Former CP+B executives Jeff Steinhour and Markham Cronin launched a full-service agency in Miami called Markham & Stein.
The pair, who have over 50 years of industry experience between them, spent 10 years together at CP+B, with Cronin handling creative and Steinhour accounts, before Markham left for West Wayne in 2000. Following a stint there and at Carmichael Lynch as a creative director, and two years as CCO at BrightHouse, he decided to launch Markham Unlimited in 2005.
“I was spending 20 percent of my time doing the valuable part of my job for clients and the other 80 percent actually running the agency,” Markham told Adweek. “So when the opportunity came to talk to Jeff about maybe doing this, there was no question it was something we should try and do together.”
Steinhour was one of CP+B’s four founding partners along with Chuck Porter, Sam Crispin and Alex Bogusky; until recently, he served as partner, vice chairman and managing director of the agency’s Miami office. He says Markham & Stein is “A new kind of shop … that brings the strategic and creative power of a big agency in a more nimble and tenacious package,” adding that “Clients are looking for groundbreaking branding solutions that once upon a time required a large agency.”
International boat engine maker Mercury Marine became the agency’s first official client, but Steinhour and Cronin have been working together on clients such as Markham Unlimited’s H & H Jewels, Coconut Grove Business Development District and Oriental Bank for several months. (The new agency inherited Cronin’s clients and his 21 employees.) The first work for Mercury Marine, for which M&S won global AOR duties after a review involving at least five other agencies, will launch in the fall.
“As we’ve grown, we talk to bigger and bigger clients which are talking to smaller and smaller agencies,” Cronin told Adweek. “The old model of dumping every piece of marketing activity into a big agency is at its end: We’re seeing more project-based work and work split into separate disciplines. This benefits a shop of our size as the nimbleness and lack of overhead gets us talking to national and global clients.”
Regarding the formation of this new entity, Steinhour added: “After I decided to leave CP+B last fall, Mark called me and said, ‘I could use your help with a couple of pitches. That went well, one thing led to another … and we said, maybe it’s time to do something more formal. We formed a new LLC and called all of his clients, none of who had any issues. It felt pretty natural.”
The duo chose to launch the agency in Miami, Cronin says, because “It’s one of the most vibrant, thriving cities in the U.S. with heavy South American and Latin American influences. Both of us have lived in Miami for the past 25 years, and selfishly I believe that [the city] deserves a handful of good agencies.”
The agency also has a couple of clients based in Puerto Rico, with a small number of employees based in the U.S. territory focusing on those accounts.