CoreElement Redefined Its Focus & Grew Business 100% With Act-On

CoreElement helps manufacturers grow by developing targeted marketing campaigns using the latest technologies, often drawing on tools that nearly half of industrial marketers don't know exist. The agency uses marketing automation to build email and social media outreach campaigns, develop and optimize online content, and share insights about prospective clients with sales teams.

"Manufacturers often don't know how to convert their digital marketing efforts into solid leads," said Bob Parina, president and creative director of CoreElement. "With the buyer-seller dance now being initiated by the buyer 90% of the time, you don't need to waste time and money cold-calling," he said. Marketing automation systems show who's reading emails, which links they're clicking, and where on a manufacturer's website a specific prospect spends the most time. Bob knew from personal experience the difference that a well-planned marketing effort can make; since using Act-On to overhaul CoreElement's own campaigns, he's generated 400 new leads and business is up 100%.

An Internal Overhaul

Two years ago, CoreElement had an email marketing system in place, but the tool did not provide much insight. The agency knew if a prospect opened the message, and that was about all. Bob Parina realized that CoreElement's approach to email was outdated, and, more importantly, that it reflected a broader lack of focus. This realization spurred an effort to overhaul and refine their business, which ultimately took eight months and the adoption of marketing automation to complete.

In late 2012, Bob attended an executive summit. "We wanted to take a look at what we might be missing," Bob said. "One of the presenters was promoting a content management system website tool, and talking about using it in tandem with marketing automation." Bob realized that a new generation of tools was allowing marketers to gather information about sales prospects while delivering targeted marketing information. They looked at HubSpot, Marketo, and Salesforce before deciding that Act-On was the easiest system to use and understand, while still offering all the features that they wanted.

"Act-On was a total package," Bob said. "We would have had to cobble together a number of different systems to accomplish what Act-On can do."

The internal overhaul that brought CoreElement to Act-On also spurred the company to reevaluate its client mix. Before, the agency worked with a broad range of customers in greater Cleveland, Ohio. That geographic approach limited CoreElement's potential and chained its growth to the health of Cleveland's economy. Instead of continuing to work primarily with Cleveland-based businesses, Bob decided to go national by targeting a specific business-to-business niche. The agency chose to become an expert in helping mid-sized industrial manufacturers market directly to their buyers.

Gaining Actionable Insight On Prospective Clients

To generate demand, boost name recognition, and learn more about its prospective clients, CoreElement built a global survey using Act-On's pre-defined templates and forms. The agency developed several different messages and used both HTML and text emails, then used A/B testing to measure the effectiveness of its outreach. Segmenting emails by time zone guaranteed that messages would land during business hours whether the recipient was in Kansas or Australia. People who did not respond to the first HTML message received a follow-up text email, which tripled the survey's response rate, bringing the total number of completed surveys to 400.

By gathering demographic information like company size and industry, while also asking about marketing strategy and activities, CoreElement gained detailed insight into the needs of its prospective clients. And Act-On made the process fast and easy, Bob said. Among the lessons gleaned from the survey of manufacturers:

  • More than 60% are unhappy with their lead conversion rates, but remain unaware of marketing automation.
  • Even though two-thirds of respondents use their websites to generate leads and sales, only 12% said they got a high volume of qualified leads through the web.
  • Two-thirds of companies don't track social media effectiveness, and those that do track social media don't always understand the results.

Helping Clients Succeed With Customer Intelligence

Today, CoreElement is using the results of its survey to help clients develop smart, targeted campaigns – and Act-On's features play a key role in that effort. In addition to using the platform's email engine to generate leads and help clients market to leads and customers, Bob said that its functionalities for social media, web tracking, and automated programs are key.

"Any social media clickthroughs are tracked within Act-On, which allows us to see when a specific tweet brings people to us, and to see what pages they visit," Bob said. "If they click from our email newsletter and then download a white paper, we've developed follow-up messages that they'll automatically receive at specific intervals. Before we had Act-On, we wouldn't necessarily do any follow-up."

Accomplishing More With Less

"Since making the switch to Act-On, we've increased the size of our prospects list 10-fold, changed how everything looks online, changed how we follow up after a contact, changed the frequency outreach – everything," Bob said. "We're able to do a lot more without adding overhead. The information and automated pieces of the system are saving us thousands of dollars. Act-On has helped us create more formal processes and a better marketing workflow, allowing us to accomplish more with less."
CoreElement
"The information and automated pieces of the (Act-On) system are saving us thousands of dollars. Act-On has helped us create more formal processes and a better marketing workflow, allowing us to accomplish more with less." Bob Parina
President and Creative Director, CoreElement


"Act-On is a total package. We would have had to cobble together a number of different systems to accomplish what Act-On can do." Bob Parina