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Business Observer Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 3 years ago

Big Sea of Opportunity

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Big Sea Inc., a St. Petersburg-based marketing agency, doubled its size following a recent merger with ThinkTank Inc.

Big Sea Inc., a St. Petersburg-based marketing agency, doubled its size following a recent merger with ThinkTank Inc.

Andi Graham, founder of Big Sea, and Joe Hamilton, founder of ThinkTank, chatted for months about working together before they decided to combine the businesses, Graham says. Hamilton will be CEO of the combined company. Graham will be chief marketing officer.

One big goal behind the merger: Expand the client base regionally and nationally.

“We asked ourselves, 'Why are we competing against each other when, as a team, we can accomplish so much more?'” Hamilton says in a statement. “Separately, we had strong businesses. Together, we can lift our agencies to a national level.”

Think Tank handles a wide variety of tasks for clients, from branding to managed IT services to website design and video production. Big Sea has worked with clients on content and email marketing, writing blogs and app development, among other projects.

Part of the combined agency's strategy is using its location as leverage for area clients, because “it's cheaper to do business with us” than it is with agencies from San Francisco or New York, Graham says. But being in Florida poses challenges, too. Graham says traveling to clients is one of the key hurdles Big Sea must consistently get over.

Big Sea's growth strategy seems to be paying off. Since being founded in 2005, Big Sea has grown revenue by 50% year over year, Graham says. The firm declines to release specific revenue figures.

Big Sea now seeks more employees to support the growth. Graham says Big Sea is currently hiring for three positions, but she expects that figure to rise in 2016.

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