W2O Group has made Aaron Strout head of its tech practice as the company continues to expand beyond its roots in healthcare.
Until earlier this year, Tim Marklein led both the technology and analytics groups before venturing on his own to start Big Valley Marketing. Since then, the $75 million firm has made Seth Duncan head of analytics, while Strout has taken increasing ownership of technology.[caption id="attachment_2685" align="alignright" width="150"] Aaron Strout[/caption]
The group’s tech practice, right now, exists primarily within W2O’s largest brand WCG. But part of Strout’s remit is to help the group’s smaller firms, Twist and Brewlife, establish their own set of tech chops.
Since 2011, WCG’s tech practice has grown from roughly $2 million to $11.4 million last year — and is forecasted to exceed $16 million this year (including digital health revenues). This ranks its revenue a distant second behind the firm’s healthcare practice.
W2O is a holding a company created by founder Jim Weiss that houses WCG, Brewlife and Twist.
Tech PR + Analytics
WCG is a relatively new player to the tech marketing realm, considering most of the firm’s 12-year existence was planted in healthcare PR. In recent years, however, W2O has become known for its investments in analytics — a function that sits across all of its practice areas and agencies.As WCG's tech practice evolved alongside its analytics, the firm has brought in big names — like Intel (and its subsidiary McAfee), Hewlett-Packard, Verizon and Intuit — on the promise of underpinning communications with a heavy analytics hand.
When asked for examples of this fusion, Strout points to work the firm has done, for instance, with McAfee on strategy and content. WCG exists alongside McAfee’s PR agency Zeno Group and social firm Lewis Pulse — as well as drawing on the analytics work McAfee does in-house.“McAfee has traditionally been a consumer player and after it got acquired by Intel, it became more B2B focused. So, its next-generation firewall product became crucial,” Strout says. To execute on this, Strout says, W2O worked alongside McAfee to identify the content and influencers that could build McAfee’s standing on the B2B side.
Among the outcomes were a McAfee published report, “Industry Experts Speak Out on Advanced Evasion Techniques,” that collected input from industry journalists and analysts like Security News editor Ed Kovacs and Gartner analyst Lawrence Pingree.
“McAfee put itself in the middle of the conversation,” Strout says. “They were saying, don’t just listen to us, listen tour ecosystem.”
Strout focuses primarily on the US while partnering with WCG’s London office lead Annalise Coady on global work. The tech practice currently has about 20 people.