MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA: W2O Group technology and analytics lead Tim Marklein has launched a communications and technology firm called Big Valley Marketing with his former agency as a strategic partner.
Based in Mountain View, CA, it is being run independently but will have access to W2O's products and services and will collaborate on client accounts. W2O has an undisclosed equity stake in the agency.
Big Valley's first client is BMC Software. The account will be run jointly with WCG, part of W2O Group, which was awarded the company's multimillion-dollar global AOR business last year.
Marklein said Big Valley has other potential client relationships in the works through its strategic partnership, but did not reveal the names of the companies.
Marklein is now the only employee of the agency, but he is planning to fill a number of roles in the next quarter, including a content-marketing lead and entry-level analysts. His goal is to have a staff of five to 10 by the end of the year.
During his two and a half years as technology and analytics practice leader at W2O, Marklein said he grew the firm's tech business from $2 million to $12 million and tripled the analytics business from $5 million to $15 million.
After Marklein's departure, MD Aaron Strout, who leads W2O's social commerce practice, took over its technology group, while group directors Seth Duncan and Chuck Hemann are managing analytics.
Marklein joined W2O from Weber Shandwick, where he founded its measurement and strategy practice. Previously, he led global public relations for Hewlett-Packard's $30 billion enterprise business and served as director of corporate PR there.
Marklein is returning to his roots with the launch of Big Valley, having started his communications career at two agencies in Silicon Valley.
“In my experience, from what I've seen in 20-plus years in the industry, there is a decline in the depth and quality of work that has been happening with technology companies from a marketing and communications standpoint,” he said.
Marklein added that “the driving force of that is holding companies buying and integrating agencies that have faded away.”
“What has been lost is having people who are really dedicated to technology and go deep – people who have a passionate understanding but also are able to deliver a very specific set of capabilities for tech companies that you don't find in diversified agencies,” he explained.