2016 Year in Review

December 19,2016

As we prepare for the ball to drop on 2016, it’s a great time to reflect on all we have accomplished as a team this year. In years past, my year-in-review summary tended to focus on each office and their respective accomplishments. But we are one team, built around five core values. So this year, I wanted to highlight our key successes within each value pillar.

People First

One of my favorite days this year was May 19, when we announced to everyone that we were covering 100% of the healthcare costs for our people and their families. Representing over a $1.3 million annual investment, this was not an easy thing to pull off. But we felt it was a wonderful way to show everyone how much they are appreciated and how we are truly building a great company that values its people beyond all else.

We grew by 38 Fingerpainters in 2016—no small feat for any organization, let alone one our size. Huge kudos go out to our People & Culture and IT teams, which helped activate this amazingly talented recruiting class.

Will to Win

Once again, we had amazing growth—up nearly 40% over 2015. All aspects of our business grew, as did each of our three main offices. The Saratoga Springs office saw double-digit increases in client work, large new business wins in the healthcare space, and many fresh new faces joining the team. With Bill McEllen now captaining the ship, we are poised to grow the office even further in 2017. It isn’t hard to imagine running out of space soon, which will no doubt create some fun challenges to conquer down the road.

The Villanova office is no more, as we moved into a much larger space down the street in Conshohocken. The staff there more than doubled this year, as several huge wins drove the growth. And not resting on its laurels, the office continues to invest in a slew of new business opportunities to keep the growth alive.

Speaking of new space, the Scottsdale office doubled its size with the investment in the advertising team. Several wins including healthcare and beauty are fueling the advertising growth, along with several new business pitches slated for the first month of the new year. The Film team also had a fantastic year, with a ton of new film releases driving growth of over 30%.

Not to be outdone, the Scottsdale PR team had a steady stream of work in 2016, which in the last quarter saw a significant increase with exciting new business wins at GreyCastle Security and The James Cancer Hospital. A new brand journalism offering is resonating with clients across all three offices and is expected to truly take our PR business to the next level of growth in the coming year.

A significant and extremely exciting endeavor is sprouting in Columbus, Ohio, with our launch of the Perpetual Ideation Machine (PIM), led by industry veteran and all-around great guy Bruce Rooke. This innovation team is developing products that will truly revolutionize many of our clients’ marketing efforts. From text-messaging technology to using infographics to better communicate patient education, we are expecting enormous growth from this team in 2017. This year was spent building the foundation for a very exciting future.

Four years in a row for the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies isn’t too shabby, right?


We are continuing to build our company the right way, with a culture of respect and admiration for both our people and our clients. We aren’t perfect, but we strive to be. At no point during the year was our integrity called into question. I want to call out our amazing Finance team, which continues to manage our billing and expense management in such a tight, honest, and transparent way.

And what is certainly rare in the marketing area, on two occasions we made the decision to stop working with clients who didn’t uphold our integrity value. We will never put money ahead of treating people and customers the right way.


In 2016, we had over 20 clients who worked with multiple Fingerpaint offices. This is truly unique in our industry, as so many competitive companies are “silo-ed” and driven by individual office P&Ls. Great examples of this include Tiffany Ryan and the Saratoga Springs Creative group helping the Scottsdale Advertising team get off the ground. And who could forget our amazing Dev team, creating fantastic sites and apps for all of our clients serviced out of all offices?

The area where we see the most collaboration is with our new business efforts. They are truly a team effort, often with the Columbus PIM team adding some technological sizzle to the steak. Often we have pitch team members from multiple offices, with everyone collaborating to win the work for the lead location. As an example, the Scottsdale office is poised for a great 2017, growing in the same spirit as Conshohocken did this year through new business collaboration.


Giving back to our communities is such a huge part of our company, and the one that makes me the most proud. We give back in so many ways, including financial contributions, volunteering, and pro bono marketing services.

Whether it was Philabundance in Conshohocken, the Double H Ranch in Saratoga Springs, or Free Arts of Arizona in Scottsdale, we continued to raise the bar on our Philanthropy core value in 2016. Special thanks to Bo Goliber for always being the ultimate charity champion for Fingerpaint. Our giving didn’t go unnoticed to others either, as we were nominated for a “Heart” award from MedAdNews in April.

Also, in 2017 we are shifting away from summer picnics to a community service day held by all of our offices on the same date. I love our commitment to this value!

From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for your friendship, laughter, and incredible hard work this year. Next year is going to be another one for the record books. Get ready for an amazing ride.

I wish you and your families a wonderful, safe holiday season.




Ed Mitzen, the founder of Fingerpaint, is often referred to as a serial entrepreneur. Mitzen is full of big ideas with four companies under his belt and over 20 years of experience in the marketing, sales and advertising industry. He’s a proud member of the Syracuse Orange Nation, and a frequent lecturer on the topics of business and marketing at several top colleges and universities, including the University of Rochester and Skidmore College.

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