Marcus Thomas: Agency Business Report 2014

Marcus Thomas hit its revenue goal for 2013 when it experienced 13% revenue growth during the year, reaching more than $18 million.

Principal: Jim Nash, managing partner
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Cleveland and Youngstown, OH, and Buenos Aires
Revenue: $18,157,527
Headcount: Global: 180; US 140

Ohio-based firm Marcus Thomas hit its revenue goal for 2013 when it experienced 13% revenue growth during the year, reaching more than $18 million, compared to 7% growth in 2012. The firm also saw profit margins of 12% in 2013.

It attributed the healthy growth to a combination of several new accounts coming on board, mostly in the second half of the year, and growth from current clients. Seventeen percent of its revenue was from new business.

Q4 was a real highlight, says managing partner Jim Nash. "A lot of business came on then and we had some new clients with immediate business needs," he adds. "With the people we have in our team, we were able to respond to those needs."

Significant wins
One-fifth of the agency’s clients are on a retainer. Among the shop’s key account wins in 2013 were Nestlé’s Buitoni pasta and its Libby’s Pumpkin line, bearing manufacturer Timken, and Sauder furniture. Nash also cited the Ohio Lottery Commission’s AOR account midway through last year, as well as work from Sherwin-Williams late in 2013.

It did not report the loss of any key accounts last year.

The integrated firm grew staff in both its Ohio offices – Cleveland and Youngstown – and its Buenos Aires location, which the agency acquired when it bought DigiKnow, a digital marketing and tech company, in 2011.

The firm now has 180 staffers around the world, including 140 in the US, organized into four business categories: CPG, home and garden, b-to-b, and professional services. Event management and content development and marketing were the segments that showed the most growth in 2013.

Nash says no senior members of the team left in 2013. Staff turnover was low at 10%.

Todd Morgano was promoted to partner from SVP and director of PR.

The firm also wants to further develop its employees in 2014, especially by training non-digital natives.

"We have people who are not digital natives, and if they haven’t grown up smartphone-in-hand and understanding Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram, they need to have that," adds Nash. "So we are finding that we need people with a strong digital awareness in addition to advertising or PR."

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