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?)
When I left CBS, let me just say it was not a friendly goodbye. I wrote a book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, and CBS accused me of revealing insider secrets. It’s a long story, but when I left CBS, I didn’t have a golden parachute. But I did have a laptop, invaluable experience with the media, and a stronger desire to succeed. I was still hungry even after careers with NBC and CBS in high profile roles. That energy took me through those poor times when I was eating cold pizza and freezing in my apartment because the heating was so expensive. But I plowed through – and I learned that if you are talented and work hard, you will succeed over time if you combine that with perseverance.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
I love clients who treat us like family. It sounds like a cliché, but some clients are rude and act like I’m their servant. Why would you want to be rude to a person who is influencing the success of your publicity? I’ll never understand that. I understand the pressures they face and the financial challenges that arise with every new week, but I hope when I speak to my clients over the phone or in person, they will see me as a son, a brother or a friend.
How do you motivate others?
It’s all about learning. Our team is not as experienced as me, but they are always so loyal and hard working. It’s humbling to see the lengths they will go to help our clients succeed. I think that’s because they are given opportunities to learn and grow. It motivates them to do more. And, I think they know I care about them.
Career advice to those in your industry?
I had a call this morning with a former TV reporter who is leaving the industry. He’s thinking about transitioning to PR. I said – it’s tough. It’s tough going from network TV to local TV because the pace is so much faster. Many TV producers find it difficult to transition from network to local TV because of the pace and daily grind. It’s similar with PR and agency work. You are constantly pushing a client to the media, selling a reporter, speaking with new potential clients, assuring current clients. It’s emotional, but I think if you genuinely love people, you will love the connection that comes with PR.