In 2004, two Oakville residents were both attending a weekend sales and marketing seminar. A chance meeting over a few drinks quickly made them realize that they had a common vision for a new approach to marketing. They traced it on a napkin. Independent businesses needed marketing that produced sales results: that focused less on branding than on business development; and they needed a strategy that they could implement.
The two men decided to quit their careers, Aby Alameddine in Corporate Finance, and Ben Molfetta a Marketing and Sales Executive. Together, they founded Core Marketing, committed to a financial return on investment approach to help independent businesses grow.
They built a planning methodology that drew on their extensive experience in designing and costing marketing plans in the corporate world. This allowed them to work with the owner of the business and develop a workable strategy to drive sales and give them a return on their investment. Independent business owners liked the concept and quickly gained customers.
Sounds like a big achievement, doesn’t it? Get an idea, bring it to market, execute it, and be proven with first sales.
But of course, it’s rarely that easy, and Core was no different. Customers just weren’t coming back for more. Aby and Ben did what all good marketers do. They went to their clients to find out why. Business owners told them they just didn’t have the time or the people in-house to execute the plans, so they weren’t about to sign another contract. Unwavering, they made a major strategic pivot: they offered to take charge of the implementation of the strategy they had developed, to in fact become a full-service outsourced marketing department. And it’s the accelerator that helped build a company that now employs 20 people and is one of the largest companies of its kind in Canada.
In 2010, 80% of Core’s business was online, as the results-driven approach they took to marketing matched the measurability of Internet campaigns perfectly. After another weekend of chatting over a few drinks and another napkin, they decided on a real business transformation. They renamed it Core Online Marketing and got to work on completely rethinking the business. It meant roles that had never existed before and barely embryonic skills in the world of marketing at the time. This meant developing ‘CORE’ skills in metrics analysis, specialist writing demanded by online campaigns, email marketing, social marketing, search engine optimization, online advertising, analysis and a host of other capabilities.
Of course, when they moved to the online space, they had acquired some of these ad hoc abilities. It was different. Online marketing was now at the heart of their mission, and they built an offering designed for independent businesses: at a price that allows them to do enough marketing long enough to make a difference, but at a cost that is only small. business could endure. Putting their team at the disposal of their clients, they offered all the skills needed for an online marketing program at the cost of one employee.
Of course, small and medium businesses ate it, right? Well, not so much. As so often with creative inspiration aimed at helping build the future, Aby and Ben were ahead of the curve. Customers who just four years later would panic because they weren’t in the online marketing game saw it as a tech fad to begin with.
Intrepid, they decided to double down. Realizing that this was a problem of awareness and understanding, they decided to sell their abilities through education. They held monthly two hour seminars at the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. 15 to 20 people would show up. Very few responded at first, but when they were ready Core would take the call. he company really took off, going from 2 employees in 2010 to 20 in less than 5 years.
CORE Online Marketing now has 6 clearly defined roles in the business, each with its own onboarding and training system. Online marketing has exploded and, as an industry leader, CORE is committed to staying ahead of the curve. “Keeping up to date is really tough,” Ben says, “What works and what is available is changing in all areas of online marketing practice. We have to do hours of training and skills upgrading with our employees, all the time. ”
To be effective at CORE Online Marketing, employees must be immersed in the industry. Only a business engaged solely in the online space could do this. “Graduates come with basic skills, but need specific training to be effective with our clients,” says Ben. Core is investing heavily in its own internal proprietary technology to manage planning, content, reporting and several other modules: it is now such a powerful platform that they intend to market it to other agencies and companies with internal marketing teams.
They have already launched two commercial software offerings. A, private imprint.com, a joint venture with one of their long-time legal clients, helps protect the value of a law firm’s client file by allowing lawyers to monitor their clients’ social media … so that they are not surprised when an insurance company, for example, with enormous resources, releases a Facebook post that, taken out of context, could undermine a personal injury case in which the lawyer took emergency action and invested two years. The other offer is designed to support email marketers. “Everything we do is about metrics, measurability and accountability,” says Aby. “We can see huge potential to leverage our software development in tools both for our own industry and for vertical customers. “
Ben Molfetta grew up in Oakville and Aby Alameddine has been here since 1999. Their children attended schools in Oakville, and CORE Online Marketing supported Big Brothers and Big Sisters long before he was successful. Aby was president of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce and Ben now sits on the board of directors. Philosophically, they embody and believe in a diverse team and value the respect of their team, their customers and their suppliers. Customers don’t sign contracts: they stay with CORE Online Marketing because they want to, because they get value from it.
CORE Online Marketing is located in downtown Oakville CORE in the old O’Finns pub building, and the beautiful downtown and lakeside setting has helped them attract and keep the type of employees whose skills are now an integral part of their offer. “We invest a lot in our people, so it’s very important,” says Aby. Some employees had their first exposure to online marketing during a course given at Sheridan College: Canada’s first online marketing course, developed and written by CORE Online Marketing in 2013, and taught for the first two semesters by Ben Molfetta.
In the Oakville CORE, fueled by the CORE values, and CORE growing businesses across Canada, the United States and internationally, CORE Online Marketing can be found at https://coreonlinemarketing.com or 905-844-0011.