Category Archives for "Case Study"

Case Study: Hilltop Companies

Leading End-to-End Marketing

Hilltop Companies (Hilltop) is a leader in providing quality aggregates and ready mixed concrete. The 75+ year old, third-generation family-owned company has a rich history that is ‘one of the best stories never told.’ As the only vertically-integrated producer in the area, Hilltop is the preferred choice among architects, contractors and utilities in the Greater Cincinnati and the Ohio River Valley region. Their materials are the foundation for many of the most iconic structures in the region, and they are often called to help on highly complex, innovative construction projects.

Challenge

Despite outstanding operations and an excellent reputation, Hilltop identified the need for marketing and reputation management to enable them to attract new employees like drivers & engineers along with ensuring their clients and community understand the value they bring.

Hilltop had no dedicated marketing resources to take on this challenge internally. In addition, they found themselves saddled with a website redesign project that had been in the works for over two years and was making no progress. Hilltop knew the languishing website re-design was a symptom of a larger problem. The lack of marketing leadership and resources was at best a nuisance and at worst an indicator of a function that needed attention. Brad Slabaugh, General Manager and Vice President of Sales and Marketing said, “I just don’t have time to handle marketing.” They wanted to solve the marketing resource challenge, and they wanted to do so quickly, easily and without adding permanent, full-time resources.

Solution

Hilltop was looking for a consulting partner that would be hands-on and could provide end-to-end marketing support. They wanted someone who could quickly come in, take charge, fix the immediate issues, and then look forward to future opportunities. They wanted the benefits of marketing expertise without putting a full-time team in place. Hilltop President & COO, Kevin Sheehan was introduced to Amy Connor of CMO-OnLoan by a mutual acquaintance. Sheehan and Slabaugh met with Connor to discuss their unique challenge. After the discussion, Hilltop quickly engaged CMO-OnLoan on a retainer basis to be their end-to-end marketing solution.

Approach

CMO-OnLoan acted as a satellite team, both leading and implementing marketing activities; keeping the Hilltop team informed and aligned through working meetings. Between meetings, CMO-OnLoan developed plans and materials to be reviewed and approved at the next meeting. Slabaugh says, “CMO-OnLoan makes sure that we always have a clear agenda and has prepared everything for us to review. They update us on work from the last meeting and then we discuss the new topics. It is very efficient.”

In short order, CMO-OnLoan updated and optimized the website. They reviewed and quickly eliminated wasteful legacy media programs. They began reputation management with case studies, social posts, press releases, updated LinkedIn pages, and a client-centered e-mail campaign. They took ownership of the quarterly employee newsletter and created a series of corporate capability and recruiting videos.

Results

Hilltop now has an industry-leading website with 5 times more traffic than the previous version, has increased its reach by 200%+ within the community and among potential employees, and is better communicating their technical expertise. The three primary drivers to success in this engagement are CMO-OnLoan’s expertise and network of resources, the decision to fully empower CMO-OnLoan, and the bi-weekly meetings that kept all leaders aligned on the priorities and progress.  Hilltop continues to retain CMO-OnLoan as their end-to-end marketing resource. According to Sheehan, “We are so glad that the work is being done well, and in a way that we can handle.”

CMO-OnLoan delivered:

  • On-going leadership of marketing planning and execution
  • Website re-design, SEO optimization and continued enhancements
  • Content calendar, case studies
  • Media planning & execution
  • Creative development & execution
  • Reputation management
  • Email marketing
  • Social Media posting & paid media placement

Click here to learn more about Hilltop.

Download the Case Study Here!

Case Study: Convergence Research

Driving Growth through Differentiation

Convergence Research was founded in 2007 by Drew Wildner and Steve Hartz. The Cincinnati-based company provides Credit Reporting Agencies (CRA’s) with accurate, timely research used for background check reports. To achieve its mission, Convergence Research developed and continue to enhance a comprehensive, scalable, high-quality process with best-in-class technology. They are a growing firm with what they believe is untapped potential. To support their efforts, in 2019, they set up a new sales team led by Kyle Warmouth, VP of Sales.

Challenge

While Convergence Research’s offering is superior, it’s hard to differentiate in the industry. Warmouth quickly identified the need to develop a differentiated brand message and develop a consistent cadence of communication to support their sales efforts. Because Convergence didn’t have an internal marketing team, Warmouth knew he needed to find an external resource to help.

Solution

Warmouth reached out to Amy Connor, President and Owner of CMO-OnLoan to discuss the marketing needs based on his knowledge of the firm’s expertise. “CMO-OnLoan was able to propose a partnership that met our needs in terms of cost and deliverables. Instead of using a one-size-fits all approach, they worked within our budget to provide the help that meets our needs,” said Warmouth.

Approach

CMO-OnLoan broke up Convergence’s marketing needs into pieces and tackled them one at a time.  In order to fully understand the Convergence business, CMO-OnLoan conducted an analysis of current plans, results, and processes, completed a competitive audit, and performed stakeholder interviews with company leadership, staff members, and customers.

CMO-OnLoan then determined short-term marketing needs including the development of key marketing messages, sharpening of Convergence’s unique brand positioning, and refreshing marketing materials including Convergence’s website.

CMO-OnLoan conducted a working session with the leadership team, shared findings of their research and together, determined Convergence’s unique value proposition.

