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Lessons from a Three-time Inc. 5000 Company

E3 team celebrating Inc. 5000 nomination

We are proud to announce that for the third year in a row, Element Three has been named an Inc. 5000 company, taking #2045 on this year’s list.

Inc. 5000 ranks companies based on the percentage of their revenue growth over a three-year period. From 2012 to 2015, Element Three experienced revenue growth of 183%, placing us on the shortlist of companies who have consecutively ranked for more than two years.

As we’ve grown, we have been very intentional about focusing on providing you with content, lessons, and information crafted to help you respond to the ever-evolving sales, marketing, and leadership landscapes.

Allow us to take this moment as an opportunity to talk about what has contributed to this growth and how these changes reflect our view on the evolution of sales and marketing. This is a tale of a group of incredible people inside-and-outside of this organization evolving to meet the demands of the marketplace and achieving some exceptional feats in the process.

Transforming Our Account Team Structure

In early 2015, Element Three made the conscious decision to transform our account team so that every one of our clients would work with a dedicated internal team representing strategy, art direction, production design, messaging and copywriting, digital marketing, and development. We coupled this shift by adding dedicated project managers to each of these account teams, ensuring the ambitious objectives we set out to achieve alongside our clients are executed efficiently and effectively.

This dedicated team structure has resulted in markedly improved service to our clients as full-service strategy and executional partners. We speak and write a lot about the evolution of marketing. Gone are the days of siloed, segmented, and channel-based thinking. Reaching and engaging your audience requires a holistic approach where traditional notions of what is-and-isn’t marketing break down pretty quickly. Companies no longer have the benefit of focusing on sales, marketing, and customer service channels independently. Since adopting a dedicated team-based structure, our clients are consistently receiving final products that synthesize the best solutions our creative, digital, development, and account strategists have to offer.

Expanding Our Digital Marketing Team

In August of 2014, the first time we made the Inc. 5000, we had a very small dedicated digital marketing team. Over the past two years, Element Three has invested in the talent and technology necessary to ensure our clients can continue to stay on the cutting edge of digital marketing strategies. Brent Archambault joined Element Three this year as our first VP of Digital Marketing and helped to build our team to eight digital marketing professionals, all of whom have helped our clients undertake sophisticated multi-channel campaigns that have amplified their traffic, leads, and revenue.

Bringing Video Marketing Production In-house

After collaborating with external video marketing partners in the past, 2016 was the year Element Three decided to invest in bringing this offering in-house, hiring our first full-time video producer. Our Executive Creative Director, Darren Halbig, recently wrote an article describing our journey toward building a modern video marketing solution. In summary, as video continues to transform the way we tell stories across mediums, it became apparent that by not fully controlling our video solution, we were doing a disservice to ourselves and to our clients. When 78% of people watch online videos every week and 55% of people watch them every day, you cannot ignore the role video plays in capturing attention across B2B and B2C markets.

Investing in Internal Sales and Marketing

At the end of the day, our objective is to help our clients grow, and one of the most direct means of achieving this is by empowering their sales’ teams. How can an agency help you grow if they don’t believe enough in sales to invest in their own sales team and process? Similarly, when agencies fail to invest in their own marketing, it sends a signal about how they value marketing as a driver of business objectives and organizational success. At Element Three, our dedicated internal sales and marketing teams have aggressive goals for what they are expected to achieve. We use the lessons learned from our own efforts to inform our client strategies, and vice-versa, ensuring when we say “Stay Curious” is a Core Value, we mean it.

Doubling Down on Our Brand and Our Vision

Our purpose at Element Three is to “Write Bold Stories”. For our clients. For our employees. And for our community. While our brand has evolved considerably since our first and second run on the Inc. 5000 (and continues to do so), this purpose has remained true to our being. And it continues to be apparent in the narratives we’ve help to tell and create:

  • Inch x Inch: A nonprofit organization started by Element Three employees Bob Ewing and Drew Hill, which has made a huge splash in youth arts education through a very small medium: buttons
  • Tatum's Bags of Fun: An initiative started by two-time pediatric cancer survivor Tatum Parker to help bring joy to kids with cancer through backpacks filled with toys with which we've had the privilege of working to help bring their story to more people.
  • [fuse] SESSIONs: A quarterly workshop series designed to bring national creative talent to Indianapolis to help drive our own creative community forward

Strengthening Our Ties to Our Local Community and Establishing Footprints Elsewhere

Because our clients are located throughout the country, we are very intentional about our commitment toward working with market and industry leaders, no matter where they are located. Still, we have decided to serve these clients from our headquarters in Indianapolis. And while we may one day decide to expand our presence into other metro areas (we already have our first remote location through the We Work South Station Coworking space in Boston), we firmly believe that investing in Indianapolis will be a key driver of talent and growth for our organization. Not to mention the incredible stories happening in the city that need to be amplified, whether we’re talking about our charitable partners, Tatum’s Bags of Fun and College Mentors for Kids (which we highly encourage you to explore), or our clients, like the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns.

What’s Next

Our organization has every intention of continuing to grow to serve the needs of our clients and partners. And an important part of that journey is inviting others to experience that journey alongside us and to learn from them along the way. So we invite you to ask any questions you might have about our growth journey or to share any lessons you might have learned from your own by sending them to marketing@elementthree.com - we would love to open up a dialogue and learn from the successes and failures that have made your journeys successful.

Aaron Harrison Element Three

A curious, wondering soul, Aaron channels his love for adventure and change through his approach to modern marketing. As the Enterprise Demand Generation Manager at MedBridge, Aaron works to catalyze growth and create opportunities through a variety of digital marketing channels.