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2003-2013: Evolving through the Storms

Bill Stamats

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Companies that stand the test of time often have two common, yet very important traits – resiliency and adaptability. Through the decades, Stamats has proven this to be true. During the early 2000s, the company faced several significant events that defined its durability. From strategic acquisitions and product launches to natural disasters and economic downturns, Stamats not only survived but thrived in the face of adversity.

Expanding to New Markets

Stamats has always been known for its expertise in higher education marketing, but the company also has deep roots in the business-to-business (B2B) publishing industry.

Between 2003-2013, the company made significant investments to expand its reach in the B2B publishing world. The Meetings publication brand was well on its long-term strategy to provide national coverage in the hospitality and group meetings market. So, the company continued to explore growth opportunities and acquired the Interiors and Sources publication and launched Architech, targeting audiences specifically in commercial real estate and interior design. This acquisition was a strategic move to further diversify revenue streams and expand into a vertical market.

Weathering the Storms

In the middle of the decade, the company was hit hard by two devastating events. In June of 2008, the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, overflowed its banks and caused extensive damage throughout the city. Stamats’ offices were located in the heart of downtown and the flood caused significant damage to the building and its contents. The company was able to relocate its operations temporarily to a satellite campus of Upper Iowa University and continue to provide high-quality services to its clients.

“We almost didn’t skip a beat,” said Stamats President and CEO, Peter Stamats. “I think that’s a real testament to our staff’s resilience and personal persistence.”

Economic Challenges

As Cedar Rapids was still reeling from the impact of the flood, the global financial crisis of 2008 hit, triggering a recession that stacked onto the company’s current challenges. This economic downturn had a significant impact on the marketing industry, as many companies were forced to cut back on their marketing budgets. Stamats was not immune to these effects and had to make difficult decisions to weather the storm. Despite these challenges, the company was able to stay afloat thanks to its diversified revenue streams and strong relationships with its clients.

“The great recession hit in October 2008, but really didn’t impact us until the fiscal years 2009 and 2010. It kind of had a hangover effect,” said Stamats. “We actually had one of our banner years in terms of sales in 2008. Because we were doing well up to that point in time. And it was a testament to our staff that they were able to continue delivering on all of our business lines, at the same time that we had no building in Cedar Rapids to work out of.”

Despite these challenges toward the end of the decade, Stamats persevered and emerged stronger. The company’s investment in the B2B market allowed it to diversify its revenue streams and weather the storms of the flood and the Great Recession. This diversification set Stamats up well for the next decade with strong buyer/seller events and audience management capabilities.

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