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The Evolution of the Revolution

Hi, I’m Mark, and I’d like to tell you a true story about a business. Not just any business, Revolution Digital – the premier digital marketing and social media Agency headquartered in Morristown, NJ (aka Hoboken West).

Mark Valva  |  June 22, 2015
The Evolution of the Revolution

Hi, I’m Mark, and I’d like to tell you a true story about a business. Not just any business, Revolution Digital – the premier digital marketing and social media Agency headquartered in Morristown, NJ (aka Hoboken West).  But this story is about more than just a business, it’s about people.  And to tell this story correctly we’ve got to start at the beginning – don’t worry, I’ll skip to the good parts.

I was born in Morris County, NJ into a family that lived marketing.  Heck, even naming the dog was a contest with official rules.  Our dad, George, started his own marketing communications firm somewhere around 1985 and grew it to nearly 300 people – yes, in Morristown, NJ. As a boy growing up, I spent my summers at DVC learning every facet of the Agency, from filing and making entries in the general ledger, to spray mounting creative for the big dog-and-pony show the next day.  It was inevitable that I would join the family business upon graduation from Seton Hall, and although I wanted the summer off after graduation, somehow I only got a week before coming aboard as an Account Coordinator.

It was an exciting time to be starting a career.  With the Internet boom just beginning, I immediately gravitated toward technology and inserted myself into the “interactive” side of the family firm.  After marrying my college sweetheart, who was also working at DVC, we decided to join the gold rush out West and moved to San Francisco where I joined the largest digital agency of the time – US Web/CKS.  We were living the dream!  I was part of a team that was building some of the biggest, most pioneering websites of the day for companies like GM, Levi Strauss, and Apple.  But our time in San Francisco was all part of the master plan.  After 3 years, I brought all my newfound digital knowledge back to the family business, DVC Interactive, which had grown to become a top 50 digital agency in its own right.  I moved to Manhattan and became General Manager of the agency’s New York presence. Fast forward… Dad sells the agency, the Internet Bubble bursts, and we settle in Chatham, NJ, where we’ve been for the last 15 years.

The Evolution of the Revolution

After some soul searching I came to realize it was my turn, and from a humble seat at my kitchen table in 2003, I took my experience and opened my business.  DataPositive was a digital production company primarily serving other agencies so they could offer digital capabilities to their clients.  As we evolved, I tapped into some of the folks that had helped my Dad’s agency become so successful.  We won “best viral promotion of the year” in 2007 from PROMO magazine and started growing fast – too fast actually.  Then, in 2008, at the height of the recession, things got tough. It took everything we had to stay afloat, but we emerged on the other side better, smarter, and stronger!

This experience was a turning point in our history, setting us on course to become a full-service digital marketing agency.  We re-branded as Revolution Digital and landed some key client relationships that not only validated our transition, but also provided the means to continue our growth.  Many of these relationships remain solid to this day, a testimony to the strength of our partnerships in an agency/client landscape defined by the greatest volatility in the history of advertising.

Revolution Digital has always been a pioneering agency in the area of social media.  In 2009, we launched Pfizer’s first-ever Facebook page as a small test-and-learn initiative for ChapStick. As you could imagine our client was extremely cautious about handing over control of Chapstick’s messaging to consumers on Facebook’s “anything goes” platform.  To reassure them, we created reams and reams of documentation as to how we would moderate the page – methodologies that paved the way for all of the Pfizer Consumer brands to eventually take the plunge into social media. That one test project with ChapStick has parlayed itself into Revolution Digital being named the digital and social media agency for many of Pfizer’s iconic brands.

Along the way, many other anchor clients made their way onto our roster.  The Jarden Company’s NUK brand has been a long-time client.  Henkel brands such as Right Guard and Dial, as well as Honeywell, KPMG, B&G Foods, Eggland’s Best and many other top-tier clients all call Revolution Digital their agency.  We like to think this success come from providing a complete package for solving our clients’ business challenges – from insightful strategy through flawless execution.

Web, social, email, display, video, mobile, content creation, you name it – if it happens on a screen, we do it. (We’ve even been known to make print ads. Don’t tell.)  But ask any current client about what they value in our agency, and invariably you will hear things like smart, creative, easy to work with, and what we value most – a true partner.  What defines our culture is a relentless approach. We’re always on. Whatever it takes. Failure is not an option. And our clients know that their best interests are always in mind.

Today, Revolution is what we’ve set out to become – The Agency for the Digital Revolution – a successful full-service digital marketing and social media agency.  The best way to understand what is unique about our agency is to work with us. But what I’m most proud of, and what truly sets us apart from the field is that our agency continually over-achieves. It’s in our blood. As a boutique, challenger agency with huge clients, we push ourselves to exceed expectations and make every client feel how important they are to us. We are small but very powerful.  We play with the big kids and we win.  Our group of 30, in a little city just 50 minutes west of The City, represents some of the biggest household name brands in the world. That shouldn’t be possible, but it is, and that is truly revolutionary.

So that’s the story of Revolution Digital – up until right now.  Where it goes from here is somewhat unknown, but continued success and growth is the goal.  And much like this unending digital revolution we find ourselves in, our Agency will continue to evolve to address everything brands need to succeed.

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