W2O Group: Agency Business Report 2014

After 13 consecutive years of growth since its inception, W2O continued to expand in 2013.

Principals: Jim Weiss, CEO (pictured); Bob Pearson, president
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Austin, TX; San Francisco; New York; Los Angeles; Minneapolis, MN; Atlanta, GA; Boston; and London
Revenue: Global: $75,050,000; US: $69,680,000
Headcount: Global: 397; US: 366

After 13 consecutive years of growth since its inception, W2O continued to expand in 2013, investing in its foundational healthcare business and growing its national footprint.

New offices were opened in Minneapolis and Atlanta in 2013.

A new outpost in Boston followed in March of this year. Additionally, W2O expanded its Twist Marketing team to Austin, TX.

The firm recorded a 21% increase in global revenue, compared to 2012, with a mix of 60% organic growth and 40% new business.

"Doing all those things at once is hard," says CEO Jim Weiss. "This year is all about absorbing that growth."

Growth in healthcare sector
Weiss sees digital health as a key area of growth, citing the agency’s work with healthcare cloud-software company Castlight’s recent IPO.

W2O added a chief technology officer in July 2013, hiring Austin,TX-based John Cunningham. 

"Healthcare has been our specialty for many years. Now we have the technology capability so that makes us uniquely qualified," says Weiss.

The firm also reported strong growth in its digital and tech practices. The former grew by 50%, impacting practice areas including healthcare, corporate, and technology. Its tech unit grew by more than 100%, driven equally by new clients and organic growth from Medidata Solutions and Qualcomm Life. In April 2014, Apollo Endosurgery, owners of the Lap-Band system, tapped W2O for multichannel marketing work.

Senior hires included Chris Deri becoming WCG president; Mike Hartman, chief creative officer; Ted Yntema, VP of business development; and Annalise Coady joined the London office as global practice lead. Consumer leader Craig Alperowitz left for Hill+Knowlton Strategies; and Vicky Lewko, group director, moved to Cohn & Wolfe. This year, group director of analytics Chuck Hemann left for GolinHarris and Tim Marklein, tech and analytics lead, set up his own firm with W2O as a strategic partner.

Weiss plans to establish strategic alliances or new offices beyond the agency’s hub in London. Target markets include Switzerland, Germany, Brazil, and China.

"We expect to become more proactive on this front this year and next," he says.

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