By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
“Don’t dictate what you think the market wants; give it what it wants,” Mark Scrivner says.
That philosophy and approach to customer service, honed during an initial career in the restaurant business, has well-served the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SnapShot Interactive. Founded eight years ago in Nashville with no clients, the digital marketing agency now boasts 43 employees and three physical locations with future growth plans.
We interviewed the marathon and Ironman competitor at SnapShot Interactive’s recently renovated headquarters in an old church that the firm moved into about a year ago after totally gutting the space. It was a beehive of activity when we visited.
Scrivner is not a native of Music City. He moved there in 1995 where he ran the Houston’s Restaurant on West End Avenue near Vanderbilt for three years before joining the J. Alexander’s chain. As a Regional Director there, he was on an airplane all of the time.
Tired of that weekly grind, Scrivner then joined cj Advertising in Nashville where, as Director of Operations, he helped it grow from 20 to 85 employees before exiting in 2010 to join Ben Rigsby and found SnapShot Interactive. The latter is the firm’s President and creative lead, while Scrivner concentrates on business development and long-term strategy.
The two Co-Founders initially focused their new start-up on the production of high-quality resumes for individuals seeking jobs. The videos were 60 seconds in length, and the initial target market was universities that could provide the service for their students.
“CEOs saw these and asked if we could do something similar for them as they explained their business,” Scrivner said. Eight years later, the full-service digital marketing agency focuses on everything from overall digital strategy to video production, animation, design, search and website development.
“We do what we say we are going to do and do it better than we said we would do it,” Scrivner adds. As a result, SnapShot Interactive serves an impressive list of clients across 40 states and even in some international markets. Some of its clients include Microsoft, HCA, Caterpillar, Emerson, HealthStream, CHS, Tractor Supply, and UL.
“Seventy-eight percent of our new business comes from referrals,” Scrivner says, further underscoring the importance of first class client service.
During our interview, the Co-Founder and CEO noted that he was particularly proud of SnapShot Interactive’s core values. They are: (1) producing only sizzle reel quality; (2) demonstrating an “anything is possible in five days” mentality; (3) an attitude that says, “no task is beneath us”; and (4) a commitment that the firm will “always create unexpected experiences.”
Scrivner added that the company has bulletproof processes, builds partnerships, and is easy to work with. Unlike many start-up entrepreneurs, he and Rigsby never sought outside investment. Instead, they started with a $50,000 line of credit and grew SnapShot Interactive into a $5 million firm.
Thirty-five of the current staff members are in Nashville, while seven are based in St. Louis and one is located in an office that opened earlier this year in the rapidly growing Austin market. SnapShot Interactive expects to open three more offices by 2020.
In addition to client service, the firm is also heavily involved in the Nashville community. One example was its involvement in digital media production to help Nashville make the top 20 list of cities being considered by Amazon for its second headquarters.
What advice would Scrivner offer to other creatives starting a business?
“Find a complementary business partner,” he says in reference to Rigsby. “If you’re going to take a chance in life, take a chance on yourself. Go all in.”