Building Capabilities for Growth
Modern Ice Equipment & Supply (Modern) is a privately-held company that has operated in Cincinnati for over 50 years. Today, they are leader in the packaged ice industry, providing equipment, supplies and technical support to thousands of clients across the globe. Over the years, Modern has built a strong reputation based on key capabilities in engineering and in customer service. Modern has aggressive growth goals, and leadership identified the need to change the approach to marketing in order to meet their objectives.
Historically, Modern has not had a marketing leader, nor have they significantly invested in marketing. Marketing at Modern was handled by the CEO and his assistant using a part time, ad hoc approach. They had a marketing budget, but they had no real plan, no focused resources, no metrics, and no idea of what was working and what was not. “I should not be running marketing,” said Gary Jerow, CEO and President of Modern.
Modern tried several approaches to solve their marketing capacity issue, including engaging various agencies and other internal team members to take on marketing responsibilities. However, without focused leadership, none of these options proved viable. The Modern team was at a crossroads. They knew they needed help, but they didn’t think they could afford, nor needed, a full time Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). “As a smaller company, we don’t always get the advantage of hiring someone with big business process and thought-leadership,” noted Jerow. They were looking for a consulting partner that could act as a hands-on and collaborative member of their team. One who would not just identify problems, but who would also be part of the solution.
One of Gary’s trusted advisors introduced him to Amy Connor, President & Owner of CMO-OnLoan™. After several discussions to clearly identify the deliverables and approach, Modern hired CMO-OnLoan on a 6-month retainer. The first priority was to establish a marketing plan and to enhance the consistency of marketing execution. Modern embedded Amy as part of their leadership team.
Amy acted as the marketing leader with Gary’s assistant supporting Amy with specific responsibilities for marketing. The work began with a quick review of plans already in place – continuing initiatives that were working and stopping those that were not. From there, CMO-OnLoan built an annual marketing plan and calendar, established key metrics, and built the team and work-flow processes for marketing. Based on early results, Modern extended their work with CMO-OnLoan to an on-going retainer.
Once the run-the-business marketing activities were being consistently implemented, the team then began work on strategic initiatives to make an incremental impact on the business. These strategic initiatives included launching an innovation process, developing segmented messaging to better support the sales team, and increasing website performance with search engine optimization, paid search and Google shopping.
The Modern marketing team now runs the day-to-day activities and CMO-OnLoan focuses on strategic initiatives. “CMO-OnLoan’s goal is to get mid-market companies up and running. It has been a pleasure helping Gary and the Modern team develop internal capabilities so they are empowered to continue the work.” Concluded Connor.
In the words on Modern Ice President and CEO, Gary Jerow, CMO-On-Loan has had a concrete and tangible impact:
- We have a strategy now. We’re more disciplined in what we’re trying to accomplish
- We are getting things done and making a difference in our company
- We are communicating with our clients more
- The website is getting more traffic
- The Marketing team is executing the strategy consistently
- I don’t have to pay attention to it because the team has it
- Leadership of the marketing team and marketing execution
- Integrated sales & marketing strategy, plan and annual calendar
- Marketing objectives, key metrics, tracking process and dashboard
- Employee and customer research/insights and recommendations
- Marketing processes, systems and work flows
- Innovation strategy & process
- Hours back to the CEO to focus on growth and running the company