Elite SEM's Acquisition Of Email Aptitude Creates Full-Service Agency

Elite SEM, known for its expertise in paid and organic search, announced on Wednesday the acquisition of Email Aptitude, an eight-year-old independent CRM and email marketing agency, for an undisclosed amount.

The move turns Elite SEM into a full-service agency with the ability to support attribution, email, organic and paid search, social, display, and more. 

Forest Bronzan, founding CEO of Email Aptitude, will move into the role of executive vice president of CRM and email marketing at Elite SEM. He also will take the lead into technologies such as voice, push, chat, and more.

Ben Kirshner, Elite SEM’s founder, will remain CEO, and Zach Morrison will remain president of Elite SEM, for the combined companies.

Adding about 85 email marketers to the team, the combined company will have more than 300 employees. The acquisition also adds more than 100 new clients. The combined agency revenue is slated to close 2018 at more than $60 million -- up 30% from 2017, Zach Morrison, president of Elite SEM, wrote in an email to Search Marketing Daily.



For Morrison, the acquisition takes the company beyond email marketing. While email completes the customer journey when paired with organic and paid search, it gives Elite SEM direct access to the entire digital journey and CRM cycle as well as insights into cross-channel data of its clients’ customers.

It also brings skill sets that most email marketers have such as writing, creative, technology and analytics.

"Audience segmentation and suppression are two key areas that we can improve upon with CRM and email marketing data," Morrison wrote in an email to Search Marketing Daily.

For example, Elite SEM can easily identify lookalikes and cross-selling customer opportunities. “The difference with receiving this data from a third party vs. having it as our own is direct access and expert analysis that allows us to quickly and effectively maximize digital spend,” he wrote. “We help clients like Bombas and Francesca’s very quickly leverage customer behavior, current events, trends, etc., to drive performance.”

While Elite SEM did this prior to the acquisition, Acquiring Email Aptitude allows agency reps to target audiences more efficiently, which in turn provides better results for clients.

As with Elite SEM’s acquisition with OrionCKB, Email Aptitude will be integrated into the company.

Elite SEM also will remain headquartered in New York City. The Email Aptitude team will remain headquartered in San Rafael, California.There are now eight total offices across the country, but the largest “office” is the company’s remote workforce to serve clients throughout North America, Morrison explains.

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