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Local Business

Marqana aims to 'fix modern marketing'

Steve Harnden (left) of Lombard is director of Web and creative services for Marqana, and James Sivis of Lombard is president of the new digital marketing company in Lombard. (Photo provided)
Steve Harnden (left) of Lombard is director of Web and creative services for Marqana, and James Sivis of Lombard is president of the new digital marketing company in Lombard. (Photo provided)

LOMBARD – This didn’t happen by accident. It was more of a logical evolution, according to James Sivis.

The Lombard resident didn’t set out to be president of a marketing company. His new venture, Marqana Digital Marketing in Lombard, was born of the realization he was paying outside marketing firms big money for something he believed his people could do better.

Sivis already was president of Computhink, which produces document management software called Contentverse in the same Lombard office building that Marqana just opened shop.

Efforts to secure competent external marketing services for Computhink continually produced disappointing results, according to Sivis, who said execution by numerous major firms throughout North American were often “horrendous, almost criminal.”

Meanwhile, Computhink was building its own internal marketing team and experiencing promising gains.
“And pretty soon, we realized, 'We can do it better,'” said Sivis, who started Marqana as a "Computhink venture."

How new is Marqana? The website goes live today (Monday, Aug. 25). And, not surprisingly, Marqana’s first and only client so far is Computhink.

Come Monday, though, Marqana will begin targeting Chicago-area startups that are in search of marketing solutions. The company's full menu of marketing services ranges from website design and social media management to brand development and content creation.

Steve Harnden, Marqana’s director of Web and creative services, will lead the charge with the benefit of empathy on his team’s side.

“We know the pain you’re going through if the marketing firm is giving you content you don’t like or Web pages that aren’t performing for you. We were there,” Harnden said, describing his pitch to potential clients.

Computhink has made its home in Lombard for 15 years after starting in Chicago in 1994. Now, Marqana plans to take advantage of the location. Harnden praised the wealth of potential workforce talent in the western suburbs.

And being close to Chicago is key to getting the Marqana name out quickly, according to Harnden, who said it will be about a month before the name starts performing on Google.

The initial objective is to be selective about which clients Marqana chooses while focusing on more long-term projects.

“We’re not looking to take on 25 Fortune 500 clients,” he said. “Building a name for ourselves is the first thing.”

Sivis offered a bigger-picture outlook for his newest venture.

“We want to fix modern marketing so that it’s not a money-making scheme. That it’s about high-quality product,” he said.

“We want to be sort of the rescue pull cord when people are having bad marketing services delivered to them.”

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