OrionCKB + Elite SEM Join Forces to Expand Strategies Across Search and Social

by Scott Briggs 2 years ago

This is one of those times where a quippy introduction just won’t suffice.

We’ve got big news to share: OrionCKB is joining forces with Elite SEM!

As of Tuesday, October 31, we’ve been acquired by one of the largest and most esteemed independent digital marketing agencies in the US.

Together, we’re now a search and social powerhouse that delivers data-driven services across search, shopping, display, conversion rate optimization and paid social.

The Backbone of Our Company

Many people know that Orion started as a 3-man team in my basement back in 2013. As we grew the company into a larger agency with particular focus and expertise on Facebook, our people have always been our product. We’ve prioritized our team culture, which leans heavily on accountability, creativity, autonomy, prosperity, and balance.

Without software of our own, our intellectual property walks out the door every night; you have to nurture that to be successful. We wanted to be sure that any future move to grow the company had everyone’s best interests in mind.

This move to join Elite is a step in that direction.

Who is Elite?

For the past 14 years, Elite SEM’s mission has been to deliver stellar digital marketing services to their clients, with a focus on their people and culture (just like us!) and drive for performance (oh hey, that sounds familiar too).

They’ve grown steadily and now manage over $750M in media spend. They’re consistently recognized both for their culture and client work including Bing Independent Agency of the Year, US Drum Chairman Search Award, and Fortune Top 100 Best Workplace award.

Their robust roster of clients includes Tommy Bahama, Hugo Boss, Barneys, San Antonio Spurs, Terminix, Eddie Bauer, Theory, the Sak, and Melissa & Doug – just to name a few.

In an effort to continue this success, they sought to strengthen their core services and expertise, with eyes on accelerating the growth of their partnerships with Facebook/Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter, and best-in-class ad automation tools like Nanigans.

Why This Was the Right Deal

To be clear, OrionCKB was never up for sale; we didn’t proactively pursue this sort of partnership and Carlos and I would’ve killed the deal if there was even a remote possibility that it wasn’t good for our future or the people didn’t feel like absolutely the right fit.

This partnership results in opportunities for greater personal success for all of our people. All OrionCKB employees are being welcomed to the newly combined organization; the partnership and expansion position us all for more significant opportunities and more resources that allow us to do our jobs better and maintain our reputation for superior service.

But this combination of top talent means amazing things for clients as well. Our collective expertise, successes, and client experiences will deliver further value for all companies working with us under the Elite umbrella.

This move helps us and Elite strengthen our mutual core offerings – a huge win as Orion clients now get access to top industry talent and expertise in Paid Search, Shopping, SEO, Display, Conversion Rate Optimization, and Analytics.

With the continuous growth of the triopoly – Google, Facebook, and Amazon – this expansion strengthens our expertise and brings new opportunities and ideas to our clients.

We will learn from each other. We’ll teach one another. Our combined forces and collaboration will be the driving force to develop new strategies that advance our clients’ digital marketing performance that increases revenue and drives real, profitable results.

What Happens Next

We’re entering the busiest time of year for many of our clients. Day-to-day operations will not change as we head into the holiday season – though this is big news for our team, we’re very aware of the timing of this announcement. Our primary focus is on providing the same level of service and performance our clients expect from us in Q4.

We will learn a lot about each other as we close out the year, and we’ll start 2018 off strong. We will begin integrating our teams now, but there will not be any immediate or disruptive changes over the next few months.

As we have more details on the timeline and roadmap, we will share those. By EOY, we will be one integrated organization (with our offices serving as Elite’s main Boston-area office), looking forward to continued growth in 2018.

2018 and Beyond

As Orion is now under the Elite umbrella, we’ll continue as one organization on an accelerated growth plan, focused on expanding core services including paid social, display, and paid search/shopping. This strategic plan is based on growth opportunities, surging client needs, and overall industry trends.

Elite clients and partners can expect to see continued growth across our existing service channels, with even more innovation and industry-leading support.

This is the first step of an amazing journey that lies ahead. I look forward to more big, positive announcements like this in 2018!