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Rob Murray, former global CEO of iProspect, joined 3Q Digital as president to lead the agency through its next stage of growth. 

Murray, who reports to David Rodnitzky, CEO and
founder, oversees 3Q’s global operations. And while the company is based in Silicon Valley, it opened offices in Dublin and Singapore in June 2019, following a growth investment round from PSP Capital
and Erie Street Capital.

Murray predates paid search. There was only search engine optimization at the time he entered the online advertising industry. “I was there when GoTo became
Overture, and Overture became Yahoo,” he said. “When I was at iProspect we were one of the first to coin the term ‘performance marketing’ and that was back in 2008. The premise was that
the client gives you $1 and you need to give them back $1.50 to $3.”

Murray believes the industry is moving into the next evolution of online advertising, and it’s not just about
optimizing solely for performance — it’s about enabling brands for growth and market share.

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Murray led iProspect from about 1999 through 2013, from its inception to its transformation
into a global performance marketing agency with more than 1,700 employees in 55 offices across 40 countries.

Search Marketing Daily caught up with Murray to talk about his new role,
industry, and challenges. Excerpts from the conversation follows.

Search Marketing Daily: Are there similarities between iProspect and 3Q Digital?

Rob Murray:  It’s funny. There’s a ton of similarities. David was attracted to someone like me because, well, I’m not old, but I’ve seen and
experienced a lot of things. People haven’t changed, but there are added complexities with how the publishing networks work. And there’s a lot more consolidation, so it’s a bit of a
double-edge sword.

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Search Marketing Daily: What’s the best piece of advice you ever received and from whom?

Murray:  When I
facilitated the sale of iProspect to Aegis, the woman running Aegis North America was a woman named Sara Fay. Sara had a unique view on the world. She has a calming influence. When things would get
crazy she would tell me ‘tomorrow’s another day’ and ‘don’t take yourself too serious.’ If you have a good or bad day, absorb it and move on. She was and still is
an amazing mentor to me.

Search Marketing Daily:  Did you think while growing up you’d become a president of a company or did you have other plans?

Murray:  When I think back to high school, I thought about being a teacher. I had an amazing history teacher and thought it would be great to help people develop their minds.
I didn’t know it at the time, but my father was a very successful businessman. He had a 35-year career at Gillet and then went on to run another companies. We moved around a lot in Europe. I
guess you inherit certain things whether you like it or not. I feel fortunate to have received some of the traits and qualities from him.

Search Marketing
Daily:
  What is the last book you read and how does it parallel your career?

Murray:  First Break All The Rules, which has been around for a
while. It’s about what the world’s greatest managers do differently. The basic premise is that every employee wants to be good at their job, but not every job is right for every employee
at a set point in time. Both evolve. As the company evolved, some will evolve and some won’t. You need to make sure people are in the correct roles at the specific time in the evolution of the
company.

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Search Marketing Daily: You’ve been in the industry for so long — is it time for government to regulate online advertising?

Murray:  I was there when Yahoo had 65% share in search and no one had a problem with it. Then Google built a better mousetrap and now they have more than 65% share.
Yahoo let them take it. Now all of a sudden people have a problem with Google. We should let market forces dictate consumers’ decisions.

Microsoft had an opportunity to get into search
more broadly. I think they realize they lost the war a long time ago. They could have done a better job, but now they own the gaming world.

Search Marketing
Daily:
  What do you plan to change about 3Q Digital in the coming year?

Murray:   I put my press release out yesterday on LinkedIn. People ask
“Who is 3Q?” It’s almost like they’re the best kept secret. If they’re in Silicon Valley they know us, but if they’re not they don’t. I’m going to fix that.



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