Digital marketing agency plans UK and EU expansion after ‘exceeding all targets’

Make it work

Shannon-based digital marketing agency Core Optimization saw its revenue quadruple in the past year, with revenue of 4 million euros

Core Optimization, the Midwest-based digital marketing agency, reported 400% revenue growth last year, while its revenue hit $4 million.

Caroline Dunlea, founder and chief executive of the Enterprise Ireland-backed business, said its growth has been “fantastic”.

“We continue to exceed all of our targets,” she said.

Core Optimization now employs 43 people in its Shannon offices and aims to see revenue exceed €5.5 million, with ambitious new growth targets for next year.

The expansion is primarily due to two factors, Dunlea explained: a pandemic-inspired shift to online sales and a diverse service portfolio.

“We launched Core in 2015, and we started in the hospitality industry. But since then we’ve branched out into a number of other sectors, and we’re now very strong in retail, finance, professional services and software as a service.

Today, Core’s clients include Fáilte Ireland, Press Up Entertainment Group, Kilkenny Shop, Expert Electrical, Louis Copeland, Golden Discs and Riverdance.

He provides digital transformation strategies including search engine optimization, paid search, paid social media and conversion optimization.

“We are very competitive with agencies in Dublin and we get contracts with native Irish brands,” Dunlea said. “We stand out, in a very busy and highly competitive industry, as the leading agency in Ireland. This has always been a key objective for us.

Core, which has grown its operations without external investment, prides itself on the bespoke services it provides.

“It’s very personalized, and that’s really important to us,” Dunlea said. “We really value two things: the relationships and the results. We have specialists in a number of disciplines – paid search, SEO, social media and others – so we have expertise in very specific areas.

During the pandemic, many businesses have realized how vital it is to develop cohesive and functional digital marketing strategies, Dunlea said, in a development that has proven beneficial for Core.

“The pandemic has changed enormously. This made everyone realize how important digital marketing is. In the past, it was probably on everyone’s agenda, but it wasn’t necessarily the first one. But that has changed, and our reputation has stayed with us in this process, in terms of managing relationships and the results we achieve for clients. »

Buoyed by steadily increasing sales, Core is now targeting expansion in Britain and Europe, and has recently set up a business development team in the former market.

“We were still in the UK – that was really important to us. But having more consultants who focus specifically on that market will help grow that market.”

Despite its overseas aspirations, Core is closely tied to its base in Shannon, Dunlea said, “It’s been great to have been able to grow from the Midwest and see our people grow through that. We are moving into new offices in September, which is based on our projected growth and a real commitment to the Shannon region.

This Making it Work article is produced in partnership with Enterprise Ireland