CMO-OnLoan also led the process of refreshing Convergence’s website, from choosing an agency, editing copy, and then guiding the implementation.  The new site not only represents, showcases, and supports the Convergence brand, but it serves as a sales tool.

Together with Warmouth, CMO-OnLoan created an integrated sales and marketing playbook. This is now the roadmap that Convergence uses to deliver its growth targets.

Now, CMO-OnLoan stays alongside Warmouth and the sales time to provide on-going marketing guidance. Convergence Co-Founder, Drew Wildner, says “CMO-OnLoan is a true partner, always willing to offer expertise and advice. They are responsive and talented collaborators. They approach the business holistically, starting from the top and bringing everything together to get results.”

Results

“We were impressed with how much CMO-OnLoan delivered in a short period of time.  They quickly gained an understanding of the business and rolled up their sleeves to get the work done with us. After working with CMO-OnLoan, our leading measures indicate that we are on the path to the growth plan and we have a clearly defined, strong, and consistent brand,” concluded Warmouth.

CMO-OnLoan Delivered:

1.           Integrated sales & marketing playbook

2.           Clearly defined brand / Unique value proposition

3.           Website refresh plan and implementation leadership

4.           Ongoing marketing guidance CMO-OnLoan+Case+Study+-+Convergence+Research

Case Study: Aileron

Background

Aileron was founded in 1996 with a mission to unleash the potential of private business through professional management. Founder Clay Mathile understood that passion alone was not enough to propel an entrepreneur. In addition to passion, entrepreneurs also need tools, strategies and processes to advance their businesses and have a meaningful impact on their communities. Aileron’s focus was on constantly researching, innovating, and developing the very best tools and programs to bring to their clients. By 2017, Aileron had a rich client base and a long history of success in helping entrepreneurs thrive.

Challenge

Aileron was doing well with a constant stream of innovative products, tools and programs, and they decided they were ready to expand their footprint. They had a strong team of smart, dedicated and innovative leaders working in Research & Development (R&D) and program development, but they had no marketing structure and no dedicated resources focused on building their own value proposition or increasing awareness of the brand. They had great products, but needed to shift their overall offering to a client-centric one. To address the challenge, Joni Fedders, President of Aileron, asked the head of R&D, Nicole (Luisi) Dalichau, to add marketing as part of her purview. Dalichau posted a marketing manager role, but was not having success finding the right person. At the same time, the team was short-handed and had a few critical projects that needed to be managed. With the team strapped more than usual, Dalichau knew she needed to find a resource that could help with both strategic positioning and short-term marketing implementation.

Solution

Both Fedders and Dalichau knew Amy Connor, President and Owner of CMO-OnLoan, from past working relationships. Through a number of exploratory conversations, Aileron and CMO-OnLoan built a strong foundation of trust as well as a clear understanding of the work that needed to be done.  Aileron engaged CMO-OnLoan for a contract with the goals of helping Aileron both begin their strategic shift from being product-driven to being client-centered as well as providing more tactical marketing support during Aileron’s short-term capacity issue.

Unlike some big, expensive consulting firms, CMO-OnLoan is more interested in understanding what will help vs. just billing hours.  Aileron’s Nicole Dalichau says “We talked to Amy 4 or 5 times before official engagement and each time she was patient and added something extra for me to think about. She would give me a small kernel and help direct me to sharpen what I was actually looking for.”

Approach

Since Aileron was starting from a place without a marketing structure, CMO-OnLoan began by working with Dalichau and her team to establish fundamental marketing processes that would build Aileron’s internal capability in marketing.

The work then shifted to a simultaneous flex between strategy and execution. The team worked together to clarify and build alignment around the customer target. Together they uncovered the drivers that were causing their value proposition to be less clear and some needed changes to clarify the brands within the portfolio. They revised the brand architecture to ensure the Aileron brand was clear and at the forefront. Simultaneously, CMO-OnLoan worked as a part-time embedded team member to translate the new strategy, build an annual marketing & communications plan, and take the lead on some detailed project management work. Says Dalichau “CMO-OnLoan is not about just getting it done or showing what we did, but enabling the team to be the winners.”

Results

The two primary drivers of success for were CMO-OnLoan’s commitment to uncovering and understanding the work that needed to be done before starting an engagement and the ability of CMO-OnLoan to quickly and easily flex from strategy to execution.

CMO-OnLoan delivered:

+ Marketing foundation – team understanding of definitions & processes

+ Marketing organization – roles & responsibilities, job descriptions

+ Customer Target

+ Brand architecture

+ Naming architecture

+ Value Proposition

+ Annual Marketing Plan

+ Marketing implementation

“CMO-OnLoan is driven to have a real and lasting impact – not just doing the work, but also building the skills of the team already in place. Their ability to easily flex up and down from strategy through execution was exactly the combination that Aileron needed. R&D Leader, Nicole Dalichau, says, “Amy puts her ego aside. She has humility and is willing to help the team wherever they need it. She’s not about just getting it done or showing what she did. She wants to enable the team to be the winners.”CMO-OnLoan+Case+Study_Aileron

Case Study: Modern Ice Equipment & Supply

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.

Challenge

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.

Solution

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.

Approach

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.

Results

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

CMO-OnLoan delivered:

  • 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
Download the Modern Ice Case Study PDF.