Mobile-Ad Shop Kargo Hires Its First CMO to Better Convey Why It’s Unique

Revenue was up 150 percent in 2014

As more brand advertising moves to smartphones and tablets, mobile-ad shop Kargo has hired a CMO for the first time.

The New York-based company tapped Terri Walter, the former CMO of ad-tech company PubMatic. Walter has also worked at Razorfish and Microsoft and will oversee the day-to-day growth of Kargo.

While mobile is far from new for most big-brand advertisers, CEO Harry Kargman explained that growth over the last couple of years and new concerns about viewability and attribution made now the best time to hire a CMO.

"The challenge for us to date has been that we need to communicate to the world about this unique offering in a broader and more holistic way," Kargman said. "We haven't told our own story as well as we could have. By bringing in Terri, we believe that we have the right person to better communicate to the world how and why we're so different from everybody else."

In addition to boosting Kargo's brand, Walter will work with CMOs to educate them on the ins and outs of mobile.

"I think it comes down to, 'How do I extend into mobile? How do I get more reach and think more deeply about that medium?'" Walter said. "This year, a lot of publishers are seeing more than half of their inventory coming from mobile. So, how do you scale it?"

To that point, Kargo has built and tested 97 new ad formats in the past year as alternatives to banners for brands and agencies. One recent example is a video ad that recommends content based on a news story someone is reading. The bulk of creative work is done in house, and at least one brand has bought nearly every new format tested. From 2013 to 2014, Kargo's revenue increased by 150 percent.

To ratchet creative up a notch, Kargo also hired Theresa Gaffney as vice president and creative director. Gaffney was previously executive creative director for Meredith's digital arm and has also worked at Condé Nast. Working with Walter, Gaffney will be responsible for conceptualizing and building new mobile ad formats.

Kargo was founded in 2004 and employs 150 people in its New York, Chicago and Santa Monica, Calif., offices. The company counts Target, Procter & Gamble and Macy's among its clients.